Not Just Heel Pain - it’s Plantar Fasciitis!
Podiatrist Rachael Unsworth Talks Heel PainSo you’ve heard of people talk about this dreaded heel pain, right? You may have even experienced it for yourself - “Plantar-something-or-another”?
Yes! The most common cause of heel pain is called “Plantar Fasciitis” - it’s a funny name really, but all it means is that you have an inflamed soft tissue/fascia at the bottom of your foot.
But why does it cause pain in the heel?Plantar Fasciitis often causes pain in the heel because it originates from the heel. It actually spans the whole sole of the foot, tracks through the arch and inserts at the base of your toes! Because of this, if your arch flattens, it can cause the plantar fascia to be excessively stretched and overloaded, causing inflammation. Another consideration to its anatomy, is that it affects the function of your toes (and vice versa). So if your big toe gets stiff, then your plantar fascia won’t work adequately. Yep! Even that little toe niggle could be contributing to heel pain - interesting hey!
But did you know?!Now you’d be correct for thinking that it’s complicated - because it is! Even your ankle and knee range of motion can affect your heel pain. We often see people coming into our clinic with really tight calves that are reporting heel pain. This is why we always look at implementing a treatment plan which addresses all of your musculoskeletal needs and not just your fascia. One of the ways we do this is with dry needling, which is similar to acupuncture but treats the ‘knotted’ trigger points, within the calf and quadratus plantae muscles (the muscles at the bottom of your foot that bend the toes!).
Meet Brenda….Brenda is a 63 year old woman who presented with bilateral heel pain, which had been present for one month. The pain came on gradually and was particularly sore when getting up to stand first thing in the morning, and after sitting.
She was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and promptly treated. This involved our tried-and-tested treatment plan, inclusive of:
- Anti-inflammatory modalities
- Footwear advice
- Orthotics to relieve pressure from the plantar fascia so it can heal
- Strapping/ plantar fascial compression sleeve to offload the plantar fascia
- Soft-tissue modalities to relax the calf muscle and quadratus plantae, such as stretching, massage and dry needling
Soft tissue injuries including plantar fasciitis typically take twice as long as bone injuries to heal so need timely and appropriate management to get the best results and not continue to have ongoing issues (and pain!). Moreover, treatment shouldn’t just manage your current symptoms but reduce the risk of overloading and injuring your plantar fascia in the future - as Brenda has achieved.
If you’re battling with heel pain too or worried you have plantar fasciitis, give our fantastic team a call today and get started on the road to saying goodbye to your heel pain once and for all!
Article edited by Nina Pimenova
About the Author
Rachael joined our team of Pods in 2012! She considers herself to have always been a bit of a ‘country kid”, and her high school years were spent at The Glennie School in Toowoomba.
Podiatry to Rachael is indefinably important – “mobility is everything, and if we can play a part in maintaining mobility in the community then I will feel that I has succeeded as a podiatrist” .
Aside from starting a new career, commencing work at The Podiatrist brings Rachael back to Toowoomba and closer to family and friends.
A very keen cyclist and this has lead to her further study in Cycling biomechanics, assessment and training. Rachael's loves working with cyclists, runners and of course triathletes.