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  • Kevin Cassells

Plantar Fasciitis/Plantar Heel Pain

Plantar heel pain refers to pain on the underside of your

foot near your heel, due to irritation of the ‘plantar fascia’.

The plantar fascia is a tough, supportive structure on the

underside of your foot.

You may have heard of the term ‘plantar fasciitis’ which means inflammation to the tissue of the underside of your foot. This term isn’t exactly correct, as the pain is typically not related to inflammation, rather it is caused by excessive work or stress on your foot. The relevance of this is that anti-inflammatory drugs are

typically ineffective for plantar heel pain.

What causes it?

Plantar heel pain is thought to occur when the tissue on the underside of your

foot becomes ‘overloaded’ – meaning that it has been asked to carry out more

activity than it is capable of. This could happen for many reason – two examples

are outlined below. It could be due to a big increase in activity (load), or it could

be due to a reduced capacity of your plantar fascia to tolerate stress (tissue


What to look for?

Plantar heel pain will typically show the following signs:

 Pain on the underside of your foot, closer to your heel

 Pain first thing in the morning

 Pain with prolonged walking or activity where you are

on your feet

 Pain on palpation of the painful area

What can I do to help it?

As plantar heel pain comes from your foot being ‘overloaded’, management of

this condition should be looked at in terms of how we can reduce workload on

the foot and increase capacity of the foot. If we can reduce the workload on the

foot while improving it’s strength and function, this should result in less pain

throughout the day. Below are some possible treatment options to help manage

plantar heel pain:

 Exercise – strengthening and stretching of your foot can help to relieve pain

and increase the capacity of your foot, allowing it to cope better with daily


 Taping – this can help to take the pressure away from the plantar

structures of your foot, making it easier to walk and undertake other


 Orthotics – a longer term option can be orthotics for your shoe to help

support the plantar and arches of your foot

 Manual therapy and massage – this can help to alleviate immediate


 Activity modification – modifying activity (where possible) can be helpful in

allowing your foot to calm down and alleviate symptoms

If these symptoms sound familiar to you, come into Medowie Family & Sports

Physiotherapy. Kevin and Mike are both familiar with this condition and would be

happy to get you back on track.

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