How Do You Diagnose Plantar Fasciitis?
A physiotherapist can typically diagnose plantar fasciitis by the history of the condition and a clinical examination. X rays can be used to examine for the presence of heel spurs which are calcium deposits that build up on the underside of the heel bone, a process that usually occurs over a period of many months and are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis and repetitive stress to the plantar fascia. MRI and Ultrasound scans can also be used in the management of heel pain and are useful for helping identify any plantar fascia tears, inflammation or calcification.
What Is The Treatment For Heel Pain?
A physiotherapist will assess your heel pain and if diagnosed as plantar fasciitis then they will look at your predisposing factors and try to work with these to reduce the stress on the plantar fascia as well as using techniques to help encourage healing. The good news is that despite all the horror stories you may hear plantar fasciitis is actually quite treatable and the majority of people with plantar fasciitis improve significantly within months of initial treatment and it is only a very select and unlucky few who have the “nightmare” where they suffer for a year or more with heel pain.
Physiotherapy And Heel Pain
Assessing foot and leg biomechanics and footwear is crucial and occasionally your physiotherapist may suggest you should see a podiatrist for further assessment and prescription of customized orthotics to help support your arch and or improve your foot biomechanics.
Frequently some element of rest from the aggravating activities is required at the onset and throughout the rehabilitation of heel pain from plantar fasciitis and your physiotherapist may also use or suggest any of the following:
- Taping techniques
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Acupuncture and dry needling
- Massage and soft tissue techniques as well as joint mobilizations
Something that at Sydney Physio Clinic we have found very useful in the treatment of plantar fasciitis is the use of shockwave therapy. Just like with most tendinopathies, the use of shockwave treatment can be a really effective approach with plantar fasciitis / plantar fasciosis. Shockwave therapy helps kick start the bodies natural healing process and is ideal for treating these chronic soft tissue complaints as well as addressing calcification (such as heel spurs). At Sydney Physio Clinic we have a shockwave therapy machine which can easily be incorporated into any individuals plantar fasciitis / plantar fasciosis rehabilitation program for the treatment of heel pain.
Restoring Normal Foot Biomechanics
Your foot biomechanics is the main predisposing factor to plantar fasciitis. Taping techniques may be used to help improve biomechanics temporarily and off load the stress on the plantar fascia and the prescription of soft orthotics or as mentioned previously a custom made orthotic prescribed by a podiatrist may be necessary address any biomechanical issues in the longer term.
Combined with the use of taping or orthotics, footwear advice is also crucial as it is often poorly designed footwear that can predispose the individual to the injury. Nine times out of ten any rehabilitation program for heel pain will involve an individual buying some new shoes or at least will require them to make some changes to their footwear habits.
Returning To Play After Plantar Fasciosis
If your plantar fasciosis is the result repetitive activities placing enormous forces on your plantar fascia during sport then in order to prevent a recurrence as you return to sport, technique adjustment and corrective exercises may play a role in your rehabilitation to both help prevent a recurrence and ideally improve your sporting performance.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance regarding Treatment For Heel Pain should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, general practitioner, sports medicine specialist or physiotherapist.