Plantar Fasciitis (Policeman’s Heel)

What is it?

Plantar fasciitis (also known as Policeman’s Heel) is a tear in the fascial tissue that inserts into your heel bone on the bottom of your foot.

What are the symptoms?

An intense pain on the inside, or underneath the heel which is usually at it’s worst first thing in the morning.

Why does it happen?

The tears in the fascial tissue can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common we see are:

  • standing for long periods of time
  • following an operation on the lower limb due to muscle wastage and tightening
  • tight calf muscles
  • flat footed and overweight people can also suffer due to the pressure put onto the area

It is usually worse first thing in the morning, as overnight the muscles tighten and blood flow to the area is lower. When you first get out of bed the plantar fascia tears as you stand on it causing pain.

What measures can I take if I have symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Use an orthotic stirrup or strapping in the short term. We wouldn’t recommend this as a long term solution as it can cause other problems such as weakening of the foot, and shortening of the achilles tendon
  • Pump your ankles before you get out of bed to increase the blood flow to the area before standing up
  • Try rolling your foot over a bottle filled with ice
  • If you have to stand for long periods of time ensure you stretch your calves regularly

How can Corsham Physiotherapy help you with Plantar Fasciitis?

If you have tried the self-help measures above, and still have pain after 1 week then treatment is likely to be necessary. The problem with Plantar Fasciitis is that the injury is always in the ‘acute’ phase because it is constantly being torn when stood on.

How we treat your particular issue, depends on the cause, and whether it is likely to be a short term issue (i.e. if following an operation) or a long term issue and your specific pain distribution.

Historically, steroid injections are given to ease the discomfort of Plantar Fasciitis. This should ease the pain in the short term, however is not usually recommended as a long term solution.

If we don’t feel a steroid injection is the best course of action (after talking through it with you) we will typically use some or all of the following methods of treatment:

  • We can ‘dry needle’ (use medical acupuncture) the site to aid with pain relief
  • Review and advise on correct stretching and/or strengthening exercises
  • Check your biomechanics and posture and advise on how to correct these
  • Strap the area
  • Use LASER on the area which helps to contain the inflammatory process

Please contact us if you want to book an appointment or discuss your condition with our friendly and professional physiotherapists.