Treating plantar fasciitis

Treating plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis refers to thickening of a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot (your plantar fascia), which begins with inflammation. It is caused by straining the area connecting your heel bone to your toes and commonly affects runners. It can vary from mild discomfort to a severe stabbing pain. 

While there are things you can do at home to ease the pain, in more severe cases, treating plantar fasciitis may require physiotherapy. In more recent times, shockwave therapy has also been shown to be highly effective in treating plantar fasciitis. If you’re suffering from persistent plantar fasciitis and considering shockwave therapy in Twickenham, read on to find out if shockwave therapy is right for you.

Plantar fasciitis symptoms

The pain caused by plantar fasciitis can be intermittent, sometimes easing after rest and beginning again once you’re back on your feet. If your first steps in the morning cause a stabbing pain in your heel, you may have plantar fasciitis

Conversely, plantar fasciitis can also result in a throbbing pain at rest, which eases off when exercising. 

Causes of plantar fasciitis

You may be more susceptible to plantar fasciitis if you:

  • have just begun running or walking more, or if you’ve been standing a lot
  • started exercising on hard floors
  • exercise with a tight calf or heel
  • overstretch the sole of your foot during exercise
  • wear shoes with poor cushioning or insufficient heel and arch support
  • are overweight.

Ways to ease plantar fasciitis

Actions you can take to ease pain caused by plantar fasciitis include:

  • resting from the main activities that trigger your pain and then gradually reintroducing these activities once your pain has settled
  • using ice on the area for up to 20 minutes every 2–3 hours
  • taking basic over-the-counter painkillers (as instructed by a pharmacist or the packet instructions) to settle your pain when it is at its worst
  • wearing more supportive footwear with a good heel cup and arch support
  • using soft insoles or heel pads in your shoes
  • regular gentle stretching exercises
  • swimming and other exercises where no weight is applied to your feet.

Lifestyle changes

Altering your lifestyle can also make a difference.

Good nutrition and sleep improve recovery from injuries and inflammation, as both support your body’s ability to repair and generate new cells.

Smoking and drinking too much alcohol can affect your quality of sleep and your body’s overall healing power, so avoiding or limiting these activities is also helpful. 

Treatment for plantar fasciitis

We treat many clients with plantar fasciitis through a variety of approaches: 

Physiotherapy

Gentle exercises can help strengthen and stretch out the affected areas of your feet, so that the tissue becomes more resilient. Strengthening your Achilles tendon and lower leg muscles can also help support and ease pressure on the underside of your feet.

Massage therapy

This helps ease tension in your plantar fascia and calf, and increases blood flow, which improves healing. 

Shockwave therapy 

This is a great solution for persistent or severe plantar fasciitis. We use a hand-held device to pass high-energy sound waves through your body to encourage tissue regeneration. It’s a quick and non-invasive treatment. We usually recommend a minimum of between 3 and 6 sessions for effective treatment. 

Shockwave therapy improves blood flow and increases the production of collagen. As collagen breakdown is thought to contribute to plantar fasciitis, this consequence of shockwave therapy is thought to speed up the healing process.

If these treatments don’t improve your plantar fasciitis and your condition is having a significant impact on your quality of life, your physiotherapist may recommend that you see a podiatrist, who can provide you with specialised bespoke insoles, or a foot and ankle specialist who can carry out further investigations that could lead to more invasive treatments as a last resort (e.g. injection therapy or surgery).  

If you have plantar fasciitis and are looking for physiotherapy or shockwave treatment, our friendly team can help you get back on your feet in no time. Call us on 020 8898 1231.