BLOG - REGULAR BLOG BY JANET McGROGGAN - PRINCIPAL PODIATRIST 

Posts tagged “Plantar Fasciitis”

I bet the average man thinks that women moan about their feet more than men do and maybe they’d be right.  
 
But this is not just because we love our heels or the straps always seem to be in the wrong place.  
 
No – as if it’s not bad enough that we are a rollercoaster of hormones on a monthly basis with the ability to grow, carry and pop out babies.  
 
Now, added to this we can expect to live more than a third of our lives post menopausally!!!  
 
Joy of joys. 
If you have tried supportive footwear and gentle stretching with no success, then it is time to see a podiatrist. 
 
Go to Find a Podiatrist - UK or the HCPC website to find a qualified and regulated podiatrist. 
 
A podiatrist will take a medical history and ask you what treatments you have tried. They may recommend that you undergo a biomechanical assessment. 
There are several first line treatments you can try but remember Plantar Fasciitis is a symptom of a disorder and if home remedies do not work you must see a podiatrist or G.P. 
 
The first thing to do is take a long hard look at your footwear and remember when doing this think support, support, support! 
 
AVOID - Thin soles, flexible soles, high heels, narrow footwear, slip-on shoes. Especially avoid flip-flops (the havaianas style) and ballet pumps. 
The Plantar Fascia [fa-she-a] is a band of fibrous connective tissue in your foot. It is not a ligament, tendon or muscle.  
 
The plantar fascia originates in the calcaneus (heel bone) on the plantar surface (sole) of your foot. It stretches forwards and separates into five slips each one attaching into the plantar surface of each of the five metatarsal heads which make up the ball of your foot. 
 
Adding ‘-itis’ to any anatomical word means ‘inflammation’ E.g. Tendonitis – Inflammation of a tendon. Therefore, plantar fasciitis [fa-she-i-tis] means an inflamed plantar fascia. 
 
The plantar fascia has the unenviable task of supporting our body through our feet. It holds the fore foot to the rearfoot and without it our feet could completely collapse. 
I have recently seen a lot of heel pain in the clinic and at this time of the year there is one culprit which prevails in the cause of this. 
 
Picture the scene, you’ve been on your holibobs, spent a fortnight, all-inclusive sunning yourself around a clear blue pool only rising during to pad over to the pool side bar for a strawberry daiquiri. The nights are spent dancing, walking into the local town to try something new and when you look down at your feet, shock, horror you have been wearing a pair of FLIP FLOPS for two weeks!!! 
 
So what? You may say. In my opinion, you may as well stick a piece of cardboard onto your feet for a fortnight. 
A podiatrist is a lower limb specialist and has, you will be glad to know, a plethora or treatments in their armoury. 
 
In your first appointment, they will check if you have been wearing good footwear and had a go at stretching. 
 
They will take a history and decide if your plantar fasciitis is acute or chronic. 
 
Acute plantar fasciitis responds well to a treatment called low-dye strapping. This sports strapping supports the foot and allows you to go about your daily business and wear ordinary shoes. It lasts several days and can help reduce inflammation and get you over a ‘hump’ in your recovery. Low-dye strapping is also a good indicator of how you would respond to orthotic therapy. Sometime the strapping needs to be repeated weekly to get the best recovery. 
If footwear changes do not help your plantar fasciitis then it's time to get stretching. 
 
The plantar fascia is a ligament and ligaments are not very stretchy so we need to stretch the muscles acting on the plantar fascia and the calf muscle group are often the main culprit. 
 
Stretching the calf muscle can have a direct effect on your plantar fascia. Lunges and heel drops [standing with the balls of both feet on a step and lowering both heels down] can both help if done daily for at least a fortnight. 
 
Using a wall for support keep your front knee vertical above your ankle and stretch the back-leg’s calf muscle. Keep the heel on the floor and both feet facing forwards, the back foot usually wants to tilt outwards. There’s no need to push into the wall and don’t pulse in and out, just hold for at least 30 seconds. If you cannot feel a stretch move your back leg further away from the wall. 
 
To bring this stretch into your Soleus muscle place a rolled-up hand towel under the ball of the foot in the leg you are stretching. Again, just feel this stretch and hold for 30 seconds. 
Heel Pain… Plantar Fasci@#?* Plantar Fasciitis - Do I have it? What do I do? 
 
In this blog, I just want to give you some information about what this may feel like and the first line of treatment because I’m sure if you are reading this then you are in pain and want that to stop!!! 
 
Do I have it? 
 
Do you have heel pain like a bruised feeling or arch pain? This one is usually a sharp pain. 
 
Generally, the pain is at its worst in the morning, gets better with walking but can come back after activity. It often returns after sitting down for a while. Some mild cases may only cause problems after running. 
 
Ok, I have these symptoms, now what do I do? 
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