Welcome back – in our last blog we discussed the main causes of plantar fasciitis (which is just the technical name for an injury to the structure that runs along the bottom of your foot). We also discussed that plantar fasciitis usually strikes first thing in the morning when you get out of bed, giving you heel pain that can feel like you have just stepped on a sharp pin, and what the main causes of the heel pain are.
In this next blog, we will discuss the various effective treatments that are available for plantar fasciitis and underline the importance of ensuring that your heel pain is accurately diagnosed so the right treatment plan can be put in place – a very important step in ensuring you get pain free fast.
As mentioned, while plantar fasciitis is a very common cause of heel pain, it must be accurately diagnosed to ensure the right treatment plan is put in place. Not all heel pain is due to plantar fasciitis. In fact there are a number of other conditions that could cause pain around the heel region, which need different treatments. This is where the skills of a qualified Podiatrist comes into the picture – we have the education and experience to accurately diagnose the cause of your heel pain and tailor a personal and effective treatment plan to get you back on your feet pain free.
Our podiatrists will firstly ask you a lot of questions about your heel pain and also find out a bit more about your activities, work and lifestyle. We then ask the question, why you? What is happening to you that is causing you to get heel pain and not the guy sitting in the desk opposite you at work? This is where things get a bit more technical and when we start looking in to the way you walk and the way your foot moves. We use the assistance of modern technology (good old video analysis) to watch you walk. There are other assessments we do and are specific to your particular heel pain.
Depending on the diagnosis, a Podiatrist will prescribe you a treatment plan with one, or a combination, of the following treatment strategies (the good news is, when prescribed correctly, these treatments can work fast):
· Plantar fasciitis stretching: starting with gentle stretches for the calf and bottom of the foot can often relieve the pressure on the plantar fascia and provide the start of heel pain relief.
· Plantar fasciitis exercises: the source of your plantar fasciitis may be a lack of strength in key supporting muscles in the foot and lower limbs therefore it may be necessary to strengthen these muscles with specialised exercises to ensure your plantar fascia is able to function effectively and without pain.
· Plantar fasciitis taping: an effective strategy for relieving heel pain in the immediate term that can supplement longer term strategies.
· Custom made orthotics: shoe inserts designed for you to alter your foot function and take pressure off the plantar fascia.
Now that you know what plantar fasciitis is, what causes and how to treat it, we trust you can now see that you really don’t have to put up with heel pain any longer. Experience tells us that ignoring it will likely only make it worse, so if you have started to get a sharp pain in your heel after long periods of inactivity, you should take action and book in to see a podiatrist before any further damage is done.