Plantar Fasciitis: the most common cause of heel pain


What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Are you suffering with heel pain? Is the sole of your foot hurting when you walk? Plantar fasciitis is the main cause of heel pain. Previously known as ‘policeman’s heel’, plantar fasciitis is often worse in the morning or after a long period on your feet. It is often described as a stabbing pain or a dull ache, concentrated around the heel or sole area. It denotes irritation of fibrous tissue underneath the foot.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

There is not one certain reason for the development of plantar fasciitis but often it is associated with a sudden change in activity. This may range from:

  • Increasing or decreasing activity levels
  • Participating in a new sport or hobby
  • Change of regular footwear

Individual factors that can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis involve high BMI and/or reduced arch of the foot.

How is Plantar Fasciitis diagnosed?

Your Physiotherapist or Doctor will be able to diagnose plantar fasciitis by listening to your symptoms and looking at your feet. In some severe cases, they may request certain imaging tests to ensure accurate diagnosis. These tests could include:

  • X-Ray: To rule out bone fractures, heel spur or arthritis
  • MRI: A more in-depth scan to study the severity of irritation of the fascia and rule out any myofascial tears.

How do you treat Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Icing the area: To reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Rest: Stop the aggravating movement.
  • Physiotherapy: In most cases, physiotherapy is the main form of management. Your physiotherapist should provide exercises to help alleviate the symptoms. Some physiotherapists may offer Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT). ESWT is a procedure where sound waves are passed through the skin into the injured part of the body using a special device which accelerates the body’s healing process.
  • Orthotics: Custom insoles can help to support the arch of the foot and alleviate symptoms. A Podiatrist would be able to assist with this following a full assessment.
  • Lifestyle changes: Such as weight loss management and changes to a daily routine may also be supported in order to keep the plantar fasciitis symptoms at bay. You should be sure to consult your GP prior to starting your weight loss journey.
  • Taking pain relieving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication: Such as ibuprofen. Ensure you consult your GP prior to taking these.

Should your symptoms not improve with these treatments, your doctor or consultant may offer you injection therapy to ease inflammation.

If you’re struggling with painful symptoms that aren’t clearing up, call our team at LycaHealth Canary Wharf on 0207 132 1440 to book a detailed physiotherapy assessment and experience excellent rehabilitation for your heel pain.

Article provided by Lucy Bryant, Physiotherapist.

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