Plantar Fascia (PF) plays a vital role in foot mechanics. The Fascia is made up of 3 bands all starting at the heel bone (Calcaneus). The fascia provides a static support as well as dynamic shock absorption under load.

(PF) is the third most common injury in runners. As well as being common, PF can be difficult to treat and resistant to a host of different approaches. It also tends to be ‘self limiting’ which means it can go away of it’s own accord but that can take over a year.
There are many risk factors that are attributed to developing PF including: stiffness in the gastroc-soleus complex, high BMI, poor ankle joint dorsiflexion, running and an inefficient WINDLASS MECHANISM.

In addition, there is a misconception that only people who OVERPRONATE are at risk for plantar fasciitis, however people who UNDERPRONATE can also develop fasciitis. It is the duration of how long you remain in pronation, rather than pronation itself, that is problematic.

For many years prior to the latest research into tendon pathologies, we used to stretch the calves and hope for the best but thank goodness for the scientists and researches showing us the light that there is a better way to improve pain and function in PF. It has been shown that load is vital in the rehab/healing process and the fascia is simply unable to cope with the amount of load that you are asking it to deal with as such initially we get an inflammatory cascade, however I should point out that this isn’t a condition that usually involves inflammation so the term Plantar Fasciitis is probably inaccurate. It’s though the response from the tissues is actually similar to that of tendinopathy and involves a range of changes including swelling of the fascial attachment and breakdown of the usual collagen based structure. As such some people term this plantar fasciopathy or Plantar Heel Pain.

There are many ways to treat this disorder and multiple things that need to be looked at to determine the cause of the dysfunction but some of the things that we would usually do to treat PF include Extra Corporeal Shockwave Therapy, Rigid taping, ice and specific exercises tailored to the individual.

Specific exercises detailed in below images and include:
Isometric (Holds) Heel raise with a rolled-up towel – to progressively load and modulate pain through the PF

Heel Cord Stiffness – reduce tightness in the posterior sling of the lower limb

Eccentric Posterior Tibialis Control – Improve the control of the foot and help the windlass mechanism to work effectively

Lateral Hip Stability – to improve lateral hip strength as to reduce internal rotation of the leg bone and increase load through the PF

Gold Coast Plantar Fasciopathy

Plantar Fasciopathy Gold Coast Physiotherapist

 

Simply put load is vital to improve these issues, there may be underlying issue causing the dysfunction, losing weight may help improve you PF pain quite effectively and managing the pain well will lead to a good outcome.

Remember that every individual is different and whilst these exercises are great, not all may be appropriate to you and your circumstances.

There are also many things that can masquerade as PF and possible may not improve the PF exercises so make sure to see your physiotherapist to find what is best for YOU.