Chronic Plantar Heel Pain (CPHP)
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a pain in the heel and bottom of the foot usually worse with the first steps of the day.
It is caused by the inflammation of the connective tissue which supports the arch of the foot. (plantar fascia)
In adults the condition must be differentiated from conditions such as Gout.
What does it feel like?
It can feel like a dull ache in the front and towards the inside of the heel.
Some people describe it feeling like you are stepping on a small stone or marble.
What can cause it?
Plantar fasciitis, like any other pain can be the result of a variety of different things which have built up overtime to cause this discomfort at the bottom of your foot/heel:
- Recent increase in walking/exercise on harder surfaces
- Tightness in the muscle from overworking the calves
- Tight Achilles tendon
- Over stretching the foot from exercise
- Using poor supportive shoes
- Posture when walking
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Being overweight
Usually, the foot pain that people experience, comes down to their posture and how they stand/move. For example, if a person’s pelvis is out of line due to tightness in the hip flexors, this can alter their body’s overall positioning.
What can I do about it?
Most of the time, plantar fasciitis can be seen by the general public as a condition which you have for the rest of your life. When in reality, with different methods, this condition can be improved and even go away completely.
- Reduce the load on your feet
- Get supportive shoes
- Self massage
- Freeze a full water bottle and gently roll foot over the bottle
- Use strengthening exercises to maintain a good body posture, this can help to take some pressure out of the foot.
- Stretching the muscles surrounding the ankle, more range of movement in the foot can be achieved.
- Gently rolling a lacrosse ball underneath your foot can also help to free up any tightness in the soft tissue surrounding the area of discomfort.
- Visit your Sport, Injury and rehabilitation therapist who will:
- loosen of any tight muscles/tendons/fascia
- help to reduce inflammation
- introduce a progressive rehabilitation program
- laser therapy
Perseverance is key
Most often this condition can be treated without injections or surgery.
The key is guided therapy to help strengthen the foot gradually.
This may take a long time (up to three months) but remember you will be doing most of the exercises at home. It is really worth persevering with the home exercise programme to build a strong foot and help prevent the condition coming back.