By Sophie Hellings, Physiotherapist

Plantar Fasciosis (previously called plantar fasciitis) is a common problem in the foot. It causes pain underneath the foot, usually starting at the heel and can travel towards the toes. It’s worse first thing in the morning, with prolonged walking or after sitting for extended periods when you start walking again. It will usually feel better once the feet are moving. It was previously thought to be an inflammatory condition, but now is thought to be more of a degenerative process.

The plantar fascia is a strong fibrous layer of connective tissue that runs under the foot from the heel to the ball of the foot and supports the arches. While the etiology of plantar fasciosis in unclear, it is through to be caused by overloading the fascia. This is commonly caused by a changed in activity or footwear so standing or walking more than usual or wearing flatter/less supportive shoes. Other risk factors include, being overweight, >40 years old, and being female.

Plantar Fasciosis physio

 

Treatment:

  1. Active rest: resting from running, long walks or prolonged standing
  2. Ice: ice the sole of the foot in the evening when the foot is most sore for approximately 10-15mins
  3. Support: gel heel cups and supportive shoes such as runners
  4. Stretching: Either sitting using your hand to pull back all the toes to feel a stretch OR slide the toes down the wall so they stay on the wall with the foot flat on the ground. Repeat 10 times holding for 10 seconds. This can be done three times per day.
  5. Exercise:  calf raises. Standing on a step with the toes on a rolled-up towel, slowly lower the heels down for 3 seconds, slowly raise all the way to the top and then hold at the top for 2 seconds. Keep the toes relaxed during the exercise (avoid clawing). Ideally this is done on one leg, ever second day, 3 sets of 10 reps. As they get easier, add load to the exercise by filling a backpack with books.
Plantar Fasciosis physio claremont
 
There is no clear evidence for use of anti-inflammatory medication. Steroidal injections are also not advised due to side effects such as atrophy of the heel fat pad and rupture of the plantar fascia.
 
For best results, see your physio to get a full assessment of the lower limb biomechanics and make sure you are doing the exercises correctly

To make an appointment, call our Claremont physio clinic on (08) 9384 1555 or our Nedlands physio clinic on (08) 6389 2947.

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