Warmer weather brings lots of fun, but we also see an increase in people reporting foot pain at this time of year. Change in weather often brings about a change in footwear, with people more likely to spend more time in thongs or flat sandals which offer their feet very little support.
Over time, this lack of support can put stress onto the foot and in particular the plantar fascia – which runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel towards the toes. This repeated stress can overload the area and lead to foot or heel pain.
The pain is typically worse in the morning, with the first steps being very tender until the area warms up. Pain is worse with high impact weight bearing activities. The site of tenderness is localised to the inside aspect of the heel and is usually described as a dull ache.
A reduced foot arch is frequently associated with plantar fasciitis. Walking with toes pointing outwards or the presence of calf tightness, can also increase the strain on the plantar fascia.
Treatment includes avoidance of the aggravating activity, ice after activity, anti-inflammatory medication and stretching of the plantar fascia and calf muscles. At home, patients often report benefits from freezing a water bottle and rolling their foot over it.
Physiotherapy treatment, includes deep tissue massage and stretching. Ultrasound, commonly proves beneficial. Recent research has shown benefits of foot strengthening exercises such as toe curling and heel raises within the limits of pain.
Addressing the positional fault in the foot is also important and your Physiotherapist may use tape to hold the foot in a more correct position, or suggest orthotics, or given its summer, more supportive thongs.
In some scenarios injection of a corticosteroid may be used. If an injection is used it must occur in conjunction with correction of biomechanics to prevent further injury.
The video below runs through some stretching exercises which can be very beneficial. If you have further questions about plantar fasciitis or other conditions we may be able to help you with at Beechboro Physiotherapy, please give us a call on 9377 2522.