What we’ll cover
  1. What is plantar fascia?
  2. What is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis?
  3. Plantar fasciitis treatment
  4. Should I stop exercises with plantar fasciitis?

Can a physiotherapist help with plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis (fasciopathy) is a common source of heel pain. Common symptoms include pain and stiffness often first thing in the morning or with the first few steps following after sitting down. These symptoms often appear to warm up or settle as you continue to walk or run.

Physiotherapist Laura Scott identifies the best methods of treating and preventing plantar fasciitis.

What is plantar fascia?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous tissue that attaches from the heel and extends to the base of your toes. It acts to support the arch of your foot and shock absorb during walking and running.
Plantar fasciitis occurs with irritation or inflammation of the plantar fascia. There are a range of causes ranging from overload through to poor footwear. In some cases, bony changes including heel spurs can be contributing factors to plantar fasciitis.

What is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis?

Physiotherapy has been shown to be incredibly effective in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis treatment is similar to the management of tendon pain. This includes managing the initial symptoms followed by gradually loading soft tissue to promote strengthening in order to prevent reoccurence.

Plantar fasciitis treatment

The first stage of treatment is to reduce symptoms such as pain and stiffness as quickly as possible. Using an ice pack is a simple and effective method to reduce pain. Rolling a frozen drink bottle can be an great way to ice whilst gently massaging your plantar fascia. In some cases, anti-inflammatory medication can be used to assist with the pain.

Techniques that your physiotherapist may utilise to reduce pain include joint mobilisations for stiff joints, massage and dry needling. Depending on the cause of your plantar fasciitis, taping, braces or heel cups can be utilised to support and protect the plantar fascia. Flexibility exercises for the calf can also be beneficial. This includes using a foam roller or calf stretches. Try holding the stretches below for at least 15 sec, 4 -5 x day.

The second stage of rehabilitation is rehabilitate and progressively load the plantar fascia through gradually loading and progressives exercises. An exercise that is specifically used to load the plantar fascia includes a heel raise with an elevated big toe. Elevating the big toe onto a towel or dowel places more load specifically through the plantar fascia. This exercise can be commenced using both feet before progressively moving to the affected leg.

Your physiotherapist will also address other factors which may be contributing or causing plantar fasciitis. Commonly these can include decreased joint flexibility through the big toe or ankle, poor footwear and reduced muscular strength or endurance.

Should I stop exercises with plantar fasciitis?

Continuing to exercise is important in the management of plantar fasciitis. Just like management of tendon injuries, we know that overloading and underloading can actually increase symptoms and the time it takes for healing. A good rule of thumb is that exercise can continue as long as morning pain and stiffness does not increase the following day. Consider modifying the distance or speed that you have been walking or running to ensure that pain does not increase several hours following exercise or the following day. In some cases, cross training exercises such as cycling or the elliptical machine are good methods to continue exercise.

Your physiotherapist is well placed to assist in the management of plantar fasciitis. If you are experiencing foot or heel pain, contact our team or book online.

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Back to school 🔙📚

Last week we were fortunate enough to head back to uni and refresh our anatomy knowledge at @latrobeuni in the anatomy labs. 

Thank you to the Latrobe School of Physiotherapy for inviting us! Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone.

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