Plantar fasciopathy involves the thick band of connective tissue that creates and supports the arch of your foot. It is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Your plantar fascia acts as an elastic spring to support the arch under your foot. This, in turn, helps with energy conservation and efficiency when you walk, run or hop. An increase in load might overload this tissue which can result in pain and reduced function during activity. Typically, poor foot biomechanics contribute to this overuse injury.
The term plantar fasciitis is also used to describe the same condition. However, recent advances in our understanding of inflammation has made the term ‘fasciopathy’ better suited. Plantar fasciopathy involves a maladaptive response from the body to deal with abnormal stress. This means that pain in the plantar fascia is not the typical inflammatory response we once thought. It is, however, a more gradual inability for the body to adapt to external and internal load.
Recent research has highlighted a number of factors that may increase your risk of developing plantar fasciopathy. Normal age-related changes may decrease the elasticity of your plantar fascia. This can result in losses of its shock-absorbing ability and being able to ‘spring back’ when placed under load. Being overweight or obese can also increase your risk of developing this condition. In conjunction with the increased loads placed on your body, being overweight increases the pro-inflammatory substances within your body. Therefore, contributing to your condition. Furthermore, biomechanical dysfunction of your foot, ankle or leg can also contribute to developing this condition. Similarly, calf tightness can be a risk factor for developing this condition. Footwear, sport/physical activity levels and lifestyle/occupation may all be risk factors for developing plantar fasciopathy.
The symptoms of plantar fasciopathy include heel pain when you wake up and first stand up. This might resolve as you ‘warm up’ during the day and then get worse again towards the end of your day. If left untreated, your condition can worsen, resulting in increased pain and little to no relief with rest. If you are experiencing heel pain, conservative treatment should be sort out before considering your surgical options/injections. Our physiotherapists can help you
You will be given a treatment plan created by a physiotherapist. Conservative treatment for plantar fasciopathy will usually involve strengthening and stretching of the muscles of the foot and calf. Also, addressing any faults in your technique may have that could be exacerbating the condition. Managing your load and activity can also be an important aspect to rehabilitation. In conjunction with understanding why the condition has happened, you can reduce your risk in for it reoccurring again.
Around 90% of cases will be resolved within 12 months with conservative treatment, so book in and start your recovery today!