Are you currently experiencing heel pain? Maybe it's also a little further down into the ball of the foot? We can guarantee you are not alone! Heel pain is one of the most common foot problems, with one of the more common reasons for this heel pain being Plantar Fasciitis. Say what now? Did we just throw two random words at you? That's alright, let us go into a little more detail below so you can truly understand the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis and the available treatment for Plantar Fasciitis.
The plantar facia is a band of connective tissue that lines the sole of your foot, just below your skin. This tissue attaches to the heel and extends to the base of each toe in your foot. Now that's great, but what does it actually do? Well, the plantar fascia's main function is to support the longitudinal arch of your foot during weight bearing, absorb shock and recycle the energy. Now overtime, if the plantar fascia is overloaded with force and stress, it can result in it thickening, and becoming irritated.
As with all conditions, there are certain factors that can make this more likely to happen. So what causes Plantar Fasciitis? What can makes it more likely to occur?
Sudden increases in activity or standing for long periods.
Increased weight or BMI. This can be even more likely if you have sudden weight gain over a short period of time.
Tightness in the calf muscles (Gastrocnemius & Soleus).
So when this irritation develops, what can you expect. What are the signs and symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The first and most common is sharp pain on the bottom on your foot. Some patients may describe this as "walking on glass."
Heel pain is generally worse in the morning, in particular with your first couple of steps.
It can also be common for heel pain to flare up after standing for long periods of time, or even when going from sitting to standing, when you have been sat for an extended period.
Heel pain after exercise.
Swelling in the heel
Now, let's get to the good stuff. Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis. While there are many treatment options out there. They are all not equal. Below we have included a list of treatments for Plantar Fasciitis, which you may have tried.
Taping or strapping
Shoe wear modification
Now if you have tried the above treatments and had no success, we may have the solution for you. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) has become the main line therapy for treating Plantar Fasciitis. ESWT is a non-invasive treatment, that applies a high energy acoustic wave to the target tissue. This mechanism aims to stimulate a biological response, which has a regenerative and tissue repairing effect. Some clinical trials have even suggested ESWT to be 80% effective in the treatment of heel pain.
So how long should you expect results to take? Unfortunately the plantar fascia is not well vascularised, meaning it has relatively slow and low blood supply. This means it will generally take longer to heal. So while after just one session of ESWT you may experience some pain relief, complete resolution and healing could take up to 8 weeks.
Do you want to know about the benefits of Shockwave Therapy? Or what conditions Shockwave Therapy treats? Well look forward to further blogs, as we will cover this for sure!