Plantar Faciopathy
Bondi Junction Physio Jason Wright Explains

By Jason Wright October 21, 2019

Plantar Faciopathy
Bondi Junction Physio Jason Wright Explains

Posted in by Jason Wright on October 21, 2019.

Plantar faciopathy can be both debilitating and frustrating. With every morning feeling like you are walking on broken glass, it soon becomes a cause for concern. 

Research shows that plantar faciopathy accounts for as much as 8% of all running related injuries.

The most important advise we give patients is to monitor their levels of load. It is sudden changes or spikes in load where the plantar fascia will become reactive. Reducing the aggravating activity to reduce load is very important for recovery. The key then is to progressively load the plantar fascia so it can adapt to the loads placed upon it. 

What we are starting to realise is that plantar fasciopathy has a number of similarities to tendinopathy, which we know responds well to high load strength training. 

Load Strengthening Training to Treat Plantar Fasciopathy

Rathleff et al. (2014) found significantly better outcomes in foot function after 3 months of high load strength training compared to plantar specific stretching. The high load strength training involved slow concentric and eccentric single leg calf raises with a towel that ensured that the toes were maximally dorsal flexed at the top of range to load the plantar fascia.

Plantar Faciopathy Bondi Junction Physiotherapy Eastern Suburbs Sydney

The Fasciitis Fighter pictured above is a great tool to assist this strength program allowing the plantar fascia to be sufficiently loaded during the exercise. Patients are instructed to perform the exercise slowly (3 seconds up and 3 seconds down with a 2 second pause at the top) every 2nd day, slowly increasing the load and volume. Aiming for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. 

One explanation of how this helps is that the high load strength training can stimulate increased collagen synthesis which help normalise tendon structure, increase load tolerability of the plantar fascia and thereby improve patient outcomes.

Other Helpful Tips to Combat the Painful Heel Condition

Here are some helpful tips for this common heel condition:⁣⁣

1. It is important that you complete the exercises that your physiotherapist instructed you in. If you complete your exercises it is more likely that your pain will decrease.⁣⁣

2. You should not begin to run before your heel has been pain-free for 4 weeks and you can walk 10km without pain during the walk or the morning after.⁣⁣⁣⁣

3. If you need to wear dress shoes, gel inserts can help with discomfort.⁣⁣⁣⁣

4. It is important that you continue your exercises once the pain has gone to help decrease the risk of the heel pain returning.⁣⁣

5. It is acceptable to feel a small amount of pain whilst completing your exercises, but it should not increase sharply during the exercise or within 24 hours of completing your exercises. ⁣

More Information About Plantar Faciopathy: Bondi Junction Physio Jason Wright Explains

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