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Plantar fasciitis

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Heel pain is a very common problem that may be attributed to several etiologies, including heel spurs, plantar fascia irritation (acute or chronic), and bursitis. Plantar fasciitis is thought to result from microtears in the fascia due to repeated biomechanical stress on the arch of the foot on weight-bearing. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia & the perifascial structures. Chronic stress to the origin of this fascia on the calcaneus may cause calcium to deposit, forming a spur (plantar calcaneal spur).  Plantar Fascia is a Dense, broad band of connective tissue attaching proximal and medially to the calcaneus and fans out over the plantar aspect of the foot and works in maintaining the stability of the foot and bracing the longitudinal arch.

Plantar fasciitis 1

The pain is maximal when the patient first stands in the morning and tends to decrease with walking. Ten percent of people may experience pain under the heel (plantar heel pain) at some time during their life.


Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain in the adult population with an incidence of around 10%. It affects adults across the age spectrum with an incidence in women twice that of men. Ethnicity does not influence incidence. There is a higher preponderance in those who play sport either recreationally or professionally. Increased body weight and an increased body mass index (BMI) have also been shown to be significant risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis. Pregnancy, flat feet, high arched feet, poorly fitting or worn footwear, Calf muscle tightness, gait abnormalities, prolonged standing, running, jumping and walking are additional contributory factors. Excessive lumbar lordosis—a condition in which an increased forward tilt of the pelvis produces an unfavourable angle of foot strike when there is a considerable force exerted on the ball of the foot—can also contribute to this problem. Running on soft surfaces are also potential causes of plantar fasciitis.

Clinical features

  • The patient presents with a history of severe plantar medial heel pain typically on initial mobilization after a period of non-weight bearing such as in the morning after getting up from bed or sitting for long periods.
  • With further mobilization, the pain often improves but then reoccurs and increases throughout the day with ongoing weight-bearing.
  • The diagnosis is usually made clinically with tenderness on palpation of the plantar fascia and pain on passive dorsiflexion of the toe


Looking for Swelling, Arches, Deformity, Gait, posture, tenderness, Tight Structures etc & History


For the treatment of heel pain or plantar fasciitis, research has not indicated any consensus on a specific treatment regimen that has proven to resolve heel pain with any statistical significance. However nonsurgical treatment is ultimately effective in approximately 90% of patients.

It is equally important to correct the problems that place individuals at risk for plantar fasciitis, such as the increased amount of weight-bearing activity, increased intensity of activity, hard walking/running surfaces and worn shoes.

Early recognition and treatment usually lead to a shorter course of treatment as well as an increased probability of success with conservative treatment measures

S.M.A.R.T. approach to prevent plantar fasciitis

The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA)

  • Stretch
  •  Move
  • Add it up
  • Reduce strain
  • Talk to a physiotherapist

Calf and Achilles stretching is achieved by performing asymmetrical stretching exercises

ANRC Phases of Rehabilitation

Phase 1- Pain Relief (Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, Sports massage, Taping, Electrotherapy modalities, Postural Correction, Basic Home exercises etc)

Phase 2- Restoration of Range of movement and muscle length (Stretches, Exercises for the small muscles of the foot, Postural training, Basic Strength Training, Orthotics if needed)

 Phase 3- Maintenance Phase & Improve the activity of daily living (Intensive Strength Training, Ergonomic Modifications in Sports & Daily Activities

Plantar fasciitis 2
Plantar fasciitis 3
Plantar fasciitis 4
Plantar fasciitis 5


  1. ABC of Common Soft Tissue Disorders, First Edition. Edited by Francis Morris, Jim Wardrope and Paul Hattam. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  2. Musculoskeletal Interventions, techniques for therapeutic Exercises, Edited by Barbara J. Hoogenboom, Michael L. Voight, William E. Prentice @ 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education ISBN: 978-0-07-179370-4
physio horsham and east grinstead

Myofascial Pain Syndrome


Musculoskeletal disorders are the main cause of disability in the working-age population and are among the leading causes of disability in other age groups. Myofascial pain syndrome is a common painful muscle disorder caused by myofascial trigger points. Pain and limited function of the locomotor (or musculoskeletal) system are two of the most common reasons for consulting a doctor or therapist. The fascia & muscles have a key role in this, because of their anatomical and functional properties. The importance of the muscles is frequently underestimated in practice, however, although muscular imbalances, muscle tension and painful disorders of muscle function play a large part in both acute and chronic locomotor system symptoms, according to current knowledge. The clinical correlate is the myofascial trigger point (mTrP). We rely for the most part on the guidelines of the pioneers in the field of trigger point research, Janet Travell and David Simons (Travell, Simons 2002). Simons et al. (1999) have claimed that myofascial trigger points (TrPs) from neck and shoulder muscles might play an important role in the genesis of mechanical neck pain. There are epidemiological studies suggesting that TrPs represent an important source of musculoskeletal disorder (Chaiamnuay et al., 1998).

We understand the mTrP to be a site or band that is hypersensitive and palpably tense compared to the surrounding area in a muscle that is often shortened, and which demonstrates changes in tone and consistency (‘taut band’). It is painful when palpated and from it pain and autonomic disorders may be caused in an area that cannot usually be attributed to a particular segment (‘referred pain’). We describe the resulting muscle pain as myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). The formation of TrPs may result from a variety of factors, such as severe trauma, overuse, mechanical overload or psychological stress (Simons et al., 1999). Recent studies have hypothesized that the pathogenesis of TrPs results from injured or overloaded muscle fibres. This leads to involuntary shortening, loss of oxygen supply, loss of nutrient supply and increased metabolic demand on local tissues (Mense et al., 2000).

Diagnostic criteria are:

  • A localised, dull, pressing, dragging, occasionally burning spontaneous pain associated with acute or chronic muscular strain
  • The pain is often described as spreading or radiating.
  • Referred pain is an important characteristic of a trigger point
  • Tenderness with typical pain reproduction within a palpable ‘taut band’ of muscle,
  • A pain that predominantly radiates in a distal direction after mechanical stimulation,
  • Painful limitation of movement,
  • Muscular weakness without atrophy.

As these are not ‘hard’, evidence-based criteria but subjective information and findings, an appropriate finding oriented medical differential diagnosis is an indispensable prerequisite for making the diagnosis of ‘myofascial pain’ with or without limitation of movement

In the head and neck region, myofascial pain syndrome with trigger points can manifest as tension headache, tinnitus, temporomandibular joint pain, eye symptoms, and torticollis. Upper limb pain is often referred and pain in the shoulders may resemble visceral pain or mimic tendonitis and bursitis. In the lower extremities, trigger points may involve pain in the quadriceps and calf muscles and may lead to a limited range of motion in the knee and ankle.

                                                      Myofascial Pain Syndrome 6

The muscular fascial network suggests the following applications in relation to trigger points: pain sensations caused by trigger points supposedly originate mostly from fascial receptors which have undergone sensitisation. A possible treatment plan is a therapeutic stimulation and proprioceptive sensitisation of other fascial receptors (preferably in the area belonging to the same cortical area). Fascial changes supposedly also play a key role in changed muscle stiffness in the area around a trigger point as well.

Principles of Treatment:

PHYSIOTHERAPIST –PATIENT RELATIONSHIP: The key influential factor for the success of treatment is a ‘healing’ physiotherapist–patient relationship. In patients with chronic myofascial pain, in particular, psychosocial stress factors must also be evaluated and included early on in the consultation.

The treatment plan for myofascial trigger point therapy (MANUAL TECHNIQUES AND DRY NEEDLING) – Ischaemic compression of the mTrP, Manual stretching of the mTrP region

Fascia stretching technique, Manual stretching of the superficial and intramuscular fascia etc

Functional training, ergonomics, Physiological weight-bearing and exercise support the regeneration process and make the muscles more resilient

  • Ergonomics reduces incorrect strain on the muscles


The aim of trigger point therapy is to provide a permanent cure for myofascially caused pain and functional disorders. Otherwise, recurrences inevitable

This requires:

  • finding the relevant active trigger point,
  • deactivating the relevant trigger point using manual techniques and/or dry needling,
  • providing thorough manual treatment of the connective tissue changes which occur as a reaction, especially with chronic symptoms,
  • recognising the factors which cause the problem to persist and including them in the treatment process
  • Predisposing and perpetuating factors must be recognised and included in the treatment strategy in the form of ergonomics and functional training of the muscles

ANRC Phases of Rehabilitation

  • Deactivation of trigger points and Pain Relief ( Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, Taping, Electrotherapy modalities, relaxation Training etc)
  • Restoration of Range of movement – Stretches, Postural training, Basic Strength Training
  • Maintenance Phase & Improve the activity of daily living – Intensive Strength Training, Ergonomic Training etc


Myofascial Trigger Points Comprehensive diagnosis and treatment; Edited by Priv. Doz. Dr. med. Dominik Irnich: Toronto 2013 First edition published in English © 2013, Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.

Trigger Points: Diagnosis and Management DAVID J. ALVAREZ, D.O., and PAMELA G. ROCKWELL, D.O., University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Myofascial trigger points in subjects presenting with mechanical neck pain: A blinded, controlled study

C. Ferna´ ndez-de-las-Pen˜ as_, C. Alonso-Blanco, J.C. Miangolarra Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC), Alcorco´n, Spain Received 12 November 2004; received in revised form 4 January 2006; accepted 3 February 2006