Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis in Kalgoorlie
Plantar fasciitis (PF) is one the most common musculoskeletal conditions that is seen in the foot. This injury refers to the interruption of the plantar fascia, which is a strong band of tissue that runs through the bottom of your foot from your heel bone (the calcaneus) to the joints in the ball of your foot (the metatarso-phalangeal joints).
The plantar fascia has three main roles in the foot;
- Shock absorption.
- Maintaining an arch height.
- Providing the mechanism required to push off when you take a step in walking and running.
When the plantar fascia is loaded; in an abnormal way, excessively or over an extended period it can be damaged. This can lead to inflammation and pain, usually located near its attachment on the heel bone.
In the initial stages of the condition pain is usually only felt either after periods of rest or after exercise. As the condition progresses, however, it can become increasingly debilitating and pain can begin to be present throughout normal activities of daily living.
Typically, the symptoms of plantar fasciitis are as follows;
- Heel pain with initial steps after long periods of rest or after sleep.
- Decreased ability to bring foot towards shin (dorsiflexion).
- Tightness felt at the back of the ankle – at the Achilles tendon.
- Pain can be increased when not wearing shoes.
- Stair ambulation can be aggravating.
- Tenderness to the anterior medial heel.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that is usually brought about through a degenerative process from overuse. A wide variety of the community can acquire plantar fasciitis and there are a number of risk factors that can contribute to the development of the condition. They include;
- Activities such as running.
- Altered foot biomechanics (flat feet, or excessively high arch).
- Being overweight.
- Occupations that include increased time on feet throughout the day.
- Poor, unsupportive footwear.
- Deconditioning of the muscles in the foot and calf.
Plantar fasciitis can be extremely debilitating and painful. It is a relief then to know that most people who suffer from the condition can be treated effectively with a significant reduction in symptoms through physiotherapy.
Like most conditions, the longer the condition has been around, the longer it will often take to heal and that is why early intervention is always important.
In the initial phases controlling pain, inflammation and protecting the injured tissue is most important. Once there is an initial decrease in symptoms it is time for the gradual return to real function.
Regaining range of motion, control of the foot posture, increasing strength and then using strategies to support your foot is key in preventing recurrence of the condition.
It is sometimes useful to stretch and move the foot in the morning before getting out of bed to avoid the initial pain response in the morning and allow for better function from the first steps in the morning. Every abnormal step, limp or altered walking pattern is delaying the time to full recovery.
Long term treatment goals should be about understanding what caused the plantar fasciitis in the first place. Whether it is related to poor foot mechanics, alignment or just an addition of multiple risk factors, a review from your Kalgoorlie physiotherapist can help with prevention.
Foot orthotics have been shown to be extremely effective at managing some cases of plantar fasciitis without the need to stop doing the activities you want to do. Your physiotherapist can assist with assessing the suitability of using orthotics to assist correcting any alignment issues that are creating unwanted strain on the soft tissue.