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Treating Plantar Fasciitis

 

If you are currently suffering from plantar fasciitis or know of someone who is, you will know how stubborn this condition can be to resolve.

The term “fasciitis” infers that there is inflammation in the plantar fascia (“itis” meaning inflammation of). Whilst this may be true in the acute stage of the condition, the understanding is that in the more chronic stage (symptoms for several months), there is no inflammation present. Research has suggested that in the chronic phase, the term should be changed from fasciitis to “fasciopathy”. This might explain why anti-inflammatory medication is often found to be of little help to those who have been suffering with this condition for some time.

Here are some top tips to help yourself if you suffer with this painful heel condition:

  1. Stretch your calf muscles regularly. Hold the calf stretch for at least one minute.
  2. Wearing a night splint to stretch the calf can help.
  3. Stretches (3 x 30 secs) to the plantar fascia can help (see  below)plantar fascia stretch
  4. Stretch out the plantar fascia by rolling a tennis ball underneath the foot.
  5. Avoid walking round the house/home in bare feet.
  6. Wear a small gel heel pad in your shoe if you are going to be on your feet and wear supportive shoes.

With chronic plantar fasciitis (fasciopathy) there is a thickening of the plantar fascia where it attaches into the heel and it has been suggested that there is also swelling here too. In order to reduce the amount of swelling you will need to try and reduce the amount of time you are on your feet. Consider this if you are a runner or if you are carrying excess weight, try and reduce this.

The plantar fascia is made up of collagen fibres and it has long been known that collagen responds well to loading exercises. A recent study showed that performing slow, controlled, high load exercise resulted in a significant reduction in pain in suffers with plantar fasciopathy at three month follow-up compared to those who did not perform the exercise.

So here is tip number 7 – perform the following exercise and see if it helps you:

Perform a single leg calf raise as shown here with the addition of placing a rolled up towel underneath the toes.

calf riase

Each heel raise should consist of a three second going up phase and a three second coming down phase with a two second pause at the top of the exercise.

The recommendation is to perform three sets of 12 reps and increase the load as the exercise gets easier by wearing a backpack filled with books. The exercise should be done diligently every second day for three months to gain the most benefit.

For those of you who are interested in reading the study on high load strength training for plantar fasciitis, the link for the study can be found here:

www.researchgate.net/publication/264936255

If you are suffering from plantar fasciits and would like to book in for an assessment and treatment then please give us a call on 01322 275 402

 

 

 

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