Plantar Fasciitis | My Health Team

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

What is it?
The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that spans the heel to the toes. Its role is to support the arch of the foot and assist with shock absorption. Plantar fasciitis is an overuse disorder that results in pain underneath the arch of the foot and more often underneath the heel. Research has identified several risk factors including an increase training loads or unusual activities, obesity, poor foot mechanics and posture and altered muscle length in the muscles of the hip, thigh and calf.

Signs and symptoms
• Pain underneath the heel
• Pain that is worse in the morning or following a period of rest that eases with activity
• Restricted range of motion in the calf muscles
• Poor foot posture, such as flattening of the arch or pronation of the foot

Diagnosis and examination
Plantar fasciitis can usually be diagnosed clinically from patient history and signs and symptoms. Range of motion, foot posture, strength and tenderness to palpation are all measured.
Ultrasound is the gold standard for diagnosis, and x-ray is normally not necessary. X-rays often show heel spurs, however these are not causally related to pain.

Management strategies
Plantar fasciitis is best managed using a multimodal approach. Initially, relative rest, stretching of the calf muscles and plantar fascia and cryotherapy will assist in managing symptoms. Manual therapy and dry needling techniques are useful in releasing muscle tension and assisting with pain management. Long term strategies include correcting foot posture, biomechanical abnormalities and strengthening the muscles of the lower limb. A physiotherapist or podiatrist is ideally suited to assess postural or biomechanical issues in the lower limb and prescribed a graded exercise program.

Nicolas Mascali


Brukner, P. Khan, K (2012). Clinical Sports Medicine (4th ed.). North Ryde, NSW. McGraw Hill.



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