By now you’ve all seen the long winded blog posts discussing the ins and outs of Plantar Fasciitis. You’ve consulted Dr Google, trying to find the direct answer to your specific question.
Over the past few months, I’ve taken the time to list down the questions I am most frequently asked by my Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Pain clients and collate them into a super easy, straight-to-the-point document for your inquisitive brain’s pleasure!
Here we go!
Why do I have Plantar Fasciitis?
This one’s easy!
You get plantar fasciitis when you ask your plantar fascia to do more work than it has the ability to handle.
The tricky bit is why is your plantar fascia specifically sore. Why is it only on one foot? Why does it hurt only in the morning? Why do some shoes hurt more than others?
To get into the really deep weeds here there’s a few broad concepts that need to be understood. Let me try to explain.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by excessive compressive or tensile load on the plantar fascia, a thick and fibrous band of tissue on the bottom of the foot.
Compression occurs when your heel twists in or out under load; or where your plantar fascia attaches to bony landmarks. Tensile loading happens when your arch lowers during walking, a normal and important part of gait.
The final aspect to consider is how much work your plantar fascia can handle. Some people can handle a lot! They have strong, trained and conditioned plantar fascia. Others less so. Those of us who are deconditioned or have chronic medical conditions like diabetes have plantar fascia that has less capacity to do work.
Did my shoes cause my Plantar Fasciitis?
I wouldn’t say shoes are the ‘cause’ of plantar fasciitis, but they are certainly a contributing factor. Overly flexible, unsupportive footwear, particularly when used to walk or run long distances, can increase load on the plantar fascia resulting in heel pain.
Think of plantar fasciitis symptoms like a tipping point… too much loading and you get sore. Just the right amount of loading and things feel great. If your shoes are making your plantar fascia work harder for the 3,000 steps you wear them that day, then that might push you over your tipping point. Another pair of shoes might load your plantar fascia less, and so when wearing those for 3,000 steps you don’t put as much strain on your plantar fascia.
So shoes are a really important factor to consider when assessing and fixing plantar fasciitis.
You can learn which are the best shoes for plantar fasciitis here.
Do I need orthotics or arch supports for my Plantar Fasciitis?
Great plantar fasciitis question. The answer is maybe!
For the average client, I generally like to spend some time correcting some of the unintentional mistakes that may have got us in this position in the first place!
Active treatments like strength exercises, a change in footwear and some taping can relieve heel pain effectively.
However, in some cases, orthotics (to ensure your foot is in the optimal position to reduce load on the plantar fascia) are a really powerful treatment option.
It comes down to individual needs and wants. If you want your plantar fasciitis symptoms resolved ASAP then a combination of load optimisation with the best orthotics for plantar fasciitis for your feet and active strength and conditioning work will get you back moving pain free quickly.
Plantar fasciitis orthosis and arch supports. Learn more here.
Can I still run with my Plantar Fasciitis?
As a practitioner, I hate having to tell my patients to stop. The best advice I could give is to listen to your body!
You see, pain is an indicator. It’s your body trying to tell you that something isn’t quite right – so listen to it! If running is excruciating, perhaps a reduction in distance can be helpful.
Only you know how your body is responding to running, or any other activity.
Hopefully after a session with your trusty podiatrist, a few shoe/taping/exercise modifications will be in place to offload that plantar fascia and allow you to do more of the things you love!
My heel pain is at its worst first thing in the morning, is this normal?
Another common plantar fasciitis question. Absolutely! Most of my clients with heel pain will complain of ‘first step’ pain. That awful sharp pain when you first hop out of bed. I know a super quick and easy exercise you can perform in bed before you take those first few steps that makes them a whole lot easier! If you want the secret, you may have to pop in and see me 😉!
How long will it take for my heel pain to go away?
Let’s answer that plantar fasciitis question with another question. How long have you had it and what would you be up to do to get rid of it?
Chronic plantar fasciitis and acute plantar fasciitis are two very different ball games. Clients with acute plantar fasciitis can often experience relief in a very short period of time if they’re diligent with their treatment plan. For clients who have been experiencing heel pain for a long time, achieving a resolution can take a little bit longer – but it’s definitely achievable!
Likewise if we can get a holistic approach to loading including activities, footwear, orthotics, strapping, strengthening and more in place you’re much more likely to get faster results than only choosing one of the above.
Am I stuck with Plantar Fasciitis for life?
DEFINITELY NOT!!!! I’ve seen so many clients who have conceded to a life ridden with daily heel pain. This doesn’t have to be you!
Podiatry can help you.
We can help you.
We WANT to help you!
If you’re experiencing heel pain and want relief, or if you have any further questions to ask, please get in touch with the team at PridePlus Health.
To book in with me in Melbourne’s CBD you can ask all your plantar fasciitis questions in person by calling or booking online here.