Fixing Your Feet: Plantar Fasciitis

It's been cited that as much as 10% of the population will experience Plantar Fasciitis during their lifetime - 10%! And within what population do we see an even higher percentage? Amongst you runners out there. Plantar Fasciitis, or perhaps more correctly Plantar Fasciopathy (it just doesn't sound as catchy), is something I see very regularly as an Osteopath.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation, or more correctly, degeneration and thickening of the fascia at the base of the foot where it inserts at the heel bone. Common symptoms patients complain of are heel pain with the first few steps in the morning, pain with walking after sitting down or resting for a while, and pain that is often worse whilst barefoot on hard surfaces. Occurence of plantar fasciitis is shown to be higher in people that run, people with a higher BMI and people that spend long periods of time on their feet either standing or walking.

Why should you get a proper diagnosis?

It is important to get your foot pain diagnosed properly as there are so many other things that can be responsible for pain in the foot (I should know!!) and the faster you get diagnosed, the faster you can crack on with the right treatment and rehab. So, what sorts of things can also give us foot pain?

- Tendonitis / tendonosis

- Nerve impingement/ irritation

- Impingement

- Bursitis

- Fracture/ Stress fracture

- Benign or malignant tumours (rare)

..and these are to name a few. It's so important to get diagnosed by a healthcare professional such as an Osteopath, as they can often quickly tell you what exactly is responsible for your pain and if in doubt, can refer you for investigations such as MRI's and xrays. An important part of an osteopath's job is to then figure out why the plantar fasciitis has developed in the first place - if that dysfunctional pattern that led to the plantar fascia being overloaded to the point of failure has not been corrected/ altered, then the pain will keep returning. This is why simply resting and rolling out the fascia regularly can help in the short term, but as soon as you