Plantar fasciitis in the heel

What is Plantar Fasciitis and how can a physio help?

Have you recently started exercising more than usual or are your walking/running shoes well overdue for an upgrade? Well, these are just some of the common reasons why many people experience plantar fasciitis.


What is plantar fasciitis?

If you’re experiencing pain in your heel or foot arch, it may be plantar fasciitis. Commonly known as Policeman’s heel, plantar fasciitis is a common condition across all ages. It’s characterised by heel pain which can go all the way along the structure, running on the internal sole of your foot until the base of the big toe (1st Metatarsal), called Plantar Fascia. This inflammation of the tissue can result in stabbing pain near the heel, however it’s important to remember that there can be other structures in the foot which can cause heel and foot arch pain (unrelated to plantar fasciitis).


What is the plantar fascia?

The plantar fascia is a strong connective tissue running under the sole of your foot and its main function is related to structure of the arch and shock absorption in the foot. Excessive stretching or loading to this structure can cause small tears and lead to inflammation and therefore, heel and arch pain, which are the main symptoms of this condition. The other main symptoms is pain being at its worst first thing in the morning with initial weight bearing, but improving after a few minutes of walking.

Plantar fasciitis can be caused by different factors, such as:

  • Weight
  • Arch shape (flat feet)
  • Calf length
  • Lower limbs’ biomechanics
  • Change in footwear/surface of training
  • Change in intensity of training
  • New sport/physical activity


The treatment of plantar fasciitis consists on:

  • Strengthening and stretching of calf muscles and tibialis posterior muscle.
  • Analysis and improvement of lower limb biomechanics, including hips and knees. If you like running, an excessive heel strike would increase the load on the fascia.
  • Orthotics if needed, for arch correction.
  • Soft tissue management, including massages, Dry Needling, etc. to the muscles and the fascia itself.


Five ways in which physiotherapy can help with plantar fasciitis:

1. Establish a correct diagnosis as to where your heel of foot pain is originating from, as this is important to direct the best treatment for you

2. Provide treatment such as heel and foot mobilisations and soft tissue release

3. Provide ways in which you can limit aggravation of your heel pain- eg strapping, changes to footwear and orthotics

4. Guide you with appropriate load management for your exercise and everyday activities

5. Organise diagnostic imaging if required


Want help with your plantar fasciitis?

Book an appointment to see one of our experienced physiotherapists today. We’re happy to talk to you about plantar fasciitis and determine whether this is the true cause of your pain. We’ll also recommend a rehabilitation program suited to your needs. You can also pop in to see us during business hours and purchase our physiotherapy accessories, including insoles, tape and more!