Plantar fasciopathy is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems that podiatrists see. It is pain at the insertion of the plantar fascia at the heel. The plantar fascia is a fibrous band that extends from the heel bone to the toes it acts as shock absorber supporting the arch in your foot. The collagen fibres are organised so that movement in the foot such as going onto your toes is enabled. One of the most common complaints patients will experience pain in their heel when waking up in the morning and stepping out of bed. You may also find that standing for long periods of time may be very uncomfortable.
Plantar fasciitis is the initial heel pain caused by inflammation after an injury in the plantar fascia. It is usually described as a hot, swollen and tender heel in the days after damage. When we walk we are constantly putting pressure on the plantar fascia and sometimes excessive pressure like starting a new sport or taking to the gym more regularly than before can instigate the micro trauma of the plantar fascia. Recent weight gain can also play a factor on the development of plantar fasciitis many expectant mothers can develop plantar fasciitis due to the excessive loading on the feet. A tight achilles tendon can also play havoc on the plantar fascia, therefore it is advisable to stretch after exercising.
Plantar fasciosis is the term to describe long term heel pain after repetitive stress when suffering from plantar fasciitis, long term in this case is described as anything longer than one month. It occurs due to the deterioration of the integrity of the plantar fascia over time.
The two terms are very similar however plantar fasciitis is only a short term injury to the area,
by the time most patients see a podiatrist their condition has progressed to the chronic plantar fasciosis. Both can be treated with stretching, icing, orthoses, mobilisation, acupuncture, injection therapy, shockwave therapy and proper footwear. Your podiatrist will give you the best advice for you, discussing options and providing orthoses and stretches where necessary.
Prevention of Plantar Fasciopathy:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Choose supportive footwear that has a strap or lace.
- Stretching after exercise.
- Begin returning to exercise slowly.
- Wear appropriate shoes for different exercising, if you are a keen runner doing long distances it is advisable to regularly change your trainers.