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Plantar fasciitis and Shockwave Therapy

Lifespan Osteopathy Essendon / Shockwave  / Plantar fasciitis and Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy Plantar Fasciitis Essendon

Plantar fasciitis and Shockwave Therapy

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

One of the most common diagnoses for foot pain is a condition known as “Plantar Fasciitis”.

Put simply, this is a painful condition of a structure in your foot known as the Plantar Fascia.

The Plantar Fascia is a ligament that runs from your heel to the base of your toes. It helps to support the arch of your foot and act as a shock absorber.

Plantar Fasciitis Causes 1

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms:

  • Pain in the heel of the foot
  • Pain near the back of the arch along the inside of your foot
  • Pain that is often worse for the first 10-20 minutes in the morning, but then improves slightly as you get moving
  • Pain that is worse when you start walking after a period of inactivity
  • Pain that increases when you spend long periods of time on your feet
  • Pain that is worse when you are bare foot

About 1/3 of cases occur in both feet.

Plantar Fasciitis Causes:

Whilst there are a number of possible causes, by far the most common is repetitive micro trauma.

It is thought that repeatedly stressing the arch with weight bearing can lead to an accumulation of microscopic tears in the plantar fascia. Over time, these micro tears become painful.

Plantar fasciitis used to be thought of as an inflammatory condition. However, we now think of it as more of a degenerative process, similar to common changes in other tendons of the body.

Possible risk factors for plantar fasciitis include:

  • Obesity
  • Occupations requiring prolonged standing and weight bearing
  • Heel Spurs
  • Hormonal changes such as Menopause in women
  • “Flat feet”, or exceptionally high arches
  • Leg length differences
  • Tightness in the hamstrings, achilles or calf muscles
  • Decreased ankle mobility
  • Increased age
  • Certain medical conditions, known as “Spondyloarthropathies”
  • Being female: women are 2x more likely than men to develop plantar fasciitis

Does Running Cause Plantar Fasciitis?

Up to 2-3 times your body weight goes through the foot with each heel strike during running. The plantar fascia is designed to act as a shock absorber to help cushion the rest of your body from the force of this impact.

This puts the plantar fascia at risk of repetitive micro tears if training errors, poor foot mechanics or abrupt increases in training load occur.

About 10% of all injuries in runners are in the plantar fascia.Runners who have increased distance, intensity or duration of their running either quickly or all at once are at higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

Running plantar fasciitis

Up to 2-3 times your body weight goes through the foot with each heel strike during running. The plantar fascia is designed to act as a shock absorber to help cushion the rest of your body from the force of this impact.

This puts the plantar fascia at risk of repetitive micro tears if training errors, poor foot mechanics or abrupt increases in training load occur.

About 10% of all injuries in runners are in the plantar fascia.

Runners who have increased distance, intensity or duration of their running either quickly or all at once are at higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

 

What Not To Do With Plantar Fasciitis:

What not to do with plantar fasciitis

There are a number of things that you should avoid doing if you think you’re suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.

These include:

  • Spending long periods of time on your feet
  • Wearing footwear that is:
    • Unsupportive
    • Has a very rigid sole
    • High heels
    • Thongs/flip flops
  • Walking barefoot on hard surfaces
  • Increasing running loads
  • Wearing the same pair of shoes every day

Any of these things will likely aggravate your symptoms.

There are a number of things that you should avoid doing if you think you’re suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis exercises:

There are a number of exercises you can do to help improve the pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis.
These include:

  • Stretching the calves and hamstrings
  • Strengthening the small muscles of your foot by doing exercises with your toes. One example includes placing your bare foot on a small towel, and trying to “scrunch” up the towel using your toes.
  • Stretching the achilles tendon

Can I Perform Any Plantar Fasciitis Treatment At Home?

There are a few heel pain treatments that you can perform at home. These include:

  • Icing the area for 20 minutes after activity or at the end of the day.
    One tip that we often give our Plantar Fasciitis patients is to fill and freeze a plastic water bottle, and roll your foot over this.
  • Stretching the plantar fascia by pulling your toes back, and warming up prior to activity
  • Stretching the calf and hamstring muscles
  • Wearing a specific splint at night to keep your ankle and foot in an ideal position

Does massage help Plantar Fasciitis?

In some cases, yes.

As tightness in the hamstrings, calves and achilles regions can contribute to Plantar Fasciitis, massaging these muscles may help.

Also, vigorous cross friction massage of the Plantar Fascia can also be beneficial. However, this is not for the feint hearted! This can be a very tender area, and massage here needs to be firm for it to be effective.

What is the treatment for Plantar Fasciitis?

Treatment of plantar fasciitis is aimed at improving the local tissue changes that are occurring due to micro tears. Also, many sufferers will develop pain in other areas of their body due to altered movement patterns. This is where Osteopathy is well placed to help.

Furthermore, Shockwave Therapy is now considered to be the Gold Standard treatment in cases of Plantar Fasciitis that have been present for 3 months or more.

Shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis:

8 to 9 out of 10 Plantar Fasciitis sufferers who undergo Shockwave Therapy will experience significant relief of symptoms (2). Apart from possible post treatment bruising and swelling, there are no significant side effects to this treatment.

Lifespan Osteopathy is proud to be able to offer Radial Shockwave Therapy using the Premium EMS Swiss DolorClast machine.

For more information on Shockwave Therapy, click here.

Some Plantar Fasciitis sufferers choose to undergo corticosteroid injection into the tissues. Whilst this can provide pain relief, it also comes with the risk of rupture of the plantar fascia, or fat pad necrosis. Additionally, as an injection alone does not help address all the contributing factors, evidence shows that many patients experience a return of symptoms after around 6 months. As such, it is no longer the preferred mode of treatment for this condition.

Does Plantar Fasciitis Ever Heal By Itself?

According to the literature, around 3 out of 4 cases of plantar fasciitis improve after 12 months (1).

Therefore, around 25% of cases will need intervention to help symptoms resolve.

The real question is though- can these people wait at least a year for their symptoms to improve? That’s where treatment can help speed this process up!

Can Lifespan Osteopathy help my Plantar Fasciitis?

Most likely!

We can help you implement many of the strategies outlined above.Call us today on (03) 9372 7714, or book online to get your feet walking in the right direction.