Often referred to as Plantar Fasciitis, this diagnosis is the most common cause of heel pain and usually occurs gradually. This condition effects 1 in 10 of us in our lifetime and can be more common in people with a high BMI, runners and those who often wear unsupported footwear.
The Plantar Fascia is a tough, thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. When the tissue becomes irritated or red and swollen (inflamed), it is then referred to as Plantar Fasciitis. The pain often varies in severity with it typically being worse first thing in a morning when the foot feels stiffer and then improving when the foot and plantar fascia stretch.
Plantar Fasciitis is a common and straightforward diagnosis made by a Podiatrist or specialist without any further tests usually required. If there is any doubt then foot scans and x-rays can be performed to exclude other causes of the heel pain.
If Plantar Fasciitis is diagnosed in its acute (early) stage then the combination of simple anti – inflammatory drugs and painkillers along side specific stretches to the plantar fascia and where necessary a pair of insoles to support the foot would often be the appropriate treatment.
A supportive orthotic can be a generic device (as above), which is sized appropriately to fit into the patient’s footwear or can be made from a cast of the individuals foot and therefore precisely bespoke to the patient’s foot type (as below). The support from the orthotic helps reduce the strain put on the Plantar Fascia and therefore reduce the inflammation.
If the symptoms do not respond to these conservative interventions it can become longstanding and therefore categorized as a chronic condition. At this stage we then refer to alternative treatment measures and with Plantar Fasciitis, the most successful outcome we are experiencing is Shockwave Therapy. This treatment is fast, effective but more importantly non invasive, which in turn induces a healing response and therefore is more likely to result in the condition being cured in comparison to more invasive alternatives such as steroid injections.
Our most recent success story on the cure of an on going case of Plantar Fasciitis was with a 55 year old Female patient who had been suffering with a chronic case of Heel Pain for 6 months. She had tried numerous treatment strategies prior to a course of Shockwave Therapy and within 5 sessions over 12 weeks, symptoms had been completely resolved. Here is what she had to say –
‘ I wasn’t completely convinced the treatment would work when it was suggested to me originally,but after 5 months of no improvement with my plantar fasciitis I thought, what have I got to lose? I’d describe the treatment as uncomfortable at best, but it doesn’t last long and after several sessions I did start to notice a slight improvement which spurred me on to continue with the sessions. Now several months later I am at long last able to walk completely pain free. I’d recommend Matthew’s services as he’s knowledgeable, approachable and understanding and the treatment is worth the slight discomfort for the long term gains.’