Plantar Fasciitis Brace
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Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common forms of foot pain, accounting for 11-15% of all foot complaints that require medical intervention. The Plantar Fascia attaches the heel bone to the forefoot and plays an integral role in the structural stability of the foot’s medial arch. If the Plantar Fascia becomes overloaded, it can become inflamed and painful, leading to Plantar Fasciitis. In cases where individuals continue to overload Plantar Fasciitis, it can become so bad that you can’t walk on it. We have written on the best treatment for Plantar Fasciitis which we have linked below, but what are the signs that Plantar Fasciitis is Healing?
The Cycle of Pain and Activity
It is common for those with Plantar Fasciitis to experience a pattern of peaks and troughs. On days when pain levels are relatively low or manageable, patients often feel motivated to increase their activity level, thinking they are on the mend.
Unfortunately, this increase in activity can lead to a subsequent spike in pain, sometimes even worse than before.
Consistency as a Positive Sign
When fluctuations in pain levels begin stabilising, this is a good sign that your Plantar Fasciitis is beginning to heal.
When patients experience consistency in their plain levels, it often suggests that the plantar fascia is becoming more resilient and can handle more strain without inflaming.
Why Consistency Matters
Consistent pain levels are beneficial for the rehabilitation of Plantar Fasciitis as it reduces inflammation levels in the tissue allowing for strengthening exercises to be performed.
Plantar Fasciitis rehabilitation exercises aim to stimulate the tissue. If these exercises are performed on irritated tissue, they can worsen Plantar Fasciitis symptoms, whereas exercises with low-level pain are the key to healing Plantar Fasciitis.
Nature of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis (Plantar Heel Pain) is a condition predominantly influenced by physical activity levels. Prolonged standing, excessive walking, or intense running can stress the Plantar Fascia and lead to increased pain, especially if the fascia hasn’t been conditioned or hasn’t had adequate rest. The symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis are most commonly felt after activity of the following morning.
Significance of Morning Pain
One of the key symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis is heel pain with the first steps you take in the morning. As individuals rest overnight, the plantar fascia tends to contract and stiffen. When they take their first steps upon waking, sudden stretching can cause sharp pain. This is especially true if the fascia was significantly strained or inflamed the previous day.
Given this, morning pain is a telling barometer of the fascia’s condition, unlike pain felt during the day, which fluctuates depending on activity, footwear and walking surface. Sleep overnight rules out all of these variables and gives a true indicator of overload the day before.
It’s a promising sign when patients note a consistent decrease in their morning pain. The reduced pain suggests that the Plantar Fascia is tolerating the load placed through it in the previous 24 hours. The reduction in morning pain allows the tissue time to heal.
As Plantar Fasciitis improves, it does not always become localised to the heel bone. In some cases, the pathology is within the midportion of the Plantar Fascia, which is located around the midfoot. We expect to see general foot discomfort improving that results from compensation patterns when Plantar Fasciitis is at its worst.
Usually, in severe cases of Plantar Fasciitis, patients alter where they put pressure through their heel and foot, resulting in increased pain in the Heels Fat Pad and the Peroneal Tendons. If all of these symptoms improve and symptoms become more specific to the Plantar Fascia, it is a sign your Plantar Fasciitis is healing.
When walking and running, the Plantar Fascia plays a vital role in the push-off phase of the gait cycle. However, when someone develops Plantar Fasciitis, they avoid the push-off phase of the gait cycle as it places a stretch on the Plantar Fascia; this can be painful.
The consequence of a reduced push-off phase is the shortening of the calf muscle. Patients often report having really tight calf muscles when they have Plantar Fasciitis. Still, if this improves along with your ankle range of motion, it is a sign your Plantar Fasciitis is improving.
Multiple stretches for Plantar Fasciitis can be performed daily for pain relief.
This is not medical advice, and we recommend consulting with a medical professional such as James McCormack before trying these exercises or treatment recommendations. James offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments weekly.