Plantar fasciitis (PF) is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band that connects the heel bone to the toes. PF is an overuse injury affecting the foot and is the most common cause of heel pain. PF can cause pain in the heel and along the sole, often worse on the initial steps of walking in the morning or after prolonged rest. Often PF is associated with runners, but it can affect populations that are sedentary in nature.

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STRETCHING for plantar fasciitis

Stretching is traditionally considered an effective tool to help manage PF, often due to limitations in raising the foot towards the shin seen in the affected population. This reduction of movement is largely due to gastrocnemius (calf muscle) tightness often associated with PF. It is recommended to prioritise eccentric-type movements like calf raise variants when trying to treat PF, however stretching specifics must be tailored to best suit each individual.


FOOTWEAR for heel pain

Modifying footwear can help to minimise PF pain, however there is no gold-standard when it comes to one shoe being superior to another. With regards to support, it is recommended to opt for footwear with more cushioning due to better results in reducing pain. Changing footwear should be considered in conjunction with other protocols to help reduce fascia thickening, and should not be used on its own.

 Shoe inserts is another option that can help with PF, whether its custom-made (orthotics) or general (insoles) inserts. There is no significant difference between the two types of inserts to help reduce pain, and in some cases, improvements can occur without the use of inserts. It is recommended to use this as an adjunct to other treatments, and not rely on insoles as a stand-alone treatment.


Strength training is widely considered the main driver to success in reducing pain from PF, as it’s thought that increasing an individual’s tolerance to load can improve painful symptoms over time. Strength training for PF primarily targets muscles within the foot itself, and muscles originating in the lower leg that attach to the foot. While there isn’t a gold-standard for training preferences, exercise selection should be based on each individual’s activity level and their tolerance, usually helped determined by a health professional.


HEEL PAIN Education

Understanding the nature of plantar fasciitis is crucial for effective management. Education regarding the condition, its causes, and treatment plan adherence can significantly improve outcomes. Emphasis on the importance of rehab, as well as appropriate load management, are key principles to understand to ensure optimal results and reduced risk of injury.

Health professionals can also help in deciding the necessary use of corticosteroid injections (CSI). CSI can offer temporary relief, and should be considered cautiously due to the risk of plantar fascia rupture. It is important to note that CSI helps to ultimately relieve pain, but can further worsen symptoms if other protocols, like strength training, are not included as part of the treatment plan.


If you are seeking guidance to help relieve plantar fasciitis, Fortitude Chiropractic has the team to cater to your specific needs. Book an appointment online today or call (08) 6184 8835 to begin the path of overcoming plantar fasciitis.

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