Plantar fasciitis is a common problem. If you mention it to your friends, you’ll likely be greeted with a “oh I’ve had that”, closely followed by a “this is what you should do”. A podiatrist is the health professional of the feet, so Bondi Beauty asked Daniel Gibbs to give you the lowdown on what to, and what not to do, when it comes to plantar fasciitis.
Your plantar fascia is the rope-like connective tissue that runs along the underside of your foot, from your heel to your toes. Whilst it is the longest and strongest ligament in your body, able to withstand up to 30 times your body weight, it can get inflamed, thickened and painful. This pain is usually felt in the weakest point of the plantar fasciitis, right where it attaches to the heel bone.
Plantar fasciitis can be triggered by changes such as wearing different shoes, standing for longer periods, or stepping up your activity levels. The increased stress causes micro tearing which you may feel as a sharp pain when on your feet, or a dull ache at rest. A tell-tale sign is ‘hobbling’ first thing in the morning. Unfortunately it can take up to a year to heal.
Some people are more susceptible due to previous injury, age or life style. But, in his experience with Olympic athletes and the Australian Dance Theatre to general practice at Posture Podiatry in Adelaide, Gibbs admits, just about anybody can get it.
Finding the cause is essential to timely and effective healing and preventing the problem from reoccurring. A podiatrist can refer you for an ultrasounds or xray to determine the exact damage, check you are wearing the right shoes, prescribe orthotics if required and give you exercises to stretch and strengthen your feet and ensure surrounding joints and muscles are supporting the healing process.
Daniel states cortisone injections or shock wave therapy are an option in severe cases, but should be a last resort and do not replace the need to determine the cause. You can continue to exercise during the healing period. However, it is important to wear soft supportive shoes, stretch your calves before activity and limit long runs, sprints, jumping and lunging movements.
As Gibbs notes, “during a lifetime your feet will walk the equivalent of 3 times around the Earth”. Your feet are amazing and you only get one pair, so look after them.
For more about plantar fasciitis check out:
By Rachel Livingstone PersonalTrainer & Owner of The Health Hub www.healthhub.net.au
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