Plantar fasciitis (also called Jogger’s Heel) is a foot injury resulting in pain in the heel and the bottom of the foot. The pain is usually most severe for the first few steps of the day, but in some cases it can remain severe for the entire day. In more than 70% of cases, the pain is limited to one foot, and almost always comes on slowly. It can be treated with exercise, the use of heat and ice packs, and basic physiotherapy or chiropody.
The symptoms include pain in the heel or the back of the foot, which is especially severe first thing in the morning (called “First-Step Pain”) or after rising from a period of long rest. Heel pain worsens as weight is pressed onto the site of the injury, but usually gets better with continued walking or steady, increased movement. These symptoms are usually slow to come on, but once the injury has revealed itself they become more severe and persistent.
The risk factors for Jogger’s Heel are various, but the main cause is overuse of the tendon in question. This can be caused by over-exercising, especially excessive running, and is usually seen in people who lead a lifestyle that lacks a lot of exercise. Obesity is also a leading cause of tendon overuse, and is present in 70% of patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. Standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time and inappropriate footwear, particularly very high heeled shoes and trainers that do not provide support are often the culprits in tendon damage as well.
Flat feet or unusually high arches are also significant risk factors for developing Jogger’s Heel, as the movement made by flat feet when walking places undue stress on the tendon, resulting in damage done over time and often causing tendon conditions.
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
Treatment, for the most part, is elementary. The condition is usually self-limiting, since the pain prevents further over-exertion of the tendon and forces rest, which will heal the heel over time. With conservative treatment, 90% of plantar fasciitis cases will heal up in six months, but even without treatment most of those cases will heal within a year. A year is a long time to suffer first-step pain, however, so the following treatments are also effective:
Rest is an obvious treatment method – avoid doing further damage to the tendon. Application of heat and ice packs as you would for a sports injury are often effective ways to treat the hurt heel, and over the longer term, calf-strengthening exercises, massage and exercises to strengthen the Achilles tendon will provide increased relief and reduce the chance of the condition re-emerging.
If you suspect you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, Widnes Alternative Health’s Chiropodists can help make a diagnosis, administer front-line treatments and get you back on your feet in no time! They are experts in injury and treatment of the feet and ankles, and can provide a number of treatments to reduce your pain, increase the value of your rest time and build your tendon back up stronger than ever! Give our podiatrists a call or message us on this site to arrange an appointment, and we’ll see what we can do for you.