If you didn’t already know, Podiatrists are specialists of the foot, ankle and lower limb. We study all things foot related at University for 3 years and are the lower limb experts. We treat people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis daily in our foot clinics because it is an incredibly common condition, affecting up to 10% of the population! We see it often, we treat it effectively and that’s why so many people come to us first. There’s no long waiting list, you do not need a GP referral and the earlier the condition is treated the better the outcome. So why would you go to any other health care professional? If you have a sore tooth, you see a dentist…if you have a sore foot, you see a Podiatrist.
What should you do?
Firstly, if you have any pain in your foot you need to book an appointment to obtain a correct diagnosis to allow an effective treatment plan. We have to work out why this has occured to prevent relapses and speed up recovery. It might not be Plantar Fasciitis!
It is very rarely a bony protrusion called a Plantar Calcaneal Heel Spur which is causing the issue. A Heel Spur is a bony outgrowth and CANNOT be often palpated clinically but seen radiologically. It used to be thought that a Heel Spur was the cause of pain from the Plantar Fascia pulling on the the bone, but recent studies suggest this is unlikely as it is seldom found in the Plantar Fascia. Interestingly, Heel Spurs have been seen between 11-27% of the PAIN FREE population, suggesting they are not always associated with symptoms or considered ‘abnormal’ but part of the ageing process!
So how can a Podiatrist help with my Heel Pain?
There are lots of reasons for Plantar Heel Pain so there are lots of ways to treat it.
It could be due to; High Body Mass Index (BMI), limited ankle, calf and hamstring flexibility, street running, foot posture, sedentary lifestyle, prolonged standing on hard surfaces, flat shoes or leg length discrepancy. So once we find out the cause we can start to treat. We can provide advice on shoes and the most effective pain relief, gentle stretches and massage, taping for short term relief to aid healing and orthoses to provide a reduction in pain and improve function. Did you know that if your job entails standing for long periods by simply rotating your shoes whilst at work you can significantly reduce your risk of Plantar Fasciitis?
Orthoses, what can they do?
If we think about it logically, weakened structures in our foot need to be allowed to function within their ‘elastic’ range and not overstretched. Orthoses, can support the medical arch and also cushion the heel, providing pain relief. They have been found to be useful in treating Plantar Fasciitis because they redistribute rearfoot pressure, compared to heel pads which can actually increase rearfoot pain unless modified. So it’s important to consider what type of device is suitable for your foot size, shape and condition. There are lots of orthotics which claim to ‘cure all’ and alot of our patients waste large sums of money on the wrong type. Orthoses are designed NOT to cause injury. Let us work out your prescription for you. It doesn’t have to be an expensive treatment, our orthotics start from £30.00 a pair!
If you would like to book a consultation and assessment of your foot pain with one of our Podiatrists call 01298 937921 for Buxton and Chapel-en-le-Frith foot clinics or 01629 259672 for Bakewell.