Plantar Heel Pain

Do you suffer from plantar heel pain (PHP)?

Do you suffer from plantar heel pain (PHP)?

 

Do you suffer from plantar heel pain (PHP)? AKA plantar fasciitis

In this blog I hope to educate you on PHP and give you some tips on how to manage this injury.

 

PHP is most common amongst long distance runners and endurance athletes such as ironman athletes, and accounts for 10-15% of foot related injuries. Although the research has been conducted on these athletes, my experience also tells me there is a population of weight lifters that suffer as well. These weight lifters could be that alone or using weight lifting as a training component for their chosen sport e.g. sprinters, cross-fitters.

As well as changes in load in runners due to increase mileage, athletes such as cross-fitters, potentially those who train in HIIT or F45 have continuous changes in load due to the nature of combining weight lifting, plyometric, gymnastics, cardio and jumping potentially in one workout.

The function of the PF is to assist the foot in propulsive gait, store elastic energy and act as a shock absorber. If these functions fail due to overload to the PF structure from such things as: changing in training load, change in foot wear, reduced range of motion at the ankle, changes in the kinetic chain; this may lead to injury and pathology to the tissue.

In my experience one of the biggest contributors to PHP is either overload to the tissue and/or due to reduction in strength from gluteal muscles, therefore reducing the kinetic chain balance at the pelvis and increasing load at the foot.

 

Common symptoms may include some or all of the following:

  • Palpable pain PF with thickening
  • Trigger points and tight muscle bands in the calf muscle
  • Reduced ankle ROM
  • Pain on calf rise
  • Pain on functional tasks such as walking, running, hopping
  • Pain on weight bearing after rising in the morning

 

Management:

A physiotherapist will guide and direct management of PHP for each athlete and their biomechanics. Every individual is different and will have varying factors contributing to their PHP.

Factors to address include:

  • Footwear
  • Assessment of the kinetic chain and treatment where appropriate
  • Training load
  • Manual therapy +/- soft tissue and dry needling
  • Strength & rehabilitation progressively guided by a physiotherapist
  • Temporary strapping
  • Progressive and careful loading return to sport

The most recent evidence based research outlines the need for the above treatment techniques to be included in the management programme guided by a physiotherapist and to allow for an intervention of 6 weeks for symptoms to resolve. A correct diagnosis must be given first to ensure adequate intervention.

 

If you have any further questions regarding this injury or symptoms please don’t hesitate to contact me at kylie@syssm.com.au or phone the clinic to make a booking 98262122.

 


KYLIE TAKARANGI
SYSSM Physiotherapist

Kylie is a New Zealand trained physiotherapist, with extensive experience in sports injuries, orthopaedic rehabilitation, manual therapy and dry needling. She also holds an addition Postgraduate Certificate and Masters in Physiotherapy.

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