Young woman holding painful ankle/calfWhat is it? Plantar fasciitis is inflammation and degeneration of the plantar fascia, which is the tissue that connects from the heel to the middle bones on the sole the foot.

Common Cause: Plantar fasciitis usually occurs from repeated small injuries in this band of tissue, often effecting those in jobs that require long periods of standing or walking. Footwear use can also affect this.

Common Symptoms: Pain near the heel bone and on the underside of the foot (plantar aspect), within the soft tissue area often worse first thing in the morning and after rest.

How can Physiotherapy help? It can restore strength, mobility and stability to the lower limb helping to relive overstrain of the plantar fascia.  It can relax the muscles within the foot that have gone into spasm, and can give advice on the correct footwear to use. As the symptoms improve guidance on returning to activity and sport can be given.

What to expect during treatment: A full assessment of lower limb movement patterns in order to re-educate movement and establish which tissues are tight and need stretching. Strengthening exercises and mobilisation of stiff joints will also help to regain normal movement and function.  Soft tissue massage of the painful areas, education on footwear and necessary self-management exercises. Acupuncture may also be used for pain relief and to promote healing.

What can you do for yourself? Seek advice from a physiotherapist and give rest and soft tissue massage to the painful areas every day, especially at the end of the day. Bathing the feet in Dead Sea Salts can also be beneficial.