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Foot Ligament Injury

Plantar Fascia Tear

Minute Read


Posted 5 months ago


Last updated: 04/12/2022


by James McCormack

What is a Plantar Fascia Tear?

The Plantar Fascia is a group of thick connective tissue that sits on the underside of the foot connecting the heel bone to the ball of the foot. The Plantar Fascia is a passive tissue that cannot contract like a muscle, but it plays a vital role in the structural integrity of the foot and provides stability to the arch of the foot. When you stand, the foot spreads and stretches on the Plantar Fascia, while walking or running places a more significant strain on the tissue. The repetitive impact from running or having a flat foot can place excessive stress on the Plantar Fascia and cause a Plantar Fascia Tear.

Picutre diagram of Plantar Fascia Tear

Plantar Fascia Tear Symptoms

Plantar Fasciitis is the most well-known condition affecting the Plantar Fascia. It is essential to differentiate the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis and a Plantar Fascia tear as their treatment differs considerably. The symptoms of a Plantar Fascia tear include a sharp immediate onset of pain when standing, walking or running. There can be an immediate onset of swelling and a bruise underfoot, while Plantar Fasciitis is usually slow and progressive in development with little to no swelling or bruising.

The location of the pain varies depending on where the tear is located along the Plantar Fascia, but it is often very acute and localised to the tear. The tear is often incredibly tender to touch, and weight bearing may not be possible.

Plantar Fascia Tear Causes

Steroid injections are the primary causes of a Plantar Fascia rupture. These are prescribed for those with chronic Plantar Fasciitis, and there is little evidence to indicate the causes of the spontaneous onset of a Plantar Fascia rupture.

Plantar Fascia tears can occur from repetitive impact activity such as running and jumping and are more common in the athletic population.

Plantar Fascia Tear Diagnosis

A Physical Therapist or a Sports Medicine Doctor can clinically diagnose a Plantar Fascia tear based on a patient’s symptoms and a Physical examination due to the stark differences in the onset of Plantar Fasciitis. However, if a clinician would like to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other conditions, they are likely to refer a patient for an Ultrasound or an MRI.

An ultrasound is a cost-effective method of diagnosing a Plantar Fascia tear, while an MRI can give a more detailed image.

Plantar Fascia Tear Treatment

Initially, a Plantar Fascia tear is placed in a walker boot for 2-4 weeks to reduce inflammation and allow the Plantar Fascia time to heal before commencing Physical Therapy.

Physical Therapy consists of a Physical Assessment to identify muscular weaknesses, tight tissues and balance deficits. These should then be addressed with a thorough rehabilitation protocol.

A gait analysis can identify biomechanical factors that may lead to the Plantar Fascia being overloaded when walking or running, followed by advice on the correct footwear and the necessity for insoles.

Conservative treatment is highly successful, and there is rarely any form of surgery required for a Plantar Fascia Tear.


Can you walk on a torn Plantar Fascia?

A torn plantar facia should be placed in a walker boot, and you can continue walking when wearing the boot. Once the boot is removed, a gradual increase in walking volume is recommended.

How long does a torn Plantar Fascia take to heal?

A torn Plantar Fascia takes 4-9 weeks to heal, with a study of 18 athletes with a torn Plantar Fascia returning to running after 9 weeks.

Does a Plantar Fascia tear require surgery?

No a Plantar Fascia Tear does not require surgery; it heals exceptionally well in a walker boot.

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice and we recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack before trying any of these exercises. James offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.


Related Articles:

Heel Pain Running
Plantar Fasciitis: Symptoms & Treatment
Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Why is my Plantar Fasciitis is so bad I can’t walk?

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