Plantar Fasciitis – Take Action!

By Lauren Howard

Whether you're an athlete or couch potato at some point in your life you'll come across an overuse injury. This short article explains what Plantar Fasciitis is, how it's caused and importantly how you can get rid of it.

Plantar fasciitis (PF) can be defined as ‘an overuse condition of the PF at its attachment to the heel which is due to connective tissue (collagen) disarray in the absence of inflammation’.

In a nutshell, the plantar fascia is irritated. But why?

It's all too easy to point the finger at footwear or the type/volume of training you do, but if you have an internal biomechanical fault the footwear, or the amount of training you do, isn't going to make much of a difference. Rest will certainly begin to alleviate the problem, mainly because you're not loading your foot any more. However, when training recommences it will come back again because the underlying cause still remains.

Can I find out what’s causing it?

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Figure 1 - Poor Movement Pattern

Yes, by having a biomechanical assessment to reveal the underlying causal factor/s. This will determine where in the body a movement dysfunction is occurring. You will be videoed whilst you carry out certain functional exercises (see Figure 1).  These exercises involve multi-joint movements that impact on the whole body to show up specific issues and are based on the latest research into human movement. Watching how you perform these exercises and analysing your movement patterns will help to identify causal factors. These have a direct effect on how your foot is loaded. Based on the results a corrective exercise programme is then developed to correct faulty movements and correct muscle imbalances so you avoid reocurrence.

What can I do to get rid of it?

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Figure 2 - Good Movement Pattern

Unfortunately it isn't a quick fix! Rest, soft-tissue therapy and some calf raises are going to give some relief but ultimately, you’ll have to find the underlying cause. Look at the body as a whole unit as suggested previously (after all, even walking is a whole body activity so imagine what happens when you increase the intensity and run).

You’ll need to move efficiently (Figure 2) at both low threshold (squatting, lunging, walking etc.) and high threshold (running, hopping, jumping etc.) activities; you’ll need to strengthen what is weak, activate what is inhibited, lengthen what is short and mobilise what is restricted.

 

Everybody will have different underlying factors...

...so generic exercises won’t always work – it needs to be specific for you and your physical requirements (i.e. running). The only way to do that is have a thorough assessment. Our PDT-com assessment does just this so if you or somebody you know is suffering from this and want to take action to get rid of this sooner rather than later then call us at Peak Performance.