Plantar fasciitis is a condition causing pain in the underside of the heel which can also radiate into the arch of the foot. This condition, also known as plantar fasciopathy, is surprisingly common and can be effectively treated with shockwave therapy.
The predominate sign of plantar fasciitis is pain into the underside of the heel, however you may also experience pain into the arch of the foot.
Symptoms are often worse first thing in the morning but can also be aggravated by activities involving running, or walking when wearing flat or hard-soles shoes.
Although runners often suffer with Plantar Fasciitis, it can affect anyone and you are more likely to experience plantar fasciitis if you are overweight – or if you have relatively recently changed your footwear or increased the amount of time you are spending on your feet.
Plantar fasciitis occurs as a result of the weakening of the muscles which maintain the ‘spring’ in the arch of the foot. As the arch of the foot is put under pressure it starts to flatten, causing the plantar fascia to become irritated and painful.
Although the pain is felt in the foot, the underlying causes of this condition are often a weakness in the muscles of the hip or lower leg – both of which are in the muscle chain that helps to stabilise and maintain the arch of the foot.
Short-term symptoms may be due to an inflammation of the tissues, which tends to react well to massage and manipulation used in conjunction with other modalities such as acupuncture, ultrasound and kinesio taping.
Most cases of plantar fasciitis however are longer-term and are not the result of inflammation – they are instead caused by a chronic weakening of the plantar fascia tendon (a tendinopathy). This is why they are often unsuccessfully treated with steroid or cortisone injections.
These longer-term cases are generally best treated with a course of shockwave therapy to help regenerate the tendon, followed by a programme of exercise rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles of the foot, hip and lower leg which have led to the condition in the first place.
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