If you’re experiencing a sharp, stabbing pain first thing in the morning as you step onto the ground, and through the day after a rest, then there’s a chance you may have plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis describes the inflammation or damage to your plantar fascia. In general, a fascia is a band of connective tissue that serves to connect, stabilise and enclose musculature and structures throughout the human body. The plantar fascia specifically describes the thick connective tissue band at the bottom of the foot, which runs from the bottom of the heel and spans your arch to the toes in a fan-like shape. When the fascia becomes inflamed (and painful!), this is called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis may also be misdiagnosed for Abductor Hallucis Tendinopathy (link to Your Heel Pain - It’s Not Always Plantar Fasciitis. Do You Have the Right Diagnosis? )
Because the fascia spans the arch and is stretched every time we take a step, any overuse or a heavy load on the fascia can cause it to become damaged and inflamed. It may be from a sudden increase in physical activity that strained the fascia, it could be from a day out in footwear with poor support that overloaded the fascia, your foot type may be the cause or a contributing factor, it could be trauma to the foot - basically anything that strains and overuses the fascia.
As we mentioned earlier, a stabbing pain first thing in the morning on walking (and hence stretching the inflamed fascia) is a common symptom, as well as pain on standing after rest through the day. You may also experience an ache or a stabbing pain when pushing on the bottom of your heel. The pain can last for years if untreated and ranges in severity from a mild discomfort to an excruciating ache.
The first thing you actually must do is see your podiatrist. This is because, heel pain can be caused by other conditions and injuries and you don’t want to waste time, money and days of ongoing pain treating your ‘plantar fasciitis’ when it’s something different. Here at The Podiatrist, your treatment reflects your specific needs, lifestyle and goals. We work with you to take into consideration your daily activities, work requirements and exercise commitments while getting you pain-free, happy and reaching your fullest potential as fast as possible so the plan we give you may very well differ from the plan of the person sitting next to you in our waiting room (it’s fairly probable they’ll have plantar fasciitis too - heel pain is one of our specialties!).
From there, your podiatrist will discuss with you everything from footwear to the possibility of orthotics where it will be beneficial, stretching and exercise, tips and tricks such as stretching in bed to dull the first step pain, any soft tissue work directly to the plantar fascia and anything else that will get you better quickly! Where necessary, our podiatrists may refer you for an x-ray or ultrasound. When left untreated and with continued overloading, plantar fasciitis may progress to a plantar fascial tear or even a rupture - another reason why you must see your podiatrist, especially if it’s very painful - you may already have a tear which will alter the best recommended treatment.
Think of it like stubbing your toe. If you’ve stubbed your toe before, can it happen again? Absolutely. If you take care, the chances of that are greatly reduced. If you walk over a dodgy doorway multiple times a day then the chances of stubbing your toe again are increased. It’s a bit like that with soft tissue injuries - yes you definitely can damage a tissue you’ve damaged before. However, here at The Podiatrist we don’t just diagnose and treat your painful condition but we figure why it happened and address that too. For example, a flatter foot type generally does put a greater load and more strain on the plantar fascia and if that was a large contributing factor to your injury then by addressing the biomechanical abnormalities you’re greatly reducing your chance of reinjury. We don’t want to just help your current pain but stop it coming back in the future so you’re free to realise your fullest potential.
For more information about Plantar Fasciitis, check out our very own Podiatrist Rachel’s view on it here: Not Just Heel Pain - it’s Plantar Fasciitis!
If you’ve treated your heel pain but then it came by, read about why that may be here: Why Did My Heel Pain Come Back?
Two weeks with Calcaneal Spur and finally got to see Doc. He sent me to Kevin @ Eleven and with One Appointment, he had me walking without Crutches. Yes! It still hurt. Did the Stretching, Rolling my Foot on a Spikey ball and Iced it occasionally. Return visit, after he had his Holiday, and I' am walking fine. They do NOT want to see me again, unless it deteriorates. Which it has not :-)