Understanding Plantar Heel Pain | Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar heel pain, or plantar fasciitis, a disorder that is characterised by sharp pain in the heel and throughout the bottom of the foot, or the plantar. The pain is worst in the morning with your first few steps, and often feels like a dull ache for the rest of the day too. 

Studies show that as many as 10% of people suffer from this disorder at some point in their life, with almost half of them still experiencing pain even 15 years after the onset of the symptoms. This is not necessarily an accurate figure either, considering that misinformation about foot health is widespread, and as much as 80% of all heel pain cases may be due to plantar fasciitis. 

While it is often found in conjunction with heel spurs, which are better-known to the layman, their relationship is unclear, and resolving one may not necessarily resolve the other.

Plantar heel pain affects the plantar fascia. | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia
The plantar fascia shown here as the bottom-most red layer

What causes Plantar Heel Pain?

Plantar heel pain is often caused by repetitive strain, which makes athletes and dancers more vulnerable to it.

Other causes include:

  • Improper running form which causes strain to the plantar fascia and heel
  • Improper footwear
  • Obesity or pregnancy which puts more strain on the legs
  • A foot deformity which puts more strain on the heels

Best Plantar Heel Pain Treatment

Solutions for plantar heel pain may vary depending on the patient’s personal circumstances. Your gait, occupation, and daily activities, your unique foot shape and the severity of your case of plantar heel pain will determine what treatment you should opt for. Corticosteroid injections are commonly recommended by forums or non-specialist doctors, but they do not help with curing the disorder in the long run.

You can watch a video of a plantar fasciitis treatment performed by one of our podiatrists on our YouTube channel below.

Family Podiatry Centre offers a variety of conservative options to treat plantar heel pain, including:

  • Custom orthotics
  • Podiatrist-approved strenghtening exercises for surrounding muscles
  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy, which we also use during treatment for knee osteoarthritis. 
Plantar heel pain starts from the heel and spreads throughout the foot. | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia
Plantar heel pain starts with heel pain. The pain spreads given the connections of the fascia to other structures.

However, treatments for plantar heel pain should be employed as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. The longer you wait, the less effective treatment will be.

As shown by one of the studies linked above, while laser therapy and extracorporeal shockwave therapy are both highly effective in treating plantar fasciitis, waiting for more than six months to undergo treatment reduces the effectiveness of radial soundwave and extracorporeal shockwave therapy significantly.

What would be the best course of treatment for you? Book a consultation with us and find out. We’re here to help.

Written by Mark B. Reyneker
Written by Mark B. Reyneker

Based in Singapore, 20 years of clinical experience. Practiced in South Africa, Malaysia, and Singapore. Pioneered CAD/CAM custom-made orthotics in S.E Asia.

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