If you’re trying to learn more about your heel pain and exactly what’s going on, you may be confused about all of these terms being thrown around and used online, almost interchangeably. The reality is that they do have variances in meanings and knowing the difference can help you better understand your injury and symptoms. So we thought we’d share about what it all really means and how it relates to your heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is the most commonly used of the three terms and describes the inflammation of your plantar fascia. (Note: ‘itis’ on the end of any term indicates inflammation!). This inflammation typically occurs at the beginning of the injury process, when the plantar fascia has sustained damage and the body has responded with inflammatory action to start the repair process. The inflammation will settle over time, and can flare up again when the damaged fascia is again overloaded.
Plantar fasciosis instead describes the degeneration of the plantar fascia band. Think of this as a weakened and degenerated state of the fascia following injury or overuse that is persisting after the inflammation has settled. The importance of the difference here is the approach to treatment, with those having plantar fasciosis not benefitting from things like anti-inflammatories and ice, and instead, benefiting from things like heat.
Plantar fasciopathy describes the long-standing and ongoing problem with the plantar fascia that includes periods of both fasciitis and fasciosis. Ultimately, it means that the plantar fascia has gone through the periods of inflammation and hasn’t healed in this time, and now the tissue is degenerating (with potential flares from time to time). This means the focus of treatment needs to manage not only the symptoms but the causes to allow healing and repair, and then work to strengthen and give back motion to the degenerated tissue. Plantar fasciopathy denotes a greater level of damage and tends to have a longer recovery time than acute plantar fasciitis.
As a bit of background, your ‘plantar fascia’ is a thick band of connective tissue that attaches to your heel and then spans your foot like a fan to connect to all five toes. You have connective tissues all around your body. In fact, connective tissue is one of the four main tissue types. It serves to connect, stabilise and enclose musculature and structures throughout the human body. Then plantar fascia helps maintain the shape of the foot by supporting the bones, joints and muscles, thereby helping to maintain the shape of your arch.
Damage to the fascia can occur through trauma, but more commonly occur through overuse and repetitive strain during physical activities that result in micro-tears through the fascia.
The good news is that regardless of what is happening with the plantar fascia and its state of injury, our expert team at Sole Motion Podiatry have you covered. We specialise in soft tissue injuries to the feet and legs and manage plantar fasciitis/fasciosis/fasciopathy on a daily basis. Our commitment to excellence in podiatric care means we use the latest clinical evidence and guidelines to get you the best results and outcomes for your injury. We use advanced technologies, such as the THOR laser therapy as an adjunct to speed up recovery and have you feeling better, faster.
To find out more or to book in, give our expert team a call on 1300-FX-FEET.