What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue at the bottom of your foot, becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes heel pain and arch pain. The condition is common among individuals who are on their feet a lot, like nurses, teachers, construction workers, and athletes. Without treatment, Plantar Fasciitis can worsen and become chronic. It is recommended to consult a healthcare professional if experiencing heel or foot pain.

Are you experiencing pain in or near your heel? Does this pain get worse just after you get out of bed or after prolonged standing or walking? If so, you could have plantar fasciitis.

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But don’t despair! No matter how far along or how painful your plantar fasciitis is, Align Health Collective’s team of experienced podiatrists can provide you with personalised, efficacious plans for plantar fasciitis treatment in Brisbane, Queensland.

In this article, we’ll cover the causes, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment plans for plantar fasciitis, as well as the expertise and tailor-made services you can expect from our podiatry clinic in Brisbane.

What is The Cause of Plantar Fasciitis?

The underlying cause of Plantar Fasciitis is stress or strain on the plantar fascia. This stress can lead to inflammation and pain in the heel and arch of the foot. Factors contributing to the condition include overuse, high-impact activities, poor footwear, and abnormal foot mechanics. Medical conditions like arthritis and diabetes, as well as being overweight, having flat feet, or tight calf muscles, can also increase the risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis.

Let’s look at a few of these aspects in more detail.

  • Overuse: As with other repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), too much stress and strain can result in an inflamed plantar fascia. Over-participating in activities that include a lot of standing, walking, running, dancing, or jumping can increase the risk and can ultimately be the cause of plantar fasciitis.
  • Weight: Excess weight will put extra strain on the plantar fascia, so being overweight or obese will increase the inflammation and pain related to plantar fasciitis. “Plantar Heel Pain“, a study conducted in 2014, found a strong correlation between plantar fasciitis and obesity, noting that 70% of patients who presented with plantar fasciitis were obese.
  • Age: Middle-aged individuals have a higher tendency to develop plantar fasciitis.
  • Foot mechanics: People with flat feet and high arches can be more prone to plantar fasciitis as these foot mechanics can put extra stress on the plantar fascia.
  • High-impact activities: Sports, exercise, and jobs that involve prolonged standing, running, or jumping can increase the chance of an inflamed plantar fascia.
  • Footwear: Wearing cheap shoes with inadequate support or cushioning, flip-flops, stilettos, high heels, and worn, over-used shoes are likely to increase the development of plantar fasciitis. Poor footwear can also affect the other ligaments and tendons in the foot.

What are The Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

The symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis include heel pain, arch pain, increased pain after activity, and relief of pain upon resting. Patients may experience a sharp, stabbing, or burning sensation in the heel, or a dull discomfort similar to a bruise. Symptoms can vary throughout the day, may improve with activity, but often return later. Tightness or tension in the calf muscles is also associated with Plantar Fasciitis.

The following list includes some of the most commonly reported plantar fasciitis symptoms, each of which can make going about your day difficult and painful.

  • Heel pain: One of the primary symptoms of plantar fasciitis is pain in or near the heel. Many patients indicate that this pain is usually much worse just after they wake up or after standing or walking for a long period of time.
  • Arch pain: One of the plantar fascia’s major functions is to support the arch of the foot, so many patients affected by plantar fasciitis will experience pain in this area.
  • Activity causes pain: Another common symptom amongst plantar fasciitis patients is that activity causes more pain. Individuals report that their pain increases after standing, walking, running, or dancing for a long time.
  • Rest alleviates pain: As you can imagine, resting the foot relieves some of the pain. But with plantar fasciitis, the pain usually comes back when you start being active again.
  • Stiffness and tightness: Stiff, tight, or tense sensations in the bottom of the foot are all common symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis.

If you have any of the symptoms above, you should book a consultation with a qualified health professional. The longer you wait, the longer it will take for you to fully recover.

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Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options

There are various options available for treating plantar fasciitis as well as alleviating related symptoms and pain. Conservative treatments, such as rest, ice, compression, and/or wearing a night splint, can provide pain relief and improved foot functioning for many patients.

Here are some of the most effective plantar fasciitis treatment options:

Stretching and Exercise for Plantar Fasciitis

Stretching and exercise can help improve flexibility, strength, and mobility in the foot and reduce stress on the plantar fascia. Some effective stretching and exercise techniques for plantar fasciitis include:

  • Toe stretches: Sit with your legs straight out in front of you and use a towel to pull your toes towards you. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat several times.
  • Calf stretches: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall and one foot behind the other. Lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat several times.
  • Plantar fascia stretches: Sit with your legs straight out in front of you and use a towel to pull your toes towards you. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then point your toes away from you and hold for another 15 to 30 seconds.

Orthotics Solutions for Plantar Fasciitis

Orthotics are shoe inserts that can help correct foot mechanics, provide arch support, and reduce stress and strain on the plantar fascia. Custom orthotics are particularly effective for the treatment of plantar fasciitis, as they are tailored to the individual’s specific foot shape and needs.

Medical Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

In severe cases of plantar fasciitis, medical treatments may be necessary to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Some effective medical treatments for plantar fasciitis include:

  • Cortisone injections: Cortisone injections can help reduce pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia.
  • Shockwave therapy: Shockwave therapy uses sound waves to stimulate healing and reduce pain in the plantar fascia.
  • Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged plantar fascia tissue and relieve pain.

Consultation and Diagnosis Process for Plantar Fasciitis

If you are experiencing symptoms of plantar fasciitis, it’s important to seek professional help for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan as soon as possible.

Physical Exam and Medical History

During your consultation, your podiatrist will begin by conducting a physical exam of your foot and ankle to check for tenderness, swelling, and range of motion. Your podiatrist will also check whether your pain could be due to a heel bone fracture, heel spur, damaged ligament, or injured Achilles tendon. They will also review your medical history to identify any underlying conditions or contributing factors that may be causing your symptoms.

Diagnostic Tests

After a thorough physical examination of your foot and detailed medical history review, your podiatrist may recommend diagnostic tests and scans to assess your foot in more detail. These can include X-rays, MRIs, or musculoskeletal ultrasounds, which will help identify the extent of the damage to your plantar fascia and rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.

Treatment Plan

Once a diagnosis is made, your podiatrist will work with you to develop a personalised treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms, your lifestyle, and the underlying cause of your condition. This may include a combination of stretching and exercise programs, custom orthotics, medical treatments such as cortisone injections or shockwave therapy, and lifestyle modifications to reduce stress on the plantar fascia.

Preventing Plantar Fasciitis from Recurring

Plantar fasciitis can flare up whenever the plantar fascia is put under too much stress. This can be caused by numerous changes in lifestyle and/or overall health, including increased physical activity, weight gain, and other medical conditions. However, there are a few things that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help prevent plantar fasciitis from recurring. Remember to always consult a qualified health professional.

Stretching and Exercise

You should continue the stretches and exercises noted above for treatment after your pain has subsided. Sticking to your podiatrist’s recommended stretching and exercise regimen can prevent plantar fasciitis from returning.

You can also try the following stretches and exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles that may be affected by plantar fasciitis. You can do each of these two to three times a day.

  • Foot doming: Keep your foot flat on the ground and move your toes back without curling them until you make a “dome” with your foot. You can try this while sitting and when you’re used to doming, you can try it while standing up. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each foot. Don’t do more than three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each foot.
  • Towel pick-ups: While sitting, put a towel on the floor in front of your foot. Keep your heel on the floor and pick up or lift the towel with your toes, then gently put the towel back on the floor. Repeat 10 times on each foot. Don’t do more than three sets of 10 repetitions on each foot.
  • Calf raises: Stand behind a chair and hold it for balance. Keep your legs straight and slowly move your weight onto your toes. Remember to keep you back straight as well. You should feel your calves stretching. Slowly lower your heels back onto the ground. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Feel free to rest in between repetitions. Don’t do more than three sets of 10 per session.
  • Step stretches: This is very similar to calf raises, but you’ll stand on a step. You can use stairs, yoga blocks, or anything of similar size that raises you off the ground and is sturdy enough to hold your weight when you stand on it. Make sure you have a chair or table next to you to hold for balance. If you’re on stairs, hold the railing. Keep your legs and back straight and slowly move your weight onto your toes. Then, slowly lower your heels back down past the step until you feel your calves stretching. Try to hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to three times. Rest in between repetitions if necessary. Don’t do more than three sets of two to three repetitions per session.

Exercises to Avoid

As noted previously, you need to avoid putting on excess weight as being overweight or obese will increase the stress on your plantar fascia. But, you still need to exercise. So, to prevent plantar fasciitis from recurring you should try to avoid high-impact sports and exercises that put too much strain on your feet, including:

● Running or jogging without enough rest

● Exercises that involve jumping, such as squat thrusts and burpees

● Tennis, netball, basketball, rugby, and football

● Zumba and aerobics.

Substitute these high-impact activities with low-impact exercise such as swimming, rowing, and low-impact yoga and Pilates. Remember to consult your podiatrist and follow their exercise and stretching recommendations.

Nutrition and Diet

Paying attention to your diet can assist in preventing plantar fasciitis from returning. Adding some anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C, D, and K, magnesium, and calcium can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Moreover, eat foods with high Omega 3 content, as this can help to reduce inflammation as well.

On the flip side, you’ll need to avoid food that causes and aggravates inflammation, such as sugar, processed foods, saturated fats, and items made with white flour. Interestingly, avoiding inflammatory foods can also assist with weight loss, which will ultimately reduce the stress and excessive strain on the plantar fascia.

Break Bad Habits

You should follow your podiatrist’s recommendations for shoes and any advice they give on orthotic inserts. In addition, to keep your plantar fasciitis at bay, you’ll also want to avoid wearing high heels and tight shoes. Another bad habit to break, especially in our 21st century fast-paced lives, is not resting enough. However, this is a tricky one because you shouldn’t rest too much either. You’ll need to find a healthy balance that will work for you in your unique circumstance.

At Align Health Collective in Brisbane, QLD, we understand that living with plantar fasciitis can be a challenging and painful experience, which is why we are dedicated to providing our patients with the highest level of care and support throughout the consultation and diagnosis process.

Our committed podiatrists will provide you with compassionate, effective care to help you achieve long-term relief from your symptoms and get back on your feet, pain free. We offer a range of effective treatment options for plantar fasciitis, including stretching and exercise programs, custom orthotics, and medical treatments.

All of our treatment plans are personalised and tailored to suit your individual needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards healing.


Can plantar fasciitis treatment be bulk billed under Medicare?

Yes, plantar fasciitis treatments are part of podiatry treatments which belong to allied health services. With a referral from a General Practitioner, you are eligible for five bulk billed allied health visits per year. For instance, you would be covered for three physio and two podiatry visits per year, or five podiatry visits, etc.

Bulk billing is a payment option that allows Medicare to pay the healthcare provider directly, so patients don’t have to pay out-of-pocket expenses.

Can I permanently get rid of plantar fasciitis?

There is no guaranteed way to permanently get rid of plantar fasciitis, as it can be a chronic condition that requires ongoing management. However, following a comprehensive treatment plan that includes rest, proper footwear, stretching and exercise, orthotics, and other modalities recommended by a healthcare provider can help alleviate pain and prevent recurrent flare-ups.

Is it better to see a podiatrist or orthopaedist for plantar fasciitis?

Both podiatrists and orthopaedists can diagnose and treat plantar fasciitis. However, podiatrists specialise in foot and ankle conditions, while orthopaedists specialise in musculoskeletal conditions throughout the body. Depending on the severity and complexity of the condition, either healthcare provider may be able to provide effective treatment options.

Can an orthopaedic doctor help with plantar fasciitis?

Yes, orthopaedic doctors can help with plantar fasciitis. Podiatrists and orthopaedic doctors may recommend similar treatment options, including rest, ice therapy, stretching and exercise, orthotics, shockwave therapy, and cortisone injections. However, podiatrists may have more specialised expertise in treating foot and ankle conditions.

Can a physiotherapist treat plantar fasciitis?

Yes, physiotherapists can help treat plantar fasciitis. They may use a combination of stretching and exercise, manual therapy, and other modalities to reduce pain and improve mobility. In some instances, they may also work with a podiatrist or orthopaedist to provide a comprehensive treatment plan.

How long can plantar fasciitis last?

Plantar fasciitis can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months or even years. The duration of the condition may depend on factors such as the severity, the effectiveness of treatment, as well as the individual’s overall health, lifestyle, and habits. Plantar fasciitis worsens if left untreated, so early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce how long it takes to fully recover.