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Plantar Fasciopathy: A Lowdown On Management.




Hey there!


So, you're dealing with Plantar Fasciopathy (or Plantar Fasciitis, as commonly known), that pain in the bottom of your foot that just won't quit. Well, let me give you the lowdown on what it's all about and how a physiotherapist might tackle it.


First off, Plantar Fasciopathy is basically inflammation or irritation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. It's a real pain in the... well, foot. (1)


When you hit up a physiotherapist for this issue, they're going to start off by assessing your situation. This usually involves a good old chat about your symptoms, when they started, what makes them better or worse, and your general activity level. They might also get down and dirty with some hands-on stuff, feeling around your foot to pinpoint where the pain is most intense and checking out your range of motion. (2)


But that's not all they'll watch you walk or run to see if there's anything funky going on with your gait that might be contributing to the problem.


Once they've got the lowdown on your foot fiasco, it's onto the treatment game. Now, this can vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and what your physiotherapist thinks will work best for you. But common approaches might include:


1. Manual therapy: Get ready for some hands-on action. Your physio might massage the area to ease the tension and break up any knots that have formed.


2. Orthotics: Custom-made shoe inserts can help provide extra support and cushioning, taking some of the strain off your poor plantar fascia (3).


3. Taping: Ever seen those fancy strips of tape on athletes' feet? Yeah, that's not just for show – it can actually provide some extra support and relieve pressure on the plantar fascia (4).


4. Rest and ice: Sometimes, you just got to give your foot a break. Your physio might recommend laying off the high-impact activities for a bit and icing the area to bring down inflammation.



When it comes to tackling Plantar Fasciopathy, exercises can be a game-changer. Here are some exercises that may help:


1. Towel Scrunches: Grab a small towel and lay it flat on the floor. Place your foot at one end of the towel and use your toes to scrunch the towel toward you. This strengthens the muscles in your foot and can help alleviate pain.


2. Toe Curls: Similar to towel scrunches, but without the towel. Sit in a chair and place a small object, like a marble or a pen, on the ground in front of you. Using just your toes, pick up the object and hold for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat several times with each foot.


3. Intrinsic Foot Muscle Strengthening: Stand barefoot and lift your arches while keeping your toes flat on the ground. Hold for a few seconds, then release. You can also try picking up small objects like marbles or pencils with your toes to strengthen those intrinsic muscles.


4. Ankle Mobility Exercises: Improving ankle mobility can reduce stress on the plantar fascia.

Try ankle circles, ankle dorsiflexion stretches, and calf raises to improve range of motion.

Remember, consistency is key with these exercises. Aim to do them daily, and don't push through pain – it's okay to feel a stretch, but sharp or intense pain means you should stop.




And of course, if you're unsure about any of these exercises or if they're right for you, it's always a good idea to check in with a physiotherapist or healthcare professional. We can tailor a program specifically to your needs and ensure you're on the right track to recovery.


And hey, remember, Rome wasn't built in a day – it might take some time and patience to kick that Plantar Fasciopathy to the curb. But with the help of a good physiotherapist, you'll be back on your feet in no time.


Our Barnet, Cockfosters & Enfield Physio's have tons of experience in dealing with all types of foot and ankle pain. Have confidence that our specialist Physiotherapists will closely assess, diagnose & treat you in the correct & evidence-based way for all injuries. You can book an appointment here.



Blog By: Emre Oz (Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist at Crouch Physio).




References:


1. Rompe, J.D., 2009. Plantar Fasciopathy. Sports medicine and arthroscopy review, 17(2), pp.100-104.


2. Lareau CR, Sawyer GA, Wang JH, DiGiovanni BF. Plantar and medial heel pain: diagnosis and management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2014;22(6):372-380.


3. Lewis, R.D., Wright, P. and McCarthy, L.H., 2015. Orthotics compared to conventional therapy and other non-surgical treatments for plantar fasciitis. The Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, 108(12), p.596.


4. Hyland MR, Webber-Gaffney A, Cohen L, Lichtman PT. Randomized controlled trial of calcaneal taping, sham taping, and plantar fascia stretching for the short-term management of plantar heel pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2006;36(6):364-371.

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