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Meet Karen

  • 47 years old
  • No history of medical problems
  • Sedentary job during the day
  • An active rower and runner outside of work
  • Tear in the left plantar fascia

We first met Karen when she presented to Melbourne Walking Clinic with severe pain in the base of her left heel. The pain had been present for six weeks, since her walking holiday. Karen graded the pain an 8/10 – 10/10 on the pain scale, and it left her unable to walk when she woke up in the morning.

Karen’s Assessment

Karen displayed all of the typical symptoms of plantar fasciitis:

  • First step pain in the morning
  • Pain on standing after rest
  • Pain at the base of the heel (plantar and medial calcaneal tubercles)

In addition, Karen also experienced pain throughout the day at high severity. This day-long pain is less common for plantar fasciitis. We performed an ultrasound and found that Karen had a 13mm partial tear through the plantar fascia.

We also found:

  • Karen had tight calf muscles that restricted the movement in her foot
  • She had a high-arched foot type
  • She did not absorb shock well through her feet

All of these factors, combined with the large amount of walking during her holiday, contributed to Karen’s plantar fascial tear.


After discussing options, Karen’s treatment consisted of:

  • Low dye strapping – To support the plantar fascia and reduce symptoms
  • Shockwave treatment– to help repair the damaged plantar fascia
  • Daily calf stretching – to help with the tight Achilles that was pulling on the back of the heel
  • Custom orthotics – to support and control the feet and arches, and add more shock absorption to the heels


After four weeks and four shockwave sessions, Karen’s pain reduced to 4/10 on the pain scale. This was a massive relief for her. She also felt more comfortable during the day with her orthotics.

After 8 weeks Karen had returned to her normal exercise routine pain free.