A Physiotherapist, Osteopath or GP will conduct a physical examination as well as take details of your medical history and symptoms to confirm the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis and rule out other possible disorders. Sometimes an MRI or ultrasound scan may be indicated.
Recovery will usually take several weeks but can sometimes takes several months depending on the severity of pain and how long the symptoms have been present. If diagnosed and treated early, the more effective treatment will be and the quicker the recovery.
Ice or heat?
In the first six – eight weeks you can apply an ice pack to the heel and bottom of the foot at intermittent intervals to help. If your symptoms have been present for over eight weeks, you may find that heat offers more relief. A hot water bottle is the perfect heat source to use but always apply it over clothes or a towel. Alternatively, you can soak your feet in a bowl of hot water.
Over the counter medications such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen can be helpful in managing the pain. It is important to get advice regarding suitable medication from a GP, Pharmacist or well-trained Physiotherapist.
Whilst rest will not usually resolve plantar fasciitis, it will help your symptoms settle, so it has an important part initially. The pain may settle, but if you return to the previous level of activity, it is more than likely your symptoms will return.
It is important to rest the affected area from activities that increase your pain, but do not stop activity completely. We recommended engaging in alternative forms of exercise such as swimming and cycling to reduce the load on the plantar fascia.
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
Also known as just ‘Shockwave Therapy’ and is a treatment we provide at our Clinic. It is a non-invasive treatment that uses high energy sound waves to stimulate and accelerate the healing process and give pain relief to soft tissue conditions including Plantar Fasciitis.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) offers evidence-based recommendations for NHS users and healthcare professionals on the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. NICE guidelines recommend the use of Shockwave Therapy for plantar fasciitis and the evidence of its effectiveness is very good.
We offer Shockwave Therapy at the clinic and you can read more about it here.
Insoles or Heel pads in your shoes
A podiatrist can recommend insoles or heel pads and also the right shoes to wear. Avoid wearing high, pointed shoes and going barefoot if you show signs of plantar fasciitis and seek advice.
Exercise can be an effective way to help in the recovery process from plantar fasciitis. Regular stretching of the calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia can help reduce tension and improve flexibility. Low impact activities such as swimming, cycling, and walking can also be beneficial, as they help to increase circulation and reduce stress and strain on the feet.
Strengthening exercises for the feet and ankles can build up the muscles and help to support the plantar fascia. Additionally, wearing supportive shoes with ample cushioning and arch support can help to reduce the stress on the plantar fascia and aid in the recovery process.
By performing his hip exercise it will also slow the leg down from rolling inward, which will allow the pain and irritation to the plantar fascia tissue.
Lie down on your back with a resistance band around your legs and move the leg away from the body. Always aim to keep the unused part of the body down the entire time.
Perform 1-2 sets for 10-12 reps on each leg.
Single legged Bridge:
By performing this exercise it will strengthen the glutes and entire leg muscles, which will ultimately relieve the pressure on the plantar fascia tissue.
Lie down on your back with your right leg extended to the height of the left bent knee. When ready rise upward and then return to the starting position.
Perform 1-2 sets for 10-12 reps on each leg in a controlled tempo.