The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of tissue that runs under the foot supporting the arch and attaches to the heel bone. A common condition affecting the plantar fascia is called plantar fasciitis. Characterised by inflammation and irritation, it causes intense heel pain.
However, most plantar fasciitis has already developed into a plantar fasciopathy which means that it is no longer inflammatory but involves the degeneration of the plantar fascia itself. This is the condition that presents to health professionals as the pain has not subsided within a few weeks.
The good news is that with the right approach, you can effectively manage plantar fascia symptoms and promote healing. In this article, we will discuss various strategies for self-management, including load management, footwear optimization, taping, supporting insoles, exercises, and stretches. Additionally, we will explore treatment options offered by physiotherapists, such as shockwave therapy in Twickenham.
One of the crucial aspects of managing plantar fascia pain is optimising the load placed on the affected foot. You can do this by avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain, as well as reducing the overall impact on the plantar fascia. You can also modify or limit high-impact activities like running or jumping, gradually increasing activity levels as symptoms improve. We also recommend being mindful of the amount of time spent standing or walking on hard surfaces.
Choosing appropriate footwear plays a vital role in managing plantar fascia pain. Look for shoes with a good arch support and cushioning. Try to avoid walking barefoot. You should also avoid wearing unsupportive or worn-out shoes, including flat-soled shoes or high heels.
Taping can offer temporary relief and support for the plantar fascia. Apply zinc oxide to the affected foot to provide compression and stability. This can help reduce strain on the plantar fascia during activities. To learn proper taping techniques, consult a healthcare professional or physiotherapist
Supporting insoles or orthotic inserts can provide customised support for the arches of your feet, reducing stress on the plantar fascia. These inserts help distribute pressure evenly, promote proper foot alignment, and alleviate pain. Consider using over-the-counter or custom-made insoles based on your specific needs. The orthotic must be firm enough to support your arch in standing.
Exercises and Stretches
Regular exercises and stretches can help strengthen the muscles of the foot and calf, promoting healing and reducing plantar fascia symptoms. Perform calf stretches against a wall or on a step, focusing on both the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Consult a physiotherapist for specific exercises and stretches tailored to your condition.
Additional Treatment Option: Shockwave Therapy
If self-management strategies do not provide sufficient relief, physiotherapists may recommend additional treatments such as shockwave therapy. This non-invasive procedure utilises sound waves to stimulate healing and reduce pain in the affected area. Shockwave therapy can also promote blood flow, and support tissue regeneration. While it is recommended in the NICE guidelines, consult a physiotherapist to determine if shockwave therapy is a suitable option for you.
Get in Touch
By incorporating load management, optimising footwear, utilising taping and supporting insoles, performing exercises and stretches, and practising self-management techniques, you can effectively manage plantar fascia pain and promote healing. However, if symptoms persist, seek professional help from a physiotherapist who may recommend treatments like shockwave therapy. Call us today on 020 8898 1231 to learn more.