Managing Plantar Fasciitis: An Osteopathic Approach

13 February 2024

Managing Plantar Fasciitis: An Osteopathic Approach

person_outlineNicole Preskett
chat_bubble_outline 0
bookmark_border foot health

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that patients often bring to clinic with complaints of heel pain, especially noticeable in the morning or after rest. It occurs due to inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes. While conventional treatments like rest, stretching, and orthotics are helpful, osteopathy takes a more holistic approach, using hands-on techniques and modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound for relief.

Osteopaths don’t see plantar fasciitis as just a foot issue; it’s part of a broader musculoskeletal imbalance that needs to be addressed in order to recover and prevent recurrence. Treatment for plantar fasciitis doesn’t just focus on relieving symptoms; it targets underlying issues too. By assessing posture, gait, and biomechanics, we are able to identify structural imbalances or dysfunctional movement patterns and aim to correct them. In treatment, we use hands-on techniques like soft tissue manipulation, myofascial release, and joint mobilisation to relieve tension in the foot and the lower leg muscles and fascia, increasing mobility and promoting blood flow for healing.


Therapeutic ultrasound is another tool osteopaths use to reduce discomfort. It sends high-frequency sound waves deep into tissues, generating heat and stimulating tissue repair, which reduces inflammation and improves circulation.


A big plus of therapeutic ultrasound is its targeted therapy without discomfort or side effects. It’s well-tolerated and easily fits into a treatment plan alongside stretching exercises, footwear changes, and lifestyle adjustments.

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis:

  1. Overuse or repetitive strain: Engaging in activities that involve repetitive impact on the feet, such as running, dancing, or standing for long periods, can strain the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation and pain.


  2. Foot structure abnormalities: Flat feet, high arches, or abnormal walking patterns can alter the distribution of weight on the feet, putting excessive stress on the plantar fascia and leading to irritation and inflammation. When necessary we prescribe orthotics at the Bodyfix Clinic to help correct these structural abnormalities and along side prescription exercises can help prevent the condition from returning.


  3. Tight calf muscles: Tightness in the calf muscles can affect the biomechanics of the foot, increasing tension on the plantar fascia and predisposing it to injury.


  4. Improper footwear: Wearing shoes with inadequate support or cushioning, or loose fitting slippers, can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis by not providing enough shock absorption or arch support.


  5. Obesity or sudden weight gain: Excess body weight can put additional strain on the plantar fascia, especially during weight-bearing activities like walking or standing, increasing the risk of inflammation and injury.


  6. Age: Plantar fasciitis is more common in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60, as the plantar fascia tends to lose elasticity and become less flexible with age, making it more prone to injury.


  7. Occupational factors: Jobs that require prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis due to constant pressure on the feet.


  8. Muscle weakness: Weakness in the muscles of the foot and lower leg, particularly the muscles that support the arch, can lead to instability and abnormal stress on the plantar fascia, increasing the likelihood of injury. Osteopaths prescribe strengthening exercises alongside a treatment plan to help improve the arch support.


  9. Inadequate stretching or warm-up: Failing to properly stretch the calf muscles and foot before engaging in physical activity, or sudden increases in activity level without adequate conditioning, can strain the plantar fascia and result in inflammation and pain.


  10. Certain medical conditions: Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and obesity can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis due to their effects on foot structure, inflammation, or healing processes.

If you are struggling with foot and heel pain from Plantar Fasciitis, our Osteopaths are here to help! Give us a call on 0208 394 0393 to book or feel free to ask more questions.

Nicole Preskett

Nicole Preskett administrator

I am a registered Osteopath, MSK Sonographer and co-owner of the BodyFix Clinic.

Comments (0)