Plantar Fasciitis

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a ligament in the sole of the foot which supports normal foot mechanics. Similar to a thick, rubber band, the plantar fascia supports your heel and acts as a shock absorber when you walk, run or jump. However, like any hardworking part of your body, the plantar fascia can get tired, strained, or even injured. This leads to a condition called plantar fasciitis, which in simple terms, means that the plantar fascia has become inflamed and causes discomfort. Plantar fasciitis can occur due to a number of reasons which we will explain below.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

foot pain - plantar fasciitis osteopathy

We have likened the plantar fascia to a rubber band – thick enough to absorb the stresses of everyday activity and sports. Although this composition is crucial for its shock-absorbing function, it also means that like a tough rubber band, the plantar fascia cannot stretch very far. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the ligament becomes overstretched and very painful to apply pressure to. This overstretching can be caused by the following:

  • The arch of the foot losing some of its height (flattening), which leads to increased stretching of the plantar fascia. The arches of our feet naturally lose height as we age, but this process can also be accelerated by overuse. People who are on their feet all day, or who have put on weight are vulnerable to this, as are athletic sporty types and pregnant women.
  • General misalignment of the feet, resulting in painful pulling on the plantar fascia from various directions. Injuries like sprains, fractures, and dislocations can damage the bones, ligaments, and tendons in your feet, altering their alignment and leading to this condition. Wearing improper footwear can also change the alignment of your feet and cause it too, and misaligned feet can also be inherited through genetics.

The symptoms of plantar fasciitis can often reoccur or be difficult to treat because it is almost impossible to go about daily life without using our feet.

What Are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Burning, achy pain in the heel or ball of the foot
  • Sharp pain in the arch of the foot
  • Worse first thing in the morning
  • Pain in sole aggravated by walking/jumping/running

Can We Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Yes, although extremely aggravating to put up with, plantar fasciitis can be treated here at the Avenue Health clinics. While periods of rest or even leading a more sedentary lifestyle provides relief, this does nothing to strengthen the feet in the long term and directly address your plantar fasciitis. This is why tackling the issue through treatment is so important.

Our practitioners treat the acute symptoms of plantar fasciitis with a combination of soft tissue techniques and shockwave therapy. Shockwave therapy is a safe and well-tolerated treatment option for plantar fasciitis. The treatment is non-invasive and uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing in damaged tissue. With chronic or recurrent plantar fasciitis, prescription orthotics may be required. Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts, which are designed to provide support and correct misalignment in the feet. Our orthotics are prescribed using the latest Gait Scan technology that measures every bone in your foot as it lands and takes off and the pressure put on it. These orthotics treat the cause of plantar fasciitis and prevent it from recurring.

Our aim at Avenue Health is to tackle the root cause of plantar fasciitis and to support long-term foot health. One of our valued patients had the following to say, following her plantar fasciitis treatment:

Get a 30-minute new patient assessment, diagnosis & treatment plan for just £30

I believe in alternative methods of treating back and foot problems and have done so for over 40 years. I’ve been treated by chiropractors, osteopaths and podiatrists whose methods are effective. The difference between other practitioners and Michael Walker at the Avenue is that their prime objective is to see patients frequently so that they become more dependent on the course of treatments, whereas Michael’s ethos is to get his patients better quickly so that they become less dependent on his treatment.

Michael gets to the root of my problem and talks me through the possible causes of discomfort so I walk away having learned about the importance of posture, wearing the correct footwear and avoiding back and foot pain. Thank you, Michael!

Lesley Vaughan, Kingston-upon-Thames

For more information, as well as a review of current literature around plantar fasciitis, see the following from the Royal College of Surgeons in England – Plantar fasciitis.