At Walking Mobility Clinics, we treat a number of foot problems that our clients are faced with, and one of the most common is plantar fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the most common form of heel pain in adults. It happens when the plantar fascia – the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes – becomes strained and/or partially torn. This can lead to swelling, weakness and irritation and it makes standing or walking very painful.
There are a number of causes for plantar fasciitis, and it’s most common in middle aged people or younger people who are often on their feet. It can also occur if:
- You have high arches or flat feet
- You wear ill-fitting shoes
- You have tight calf muscles or Achilles tendons
- Your ankles tend to roll inward too much when you walk
- You’ve experienced a weight gain
In terms of treating plantar fasciitis, there is no cure-all. However, there are many different treatment methods that can help patients manage the pain and return to their daily routine.
1) Baby Your Feet At Home!
Many people pay a lot of money for good shoes and boots for work, but immediately flip them off when they get home and walk around the house in their socks or possibly in an unsupportive slipper. Don’t do it!
Try to avoid walking barefoot or in sock-feet, particularly on hard surfaces in the home – consider wearing running shoes in the house or getting into supportive sandals or slippers with good support. It is amazing how much time we actually do spend on our feet in the home…..don’t contribute to your problem by flaring things up at home.
These days there are many types of sandals that come with removable insoles and that will accommodate custom orthotics. Many people find that being consistent with their support (both at work and at home) is extremely helpful in speeding up the healing process.
2) Footwear & Orthotics
If your symptoms aren’t too severe, try getting a better fitting, more comfortable pair of shoes. You can also try adding gel heel cushions to the shoes for added shock absorption. However, keep in mind that it is important that you wear the shoe that is RIGHT for you. For example, running shoes generally fit into 3 different categories: Stability, Neutral and Cushioning. When dealing with Plantar Fasciitis it is extremely important that you wear the kind of shoe that best matches your foot type.
For more severe or chronic cases, more individualized treatment may be necessary. Once the underlying cause of the condition is determined, plantar fasciitis is often successfully treated with custom orthotic devices and changes in footwear to better meet your needs.
The type of orthotics that are needed will vary from person to person. Do you need a hard orthotic or a soft orthotic? Should it be full length or half length? All good questions and they illustrate why it’s important to get advice from an expert to help ensure that you are fitted with the device that best meets YOUR needs.
3) Stretching and Strengthening:
Plantar Fasciitis – therapy can help!
While the foot itself is always the first place to look, we should always consider whether something else could be the root problem. Weakness in the pelvis musculature, tightness in the lower extremity or postural imbalances could be contributing factors. Through an individual assessment and specifically designed program, therapy might include stretching and strengthening, massage, modalities and balance retraining. Kinesiotape is a great way to bridge the gap between appointments to assist in pain relief and could be a point of discussion with your therapist. The first few painful steps out of bed can be easily remedied with some assistive devices that you wear to bed or a simple routine of foot pumping and toe crunching before you put your weight through those first few steps, will also make those steps a bit more tolerable.
The easiest thing to ask patients to do with chronic plantar fasciitis, that can have great benefit, is stretch the calves. A slow sustained stretch for 30+ seconds, hanging the heel off a step or leaning against a wall with the leg straight can really remove some tension from the inflamed tissue, accelerating the recovery. (John Sage, Clinic Director, Apple Creek Sports Medicine Clinic)
Do I Have Plantar Fasciitis?
Because there is no one-size fits all cause or cure for plantar fasciitis, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis before embarking on any treatment plans. There are a number of conditions that closely mimic plantar fasciitis and they will require different treatment methods. If you think you might have plantar fasciitis, get a proper biomechanical analysis done. A correct diagnosis will help you to know how your plantar fasciitis was caused and the best course of treatment for it.
Contact Walking Mobility Clinic to book a biomechanical analysis at one of our locations today!