Here at Physio Performance we treat a lot of foot injuries on a daily basis. Heel pain specifically is one of the biggest complaints we hear from teachers. This is extremely common in this line of work as they spend long hours on their feet every day standing in front of classes. Heel pain can be caused by different factors, but the most common injury would be plantar fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition usually characterized by pain beneath the heel. While the exact cause of the condition is largely unknown, it is most likely caused by repetitive microtrauma to the plantar fascia. This microtrauma can be influenced by a number of factors including shoe type, activity levels and even BMI.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of ligamentous/connective tissue that connects the heel to the front of the foot. The plantar fascia also plays an essential role in the Windlass Mechanism. The Windlass Mechanism takes place when the big toe is extended (pointed upwards). As the plantar fascia connects this area to the heel, when the big toe extension occurs, tension is placed along the entirety of the structure.
As a result of this tension the distance between the heel and the big toe is shortened, increasing the height of the medial arch of the foot. The mechanism effectively helps the foot to become stiff, and allows for the transfer of force into the ground for propulsion when we are walking, running etc.
Consequently, plantar fasciitis pain can be extremely sore when walking or running as the microtrauma present is aggravated every time we place that foot on the ground to propel ourselves forward.
It is for this reason that when rehabbing from plantar fasciitis, we place a towel under the toes during calf and heel raises, to increase the tension across the plantar fascia and further involve this mechanism.
How Can Physio Help?
Often people suffering with Plantar Fasciitis patients will research online about to help plantar fasciitis. Any online search will talk about relief from manual release of the plantar fascia.
Methods to release this area include a ball arch roll, in which the patient rolls a hockey/massage ball along the plantar fascia in standing, or simply through a plantar fascia stretch. A plantar fascia stretch involves either pulling the big toe upwards, or including a calf stretch in which the patient aims to get the heel as high as possible into the air, extending the foot at the big toe.
Please check out our video for the best home Plantar Fasciitis Exercises: CLICK HERE
Another commonly recommended treatment is an over the counter gel heel inserts can also be of great relief to patients as they go through their activities of daily living. Usually with plantar fasciitis the most painful point is at the inside corner of the heel on the sole of the foot, and can be very easily aggravated with walking. Through use of gel heel inserts the impact on this area can be lessened in everyday activities, reducing overall pain levels for the patient.
While all the above treatments can be beneficial, the effects are usually short term and ultimately they are not addressing the cause.
The most effective treatments long term treatment for plantar fasciitis include load management, calf strengthening ( challenge the Windlass Mechanism) and Shockwave Therapy.
Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis
Shockwave therapy has proven to be hugely effective for plantar fasciitis. This revolutionary, non-invasive treatment uses acoustic sound waves to stimulate your body’s natural healing process & repair your tissue.
The benefits of Shockwave therapy include increasing blood circulation and
activity in the cells, which in turns stimulates the body’s natural healing process. The nerves can also be overstimulated by the shockwave, which leads to reduced pain in the area.
The Physio Performance Way:
We are the specialists here in the Drogheda area dealing with foot & heel pain.
We can guide you right through the whole journey: From the initial diagnosis to a full recovery.
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You can contact us on 041-9877059 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book an appointment online with us HERE.