Plantar Fasciitis | treatment | 3 steps to a successful recovery
Continuing with our running injuries blogs we’re concentrating next on the best treatment for Plantar Fasciitis. As reported in our first instalment Plantar Fasciitis | What Is It? we know that 80% of all heel pain is due to Plantar Fasciitis. The diagnosis is the easy part – the key question then is how do we treat it?
Plantar Fasciitis treatment should follow 3 steps in order for a successful recovery as part of a gold standard, evidence based approach. Stretching alone will not cure Plantar Fasciitis. Due to it’s chronic nature, symptoms will usually last for months and cause a ‘dysrepair’ of the natural healing process. In order to reverse these changes we advice following these 3 steps over a period of 12 weeks.
STEP 1 : Reset
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy is a relatively new treatment with scientifically proven, excellent results for chronic tendon and fascia conditions, such as, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, Achilles tendinopathy and frozen shoulder. Shockwave Therapy owes its heritage to lithotripsy where focused shockwaves were used to break apart gall stones so they could be passed. A number of years later, a bit of lateral thinking and a strong evidence base now presents SWT as the ‘gold standard’ treatment and this is certainly the case for Plantar Fasciitis treatment.
As discussed in our previous blog, a better term would be Plantar Fasciopathy which is characterised by a stalled healing process and dysrepair (more commonly called scar tissue). SWT aims to agitate or shock the injury back to its acute phase of healing using acoustic energy – almost like pressing the reset button. Not only does SWT ‘reset’ the stalled healing process and expedite a return to activity, there is also a noticeable reduction in pain. It is then vital to introduce progressive load to the tissues to ensure an optimum recovery.
STEP 2: Strengthen
As we know the Plantar Fascia plays a crucial role in supporting the arch of the foot during walking and running. Taking up to 14% of the total load of the body it needs to be strong. As a result part of the Plantar Fasciitis treatment will focus on regaining localised strength of the foot and calf to improve your bodies ability to absorb the forces of daily living, especially running.
A recent study published in 2014 showed that strengthening the deep calf and arch of the foot provided significant improvements to Plantar Fasciitis symptoms over a period of 3 months. This included a simple, progressive, loading programme performed twice a day, every other day. Check out the video below demonstrating exactly that:
This exercise will be started alongside the Shockwave Therapy treatment. It is advised that our Physiotherapist runs you through the technique with this rehab programme in order to gauge the appropriate level.
STEP 3: RUN LAB
Plantar Fasciitis treatment wouldn’t be complete without getting you back running, injury-free. In order to truly cure a problem we need to solve why that problem occurred in the first place. Get to the root cause of WHY? This is the final step to help curing your Plantar Fasciitis.
Research has proven that technique faults such as a slow step rate or poor hip control can contribute to overloading of the lower limb thus increasing the risk for common running injuries such as Plantar Fasciitis. As a result, it is key that part of the Plantar Fasciitis treatment is to regain strength and control further up the chain i.e. hip and core stability.
As highlighted in our previous RUNNERS HUB blogs there are 3 key elements that make up an injury-free, skilled runner. These aren’t complicated or too technical. Just simple golden points for runners to follow. Our RUN LAB package is aimed at all levels of runners and helps to guide you back throughout your Plantar Fasciitis treatment.
Check out our patient’s experience of RUN LAB here
Next weeks blog looks at the TOP 5 EXERCISES FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS
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