Osteopathy and Plantarfasciitis – How can treatment help?

Plantarfasciitis is an extremely painful condition where the fascia (strong protective layer that wraps around muscles) on the sole of the foot becomes irritated or torn.

Plantarfasciitis definition:

plantar = sole


fascia = connective tissue


itis = inflammation


This irritation of the sole of the foot can happen for a number of mechanical reasons. Wearing ballet flats and spending a long time walking or standing in these shoes can be a major contributor to plantarfasciitis, but what if you only wear comfortable, supportive shoes, do all the right things and still get the problem?

If you have a dropped, flat or high arch of the foot this can predispose you to the condition. You may have always had this arch shape with no previous problems, but a sudden increase in the amount of time you spend standing, weight gain, change in exercise regimen or even just ageing in itself can cause shortening of the plantarfascia and a tendency toward inflammation. An osteopath can assess your feet and your gait, manipulate your feet and treat what they find, and decide if it is necessary to send you on for assessment by a podiatrist for orthopaedic inserts for your shoes.

If your deep hip flexors are tight, this can cause a chain reaction down to your feet and lead to plantarfascia tears or inflammation. This is because when your hips don’t move properly as you walk, the sole of your foot takes a lot more strain than they should. An osteopath will assess your hips as well to check for this, and can loosen off tight muscles, give you stretches to do and offer advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing in the gym.

If you have a tear of the plantarfascia and decide that wearing a restrictive boot is for you (as prescribed by a podiatrist or specialist), then an osteopath can help treat the compensations your body will have to make as a result. As the boot causes that leg to be slightly heavier, you will be forced to walk differently, with a slight limp and drag created. This in turn can lead to tight muscles of the hip, which gradually builds up and still leaves you at risk of re-tearing the fascia in the long term.

The signs that you have plantarfasciitis which should not be ignored:

Pain in the heel or the arch of the foot,

…which is worse in the morning or after resting for long periods

Acute pain when pushing off from the ground with that foot while walking

Burning pain that gradually becomes an ache in the heel or arch.

The longer these problems are left to build up, the longer your recovery may be!


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This post was written by Dr Anna Brown.

You can find out more about Anna here.

If you would like to book an appointment you can call the clinic on 9908 2844 or book online here.