Tag Archives: Maidenhead Podiatry

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin layer of tough connective tissue supporting the arch of the foot.

Repeated microscopic tears of the plantar fascia cause pain, usually in the heel and is one of the most common foot disorders encountered by Podiatrists.

It has been estimated that over two million people each year receive treatment for heel pain, which affects as much as 10% of the population during the course of a lifetime and is present in both the athletic and non-athletic.

Heel pain can affect anyone from the age of 8 to 80, but generally affects those over 40 years of age and does not seem to be gender specific and affects both feet in up to a third of cases.

How do I know if I have plantar fasciitis?

To be sure, visit a Podiatrist and discuss your symptoms for an accurate assessment.

However the following is a guide to the classic symptoms of plantar fasciitis and gives an idea what your Podiatrist will ask about.

A careful description of the pain is essential including time of day when pain occurs, current footwear, activity level both at work and at leisure, and any history of injury.

The most commonly stated complaints are pain on getting out of bed, after a long period of sitting, and at the beginning of weight-bearing activities such as walking.

The most severe pain in the morning occurs within the first 50–100 steps and then decreases for ordinary walking.

As the day progresses, pain gradually increases continuing even after physical activities have ceased.

Pain frequently originates in the underside of the heel, sometimes slightly towards the inner side, but may not have a clear focus.

Frequently there is no clear ‘event’ which started the pain.

The pain may be worse when the area is cold or contracted.

The nature of the pain has been described as burning, aching, and occasionally stabbing.

Runners may experience pain at the beginning of the run going off during the activity, and increasing afterwards at rest.

What causes it?

There are a number of possible causes for plantar fasciitis and they often work in combination.

Tightness of the foot and calf, improper athletic training, stress on the arch, weakness of the foot, flat foot, and inappropriate shoes that don’t fit and don’t offer good support are potential causes.

Certain play or work actions or overuse (running too fast, too far, too soon) may hurt the plantar fascia.

People with low arches, flat feet or high arches are at increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

What do I need to do to treat it?

Symptoms usually resolve more quickly when the time between the onset of symptoms and the beginning of treatment is as short as possible.

If treatment is delayed, the complete resolution of symptoms may take 6-18 months or more.

Typically treatment begins by correcting training errors, rest, use of ice after activity, shoe evaluation, a stretching (see bottom of page) and strengthening program and orthotics.

Shockwave can bring rapid relief when recovery is delayed.

(Radial) Shockwave is a tried, tested and well-researched treatment used in physiotherapy since the 1990s.

It has gained popularity in podiatry due to its effectiveness.

Of all these stretching and increase in flexibility of the calf or calves is the most important and is key to a successful resolution.

What is an orthotic?

An orthotic is a specialised insole designed to make the foot operate in a neutral position.

For people suffering with plantar fasciitis the insole will correct the pronation which is commonly associated with the condition.

Pronation is the rolling inwards of the foot during walking or standing which can exacerbate the condition.

Depending on the degree of correction required, there are a number of options available, from off the peg – one size fits all, heat mould-able to cast orthotics.

Your Podiatrist will discuss with you the best option to suite your condition.

How long will it take for it to go?

There is no set time for this condition to be corrected. Some people make surprisingly quick recoveries, while others notice a slower but steady progress.

Shockwave can bring rapid relief when recovery is delayed.

As a guide, between one and three months, but if you are unsure whether your progress is sufficient, speak to your Podiatrist to see if your treatment plan can be adjusted to help.

Which stretches will help?

Stretching is an essential part of the recovery process. Here are some ideas –

Stair stretch –
  • Stand on the bottom riser of your stairs and hold on to the banister for balance.
  • Move your foot backwards until only the balls of your feet are on the stair & your heels are in fresh air.
  • Slowly lower your heels until you feel the stretch in your calves.
  • Hold this position for a slow count of six.
  • Do not bounce at the bottom of the stretch as this will not improve flexibility.
  • Return to your original position and repeat ten times.
  • For best results this exercise is best performed slowly and carefully.
Standing stretch
  • Stand an arms-length from a wall.
  • Place your right foot half a metre behind your left.
  • Slowly and gently bend your left leg forward.
  • Keep your right knee straight and your right heel on the ground.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and release. Repeat three times.
  • Reverse the position of your legs, and repeat.
  • Do not bounce at the top of the stretch as this will not improve flexibility
Seated Towel Stretch
  • Fold a towel lengthwise to make an exercise strap.
  • Sitting, place the folded towel across and around the arch of each foot in turn.
  • Grab the ends of the towel with both hands.
  • Gently pull the tops of your feet toward you at the same time trying to straighten your leg.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat three times.

If you would like to make an appointment for a bio-mechanical assessment call one of our receptions on 01628 773588 or if you would like more information or further explanation please call to speak to one of our Podiatrists.

Aging Feet?

Aging feet? Do your feet feel like they are getting older before the rest of you? The Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry explain what might be happening.

Older feet naturally develop more problems. The skin tends to thin and lose it’s elasticity. Healing can take longer and wear and tear to the joints over the years may have caused some degree of arthritis.

However painful and uncomfortable feet aren’t a natural part of growing old or something you have to “put-up with”. A lot can be done to improve comfort, relieve pain and maintain mobility.

It’s not too late to start a new routine.

Follow a daily foot care routine and keep on the move. Keeping toenails trimmed and filed will help keep you mobile but you may need help with this from your chiropodist/podiatrist or a friend.

Keep your feet as warm as possible, but not by warming them in front of the fire! Warm stockings or socks can help.

Avoid anything too tight which can restrict your circulation or cramp your toes. Wearing fleece-lined boots or shoes or even an extra pair of socks will also keep you warm but do make sure your shoes aren’t tight as a result. Bed socks are also a good idea.

The older you get, the more you need a shoe which holds your foot firmly in place to give adequate support. Throw out sloppy old favourites as they may make you unstable when you walk.

Look for shoes with uppers made of soft leather or a stretchy man-made fabric which is also breathable. Avoid plastic ‘easy clean’ uppers which don’t allow the foot to breathe and won’t stretch to accommodate your own foot shape.

Many shoes have cushioning or shock absorbing soles to give you extra comfort while walking. When buying shoes, ensure that you can put them on and take them off easily. Check that the heel is held firmly in place – you’ll find that a lace-up or velcro fastening shoe will give more support and comfort than a slip-on.

Your shoes should be roomy enough, particularly, if you intend to wear them everyday. If you suffer with swollen feet, it’s a good idea to put your shoes on as soon as you wake up, before your feet have had a chance to swell.

Exercise can help to keep feet healthy – it tones up muscles, helps to strengthen arches and stimulates blood circulation.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment, call us on 01628 773588 or email info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

How do you choose the right footwear?

At Maidenhead Podiatry, our Podiatrists are often asked, ‘how do you choose the right footwear?’

Keeping your feet healthy is only part of preventing foot problems, is also essential that you wear well-fitting shoes.

So it doesn’t matter if walking, dancing or pounding the pavements is your choice of exercise in 2010, The Society of Chiropodist and Podiatrists offers the following advice to help keep feet fighting fit.

Feet have a rough time of it; we demand a lot of them, they carry us the equivalent of five times around the earth in an average lifetime, and yet we give them less attention than they deserve and we rarely wear the best shoes for our feet.

In an average lifetime, we walk about 100,000 miles, which is tough on our feet. Yet our bodies were designed for moving – not standing still, so walking is good exercise for us and our feet.

Walking helps the muscles and ligaments in our feet to work more efficiently, helping keep them supple and flexible. So whether your job requires you to sit for extended periods, or work from home, try to get up and walk briskly for at least 30 mins every day.

Feet are adaptable and can withstand a lot of pressure before they complain. If you walk a lot it’s important to wear the correct footwear which won’t damage your feet.

Registered Chiropodists/podiatrists will be able to give advice on suitable footwear. They will be able to suggest suitable ‘warm up’ exercises to ease you gently into your chosen sport, and help prevent injury.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment, call 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.