Plantar Fasciitis: A Common Cause of Foot Pain

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition affecting the sole of the foot. Specifically, it causes pain in the plantar fascia, which is the tendinous tissue just deep to the skin on the sole of the foot. Pain is most often felt just beyond the heel bone, towards the inner edge of the sole.

Plantar fasciitis site of pain

Signs and Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The condition is characterised by a deep, dull foot pain, which stays relatively local to one area on the sole of the foot. Typically, it eases to a degree overnight, but patients note that as soon as they put their foot to the floor in the morning, the pain returns. Pain is likely to be aggravated by poor fitting shoes, and long periods of standing or walking. Walking upstairs is often the worst activity for pain, as it puts more stretch on the tissues than other activities. You may also find that walking barefoot is worse than walking in supportive shoes.

Most cases last over six months, but only 10% need any intervention beyond conservative care.

New episodes of plantar fasciitis might follow a change in routine, such as an increase in standing or exercise. The condition is most likely to affect those between 40-60 years old, but it can occur in anyone. The vast majority of patients are aged between 25-65. People with a higher BMI, and those who have diabetes are at an increased risk of development. Although an increase in exercise is associated, a sedentary lifestyle is associated more with plantar fasciitis than an active one.

Other Considerations for Foot Pain

As you don’t need a referral to see your osteopath, we need to consider other causes of pain during diagnosis.

After taking your case history, most of these options will be deemed unlikely. Those that are a possibility will be further investigated before settling on your diagnosis.

Managing Plantar Fasciitis

Your osteopath will look for other areas that might have led to the condition. Stiff joints in the foot, and tension in the calf have been associated with developing it. Beyond treating the painful area itself, you can expect more general work into the foot and leg. In some cases, it may also be helpful to treat the lower back, especially if restrictions here encourage uneven weight bearing between the feet, or if there is a scoliosis or leg length discrepancy.

We will also give you exercises and advice to help with your symptoms throughout the week. Massage, including simple massage done as a home exercise, may give some relief. Some patients like to use a frozen water bottle to combine cooling therapy with massage, whereas others may prefer a warm compress. Your osteopath can advise the best plan for you based on your presentation.

Our aims are to help your symptoms pass quicker and prevent other areas from compensating and causing more issues. With this in mind, treatment will vary a lot between patients, as everyone has a different collection of symptoms and associated factors. Click the link below to begin making progress with yours.

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