Adam Smith Podiatry - Heel pain - Plantar Fasciitis

Heel pain - Plantar Fasciitis

Posted 25 Mar '20

What is Plantar Fasciitis?...

It is the most commonly occurring cause of heel pain, involving a band of tissue in the foot called the plantar fascia that connects your heel bone to your toes. It's job - to help support the arch in your foot during your normal walking and running gait. Injury to this tissue can occur for a wide variety of reasons but usually affects the area just in front of the heel bone. And the pain can be the most sore in the morning, after rest or when pressed directly. During the early stages, plantar fasciitis pain tends to ease off with activity, but as time goes on the pain may not subside entirely.

What causes it?...

There are thought to be a few possible causes of plantar fasciitis. The most widely recognised is by mechanical stress either by abnormal motion of the heel itself, excessive load/impact or by a traction injury where the plantar fascia is being pulled too much. The second is due to the development of heel spurs causing fibrosis and calcification and weakness in the plantar fascia and the final possible cause is by an inflammatory joint disease like arthritis.

You are at increased risk if:

  • You are between the ages of 40 and 60 years old.
  • You do activities that increase heel stress - ballet, long distance running or high impact gym classes.
  • You are overweight.
  • You do a job that requires you to be on your feet for long periods of time.
  • You have a flat or highly arched foot or an abnormal walking pattern.

How is it diagnosed?...

Diagnosis of heel complaints can be relatively complex and not everything is plantar fasciitis. A thorough medical history will be taken alongside a physical exam to rule out other conditions. In more chronic cases there can be more than one problem. In our experience we often see patients physically trying to reduce stress and relieve pain by walking slightly differently. The knock on effect of this may be that other tissues (ligaments, tendons and even bone) are increasingly compromised by this compensation effect leading to secondary issues.

There are over 40 causes of heel pain!!!

How is it treated?...


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Supporting the foot and in particular the arch can assist in taking load off the fascia, relieving symptoms and allowing the healing process to start.


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Helps to relieve some of the acute pain and inflammation that plantar fasciitis may cause.


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Helps to relieve some of the acute pain and inflammation that plantar fasciitis may cause.


A regular massage of the bottom of the foot can help encourage blood flow and helps to keep the fascia mobile.


During the initial phase of plantar fasciitis, icing can help alleviate inflammation around the traumatised area.


The strapping of the foot can help to reinforce the arch and give the foot stability for a short period of time.

If you are suffering with possible plantar fascia pain, why not get in touch. The clinic is open for business as usual, but as of the start of April 2020 we will also be offering online appointments via video call for sports injury related problems if you are struggling to get to the clinic.

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