Case Study – 12th July 2017 – Plantar Fasciitis in a 30 Year Old Female – By Sports Podiatrist Karl Lockett

Sports Podiatrist Takes Patient History

A 30 year old woman who was working for an advertising company presents to the sports podiatrist with pain in the arch and the heel of both her feet. Initially, the pain developed in her arch and felt like a tight pulling pain which then moved to the base of the heels. She informs the sports podiatrist that she tried to ignore the pain and carry on but unfortunately, the foot pain increased and was more extremely apparent first thing in a morning when she first put her feet on the ground. This patient had never suffered from plantar fasciitis before and boasted good foot health, having never consulted a sports podiatrist. Her plantar fasciitis type pain increased daily for about 2 weeks and she was finding it extremely difficult to walk without hobbling.

She mentioned to the sports podiatrist that she found it more painful first thing in the morning when her feet first touched the floor.  It is not uncommon for patients to suffer from the arch pain before the onset of aggressive heel pain.

This lady visited her G.P. and after examination of her feet he informed her she had Plantar Fasciitis and to consult a sports podiatrist for treatment at the earliest opportunity.  He also advised her to take some pain relief tablets to ease the discomfort whilst waiting for her appointment.

This patient explained to the sports podiatrist that she had been wearing thongs daily from 9.00 am until 5.00 pm on a regular basis, as her office culture was a relaxed one and there were no clothing requirements or uniforms as such. Her job entailed walking to and from apartments, retail shops, medical centres and restaurants and even along the beach from time to time, delivering advertising pamphlets.  The journeys involved walking up and down hills and along uneven stony paths and this had aggravated her condition immensely and had proved to be unbearable.

Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis – Sports Podiatrist Recommendation

As this patient had not seen a sports podiatrist before, it was explained to her that she was suffering from plantar fasciitis which is a very common condition and which causes very painful arch and heel pain. She was told by the sports podiatrist that her footwear had more than likely caused her problem.  She needed to change her footwear immediately to ensure she was wearing more supportive shoes.

She was recommended by the sports podiatrist to wear specific shoes and where she could purchase these. It was explained to the patient that she would not have to wear these shoes long term and she would be able to return to wearing ballet style flats, thongs and soft sandals in the future but not until the plantar fasciitis had been treated and the sports podiatrist was convinced the problem had cleared completely.  She was also advised that in the future, these shoes and thongs should only be worn occasionally to help ensure the condition would not return.

The patient was then advised by the sports podiatrist that he was going to firstly treat her feet with rigid sports tape in order to help relieve the arch and heel pain in both her feet.  The patient was shown how to reapply this tape once it was due to be changed.  It was also explained to the patient that the strapping would need to be applied for several weeks in order for her feet to heal.

This patient reported to the sports podiatrist that she felt immediate relief in both her feet when the rigid sports tape had been applied. The sports podiatrist then asked her to walk up and down in the consulting/examination room whilst he assessed her balance and deportment.  She was very happy to report that she did feel an immense relief when she had walked around the room as her feet had felt the support from the rigid sports tape.

Home Remedies – Sports Podiatrist Instructions

The sports podiatrist also recommended that this patient should use an ice pack 3 to 4 times daily as an additional form of pain relief and also to elevate her legs whilst doing this.  She was also shown how to do safe and effective calf stretches.

It was explained to this patient by the sports podiatrist that swimming would be a good exercise for her as this is a none weight bearing activity. She was advised to refrain from any other form of exercise that loaded or stressed the feet until she had completely recovered.

1 Week Follow Up

This patient was reviewed after one week and reported to the sports podiatrist that she had felt a significant relief from pain  when walking since her visit to the clinic and that she firmly believed the rigid sports tape together with the exercises and the use of ice packs had played a major role in providing her with the pain relief she so desperately needed.

2 And 3 Week Follow Ups

As above – The patient reported further improvement as each week passed. No change to the treatment plan, continue as above.

6 Week Follow Up With Sports Podiatrist

This patient reported to the sports podiatrist that she was pain free first thing in the morning when she stepped out of bed and there was no pain on palpation of the heel when the patient was examined.

The sports podiatrist then informed the patient that she could carefully introduce the use of thongs and soft shoes again but only on specific occasions and to remain conscious of calf tightness. She was informed that she should maintain good calf range at all times and to reach out to the podiatrist if her symptoms returned. Using running shoes or firm walking shoes while walking long distances / working was also advised.

Please note that the information contained in this case study relates to one specific individual and should not be taken as general advice. If you suffer with foot pain you should seek the health of a qualified sports podiatrist or other health care practitioner.