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  • Dr Jan Naughton PhD

Plantar Fasciitis: What is this?


Plantar fasciitis, is a self limiting condition, but a common cause of heel pain in adults. It affects all aspects of the population both athletic and sedentary. The symptoms may include heel pain with weight bearing first thing in the morning and pain after prolonged sitting and then standing and walking. Pre disposing factors that may aggravate this condition include excessive running and foot pronation and prolonged standing. This condition is diagnosed with a good history and physical examination.

Conservative treatments help with the disabling pain. Initially, patient-directed treatments consisting of rest, activity modification, ice massage, oral analgesics, and stretching techniques can be tried for several weeks. Low dye taping/strapping, orthotics and heel cushions may also relieve symptoms. Night splints maintain correct foot alignment overnight and may provide further relief. If heel pain persists, then physician-prescribed treatments night splinting, and corticosteroid injections should be considered.

Garrett and Niebett in their article titled "The Effectiveness of a Gastrocnemius–Soleus Stretching Program as a Therapeutic Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis 2013" , suggest clinicians should take a multifaceted approach to treating a patient with plantar fasciitis. If there are limitations in dorsiflexion, these should be addressed with gastrocnemius–soleus stretching while including plantar fascia–specific stretching. If the patient presents with no dorsiflexion range-of-motion deficiencies, possibly plantar fascia–specific stretching is sufficient.

Prevention

This may include avoiding bendable/flexible soles and shoes without laces and straps. Continuing with foot and ankle flexibility and stretching exercises and seeking professional help at the earliest signs of heel pain.

If you would like further information on management or treatment for this condition contact:

Jan Naughton Sports Physiotherap Wahroonga. Ph: 02 94891246.

About the author:

Dr Jan Naughton received her PhD at Sydney University where she was lecturing in Sports Medicine and undergraduate physiotherapy. She specialises in shoulder injuries and has a sports physiotherapy practice in Wahroonga on Sydney's upper north shore working with two other specialist colleagues.


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