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Understanding Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Plantar fasciitis is a very common problem - so common, that nearly half of the adult population will develop plantar fasciitis at some stage in their lives! The condition presents with heel pain that is worse in the mornings and lessens throughout the day.

Risk factors include having tight calves, being obese and/or diabetic and participating in repetitive high impact activity such as trail running or dancing. Most cases of plantar fasciitis resolve on their own after a few months although some cases can last two years.

A good first point of call is a podiatrist or physiotherapist experienced in the management of plantar fasciitis. A rehabilitation program should consist of stretching and massage of the calf and achilles tendon, taping, heel pads and occasionally an ultrasound guided steroid injection.

Very rarely, plantar fasciitis can be associated with other conditions such as tarsal tunnel syndrome, foot deformities such as a high arch foot and achilles tendonopathy. In some cases, an allied health practitioner, a general practitioner or orthopaedic surgeon may recommend further imaging such as an ultrasound or MRI to exclude another cause for heel pain. Most cases however do not need any imaging in the first instance.

In refractory cases of plantar fasciitis, shock wave therapy may be of benefit but should be performed by an experienced allied health practitioner. Finally, surgical release may be an option but should only be reserved as a last resort when all other treatment modalities have failed.

If you have plantar fasciitis, Dr Touzell is happy to recommend an allied health practitioner such as a podiatrist or physiotherapist experienced in the management of this condition as a first point of call.

X-ray of a foot with plantar fasciitis


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