Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

Osteopath treating foot pain, plantar fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is an extremely common condition of our feet, that currently affects approximately 10% of the general population.

Plantar Fasciitis is characterized by pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of connective tissue running along the bottom of our foot, connecting to our heel and our toes. The pain associated with this condition can be quite debilitating, having negative effects on daily activities and overall mobility. However, with proper education, management, and treatment, individuals experiencing Plantar Fasciitis can discover significant relief and reclaim their quality of life.

Role of the plantar fascia:

  • Shock absorption
  • Provides essential support for the arch
  • Provides our body with a stable base to stand
  • Aids in forward propulsion of our body


The hallmark symptom of Plantar Fasciitis is pain underneath the heel. Majority of individuals will present with this, often describing the pain as being sharp with a sudden onset. The pain at the heels is often felt during the first few steps out of bed in the morning, after prolonged periods of standing, and during the resuming of physical activity after long periods of sitting.

Other symptoms may include:
  • Stiffness and reduced movement in the foot/ankle
  • Difficulty weight bearing on the affected foot
  • Inflammation and tenderness on the bottom of the foot, especially around the heel


Plantar Fasciitis is often an overuse injury, primarily resulting from repetitive strain. It is a degenerative process, where microtears in the plantar fascia result from the repetitive stress of physical activity.

The main causes include:
  • Overuse or excessive physical activity
  • Repeated wearing of unsupportive footwear with inadequate arch support
  • Poor foot biomechanics, including flat feet, high arches or abnormal walking patterns
  • Tight or weak calf muscles and Achilles tendon
  • Prolonged periods of standing in daily living

Osteopathic Treatment

Osteopathic treatment for plantar fasciitis focuses on relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and addressing underlying biomechanical issues.

Here are some key steps in the osteopathic treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.
  • Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT): OMT techniques, such as soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, and gentle stretching, can help alleviate muscle tension and improve function of the feet and lower limb. By releasing restrictions in the musculoskeletal system, OMT promotes healing and reduces pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
  • Biomechanical Assessment: Our osteopaths at Healthlinks will conduct thorough assessments to identify any biomechanical abnormalities or structural imbalances contributing to plantar fasciitis. This may involve analyzing gait patterns, and range of motion in the lower limbs. Based on the assessment findings, targeted interventions and rehabilitation exercises will be recommended in order to optimize plantar fascia function.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Our osteopaths will also provide guidance on lifestyle modifications to support the healing process and prevent recurrence. This may include recommendations for proper footwear selection, activity modification, and techniques for self-care.

Exercises to try at home

  • Self myofascial release with a tennis ball/spikey massage ball
  • Single leg calf raises
  • Standing toe extension stretch against the wall

Every body has unique requirements, so we suggest getting in contact with one of our osteopaths so we can create an individual program that is perfect for you. There are many safe exercises for improving plantar fascia function, and the team here at HealthLinks Gippsland will help to find the right exercises to suit your body!


Bourne, M., Talkad, A., & Varacallo, M. (2024). Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Foot Fascia. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526043/

Buchanan, B. K., Sina, R. E., & D, K. (2024). Plantar Fasciitis. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431073/


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