Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain at the bottom of the heel, particularly in those first steps in the morning and when standing after rest.
Your plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue that starts at the bottom and inside of your heel, and spans across your arch to help support and stabilise your foot any time you stand and walk. When this tissue becomes damaged and inflamed, this is known as plantar fasciitis. You may suspect that your heel pain is being caused by plantar fasciitis if:
Plantar fasciitis is most often an overuse injury, which means that the foot and the fascia are excessively loaded, strained and overused to the point that the fascia is fatigued and cannot support the load, and so its tissue fibres are damaged. We often see patients whose plantar fasciitis heel pain is caused by:
A person’s age is often another risk factor for developing plantar fasciitis, due to the natural age-related changes that can occur such as the degeneration of the fat pad beneath the heel, the reduction in tissue elasticity, and the increased likelihood of developing conditions such as arthritis and other damage.
The term heel spurs is often used interchangeably with plantar fasciitis, but they are two very different things. A heel spur is a calcium deposit at the bottom of the heel that forms a protrusion, or ‘spur’. These calcium deposits often form as a response to the stress on the plantar fascia, but they are not the cause of plantar fasciitis, and in studies they have been shown to be largely asymptomatic, often being accidentally detected in radiographs when examining an unrelated condition.
In almost all cases of heel pain involving the plantar fascia, treating the plantar fasciitis relieves the symptoms, regardless of whether or not a heel spur is present.
There are a number of things you can do to help relieve the pain associated with your plantar fasciitis at home. You can try:
All of the above suggestions are designed to help give you relief from your pain, but it’s important to note that they are not designed to ‘fix’ the problem. Fixing the problem means understanding why your plantar fasciitis has developed, addressing these causes so that they don’t continue to strain and damage the fascia, and then supporting the fascia to heal and repair - the only true way to eliminate painful symptoms for good. This is why our team is trusted to care for feet affected by plantar fasciitis, and how we produce results that last.
Here at Matt Raden Podiatry, our trusted and experienced podiatrists treat plantar fasciitis on a daily basis, and as such, utilise a range of evidence-based and proven methods combined with getting to know your goals, your lifestyle and your preferences.
Every appointment starts with a biomechanical assessment to uncover the true causes of your plantar fasciitis. Your assessment involves a physical exam, testing the range of motion at your joints and the strength in your feet and legs, and assessing your foot posture. If your plantar fasciitis pain is severe and we suspect that you have a tear in your fascia, we may refer you for medical imaging to confirm. Your treatment with us may involve:
If you have heel pain, our team is here to help - and to ensure you have the best experience doing so. We’re proud to go above and beyond for our patients, focusing not only on treating your pain and injury, but helping prevent it from recurring in the future.