What is Plantar Fasciopathy?
Plantar Fasciopathy is the most common cause of heel pain in adults, affecting 1 in 10 people.
- ‘Plantar’ comes from the latin ‘sole of the foot’
- ‘Fascia’ is connective tissue that weaves and wraps around every organ, blood vessel, muscle, bone and nerve fibre to provide structural support
- ‘Pathy’ is a medical suffix that refers to a condition or disease.
Plantar Fasciopathy is therefore a condition that affects the fascia in the underside of the foot.
What causes Plantar Fasciopathy?
Plantar Fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from your heel bone (posteromedial calcaneal), along the base of your foot and wraps around your toes (specifically, metatarsal heads).
The plantar fascia connective tissue is a matrix of collagen fibres that can become disorganised and thicken. The condition is associated with degenerative changes at the origin, with accompanying pain.
- Heel pain with first steps in the morning or after prolonged sitting
- Pain that worsens with increased activity or standing
- Tenderness of the heel area
- Reduced ankle mobility e.g. limited range of movement when flexing ankle towards you
- Pain when flexing big toe towards you
Full assessment by your Physiotherapist is required for a diagnosis of plantar fasciopathy. Other potential causes of these symptoms can include a plantar fascia tear, heel stress fracture, nerve damage or rheumatological conditions.
Plantar fasciopathy can occur spontaneously without specific injury, however there is an increased risk if you are:
- Over 40 years old
- Overweight (BMI 25-30 are twice more likely to suffer from this condition)
- Obese (BMI over 30 are 6 times more likely to experience)
- Poor ankle mobility (flexion)
- Poor toe extension
Medical management of the condition consists of a range of injection therapies to manage the pain. However, research has shown they often provide short term relief and other therapies assist in restoring function, mobility and alleviate pain long term.
Physiotherapy: from pain to performance
The primary goal for a Physiotherapist is to help you identify the root cause of your pain and immobility, guiding you on a journey that restores full function and performance to resume your daily activities pain-free.
This will include:
- Conducting a thorough assessment and accurate diagnosis
- Providing education and advice
- Evidence based treatment e.g. soft tissue massage, myofascial release and strength training
- Addressing modifiable risk factors e.g. reducing BMI and increasing ankle mobility
If you are suffering with heel pain, contact us for an assessment so that we can start you on your journey to pain-free living today.