If you are experiencing heel pain, you may have plantar fasciitis. This debilitating condition is caused by inflammation in the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common reasons why people experience heel pain and is especially common in people aged between 40 and 60.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the strong band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, from your heel bone to your toes. It is caused by excess stress on the plantar fascia, which may develop small tears that can become very painful. Sometimes plantar fasciitis may cause you to walk abnormally which may lead to secondary problems in your foot, knee, hip or back. Left untreated, plantar fasciitis may lead to chronic heel pain so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis.
Causes of plantar fasciitis
The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot and acts as a shock absorber while you walk or run. It is shaped like a bowstring. If the plantar fascia is subjected to too much tension and stress, it can develop small tears and may become irritated and inflamed. The precise causes for the condition are not always clear, however certain factors appear to increase the likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis. It is most common in people who stand or walk for extended periods on hard surfaces, including manual workers and people who work in hospitality. Being overweight increases the stress on the plantar fascia, as do certain foot abnormalities such as having flat feet or a high instep. Some types of exercise are associated with an increased risk of plantar fasciitis, including long-distance running, aerobics and ballet, which can all put a lot of stress on the heel.
Plantar fasciitis causes pain on the bottom of your foot, near the heel. The pain can be intense and is often worst in the morning or after sitting down or long periods of standing still. It may ease during exercise but worsen again afterwards.
Diagnosing plantar fasciitis
A physical examination is normally sufficient to confirm a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis. Your doctor will check for areas of tenderness on your foot and may press along your heel. At W27, we may carry out diagnostic imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans, to rule out other possible causes of heel pain – like a stress fracture – and confirm the diagnosis.
Effective treatments for plantar fasciitis
Often plantar fasciitis will recover by itself with some simple home treatment, including resting the affected foot, using ice to relieve pain and swelling and taking painkillers and anti-inflammatories. A physiotherapist will be able to recommend exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and strengthen your lower leg muscles. Night splints may be helpful to stretch the arch of your foot and calf while you are asleep and during the day orthotics can be helpful to support the arch of your foot and distribute the pressure on your feet more evenly.
At W27, we offer two highly effective treatment for plantar fasciitis:
- Ultrasound-guided injections of corticosteroids help to relieve pain and inflammation. The area is numbed with local anaesthetic before using ultrasound to guide the needle into precisely the right position and administering the steroid injection.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections use the body’s natural healing ability to support recovery from tendon injuries. They belong to an emerging field of healthcare called Orthobiologics which combine new technologies with the body’s own healing processes. Injecting PRP into your damaged tissues stimulates your body to grow new, healthy tissues to speed recovery.
If you have plantar fasciitis talk to us about effective ways to heal the pain of this debilitating condition. We can also provide diagnostic imaging to rule out other possible causes of your heel pain.
If you have suffered a sporting injury, whether due to an accident or as a result of long-term damage, contact W27 for specialist advice and diagnosis.
SPORTS INJURY TREATMENT | MANCHESTER, LONDON, CHESHIRE + MORE
W27 provides fast, accurate diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal symptoms and conditions using the latest state-of-the-art imaging facilities.
For your appointment there is a choice of locations:
The OrthTeam Centre Ohm Building – 168 Barlow Moor Road, Manchester, M20 2AF
Euxton Hall Hospital – Wigan Road, Euxton, Chorley, PR7 6DY
MedSerena Upright MRI Centre Manchester – 26-28 The Boulevard, Manchester, M20 2EU
The John Charnley Wing, Wrightington Hospital – Hall Lane, Appley Bridge, Wigan, WN6 9EP
The Spire Manchester – 170 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2AF
MedSerena Upright MRI Centre London – 114a Cromwell Road, Kensington, London, SW7 4ES
HCA The Wilmslow Hospital – 52 Alderley Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 1NY
Information about our Fees can be found here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options with a specialist, please contact the team to book an initial consultation.