Is Plantar Fasciitis a Symptom?

Wake up in morning with knife like pain in the arch or heel of your foot? It could be plantar fasciitis. It’s the bane of the foot’s existence and can be very frustrating and annoying. In this article I’ll be discussing all you’ll need to know about why and how plantar fasciitis comes to be and how Osteopathy can help you.


What is Plantar Fasciitis?

First, let’s talk anatomy. It’s common knowledge that the musculoskeletal system is made up of muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons; but there is a very important and often overlooked structure called fascia. Fascia is the sinew that holds everything together, we have layers upon layers of fascia that surround our muscles, tendons, joints and even our organs.

The plantar fascia is the extension of the achilles tendon that runs over your heel, along the bottom of your foot to the tips of your toes. It holds your foot together, encasing your arch, blood supply, nerves, tendons, muscles and small bones of the ankle. If the Plantar Fascia becomes inflamed and irritated it then presents as sharp unremitting pain in the arch or heel. It’s often worse in the mornings or after rest and is referred as plantar fasciitis.  

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

This is the million dollar question. There’s little proof of an exact cause but there are studies that show plantar fasciitis being a manifestation of another biomechanical problems in the foot or leg. Biomechanical problems can be split into two categories;

Compressive forces: This is where the arch structures are very weak and collapsed similar to someone who has a ‘flat foot’; therego putting extra pressure on the plantar fascia to hold the foot together. This causes the plantar fascia to overstretch, inflaming its attachments to the heel; and in severe cases causing spurs on the heel bone. People who are obese and/or have flat feet are predisposed to this kind of injury.

Traction forces: This is where the plantar fascia is being overused and overstretched in someone who runs or walks on their toes. The repetitive physical stretch of the plantar fascia during the push off phase of running and the over activation of the calf muscles can pull the plantar fascia tight over the heel; therego irritating it. Athletes are more prone to this kind of injury.


How can an Osteopath treat this?

Osteopathic manual therapy can provide immense relief for people who suffer from this injury. Firstly an Osteopath will diagnose the cause of your plantar fasciitis and treat the problematic structures with safe, gentle manual therapy techniques. The most important factor is to change what is causing your plantar fasciitis and proceeding to strengthen the arch supporting muscles in the leg and foot. Our friendly and helpful Melbourne Osteopaths here at City Osteopathy will help you with your plantar fasciitis. Book in today!

Dr Stephanie Norton-Smith

Melbourne Osteopath

Gold Coast Marathon, Rohan and team killed it!

Our resident running osteopath Rohan Armstrong, took a crew of 5 to the GCM on JUNE 30.
In it’s 40th year, this event was a sell out when 7,600 competitors took the start line for the 42.2 km journey.
Marathons are all about the last 10kms, as that is known as when the real race starts.
In hot, humid conditions, the Melbourne crew were tested coming from much cooler training conditions, but with a solid preparation and race plan in hand, they stuck to their paces and strategies and all managed to finish with PBs over the distance and Rohan managed another sub 3 hour result.  A Job well done on a great day when many pulled out, or lay cramped on the sidelines including many of the pacers, there were some big highlights and PBs from some of Australia’s best athletes such as Jess Trengove.

From here, Rohan and his crew look ahead to the Melbourne marathon in just over 12 weeks.
All the best, and if you’re looking for some running coaching guidance or technical advice don’t hesitate to getting touch with Rohan.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT); Fast Effective Exercise for Busy People

Exercise is important, we all know that; but some find the monotony of non structured gym memberships gruelling and time consuming. Research has shown that short bursts of heart rate increases over a 30 minute period increases your fat burning metabolism amongst other health benefits.  Our resident Melbourne Osteopath, Dr Stephanie Norton-Smith explains…


What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

HIIT is structured around periods of unsustainable high intensity cardio activities such as sprinting; followed by recovery periods and/or low cardio intensity activities such as jogging or weight lighting. The peak in heart rate triggers your body to deplete energy stores in the muscles triggering fat metabolism for energy, then lowering the heart rate keeps the body in a fat burning state.   


What are the benefits of HIIT?

  • Weight loss: HIIT encourages fat metabolism during and two hours post exercise making it very effective and time efficient
  • It can increase Muscle growth: There are studies that suggest that incorporating weights into HIIT regimes will increase muscle growth than just doing weights alone.
  • HIIT can increase your oxygen levels: Studies have compared short bursts of 20 minutes of HIIT training with 40 minutes of steady cycling; the results showed the oxygen consumption increase of both cohorts were almost identical.
  • It decreases blood pressure and heart rate: HIIT has shown an effective decrease in blood pressure and heart in obese/ overweight individuals who suffer from pre-existing high blood pressure.
  • It reduces blood sugar levels: HIIT has been found to effectively regulate blood sugar levels due to it nature of depleting muscle glycogen stores and metabolising fat. It also decreases insulin resistance lowering your risk of type two diabetes.

      Example of a simple do it at home HIIT program


Dr Stephanie Norton-Smith

City Osteopathy

Bilateral arm pain, numbness that wont go away? T4 Syndrome is more common than you think.

Where is T4?

The spine is made up of three sections; seven cervical vertebrae in the neck, twelve thoracic vertebrae in the mid back and five lumbar vertebrae in the lower back.

T4 is the fourth thoracic vertebra in the midback.


What is the significance of T4?

Location! Location! Location! T4 is situated right in between the shoulder blades, many muscles attach to it, making it a crucial landmark of tension in the back. It also plays a big role in the tension held in the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system’s control centres (ganglia) lie along the rib attachments of the thoracic spine. The sympathetic network interacts with the nervous supply that effects the heart, abdominal organs, skin, muscles and tissues of the upper/ mid body and the head.

What are the symptoms of T4 Syndrome?

Symptoms include:

  • Numbness in either one or both hands (usually all five fingers)
  • Numbness in the forearm
  • Coldness in the hands and arms
  • Hand clumsiness
  • Heaviness in the upper limb
  • Hands may feel or be swollen
  • Pain in Hands with or without upper back/ neck pain
  • Pain between the shoulder blades

T4 syndrome is often missed or misdiagnosed resulting in incorrect treatment; leaving sufferers with reoccurring symptoms.

Who does T4 Syndrome affect?

Any occupation or hobby that has prolonged stooping, working on computers, bending forward and looking down can predispose you to T4 syndrome. A study showed the prevalence is high in electricians, surgeons, assembly line workers and office workers.

What can City Osteopathy do for you?

Osteopathy is very beneficial for T4 syndrome. Our Melbourne osteopaths offer a variety of safe, effective and therapeutic manual techniques that will provide you with relief. We can assess your posture to ensure that the root of the causative problem is addressed and resolved. Book in with our amazing team of Osteopaths today!


Dr Stephanie Norton-Smith (Osteopath)

City Osteopathy

CLICK HERE to make a booking




Osteopathy for Back Pain Problems – Here’s What You Need to Know

Image of a young woman with back pain sitting on the bed at home

Are you looking for the best treatment for your chronic back pain? It’s time to stop ignoring this unbearable symptom and visit an osteopath for proper treatment. Utilising the science AND art of osteopathy in back pain management is becoming increasingly popular. Even those who typically seek chiropractic services now lean towards osteopathy for effective and quick  pain relief.

How can osteopathy treat back pain issues?

In essence, osteopathy is a discipline that focuses on the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of joints, soft tissues, and muscle conditions with the use of massage therapy, stretching exercises, mobilisation, and movement techniques. It is considered an alternative or complementary medical discipline and is included as part of more comprehensive treatment.

Osteopath exercise for lower back pain has been proven to be effective in that it specifically treats the problem at hand. The manual therapy involves proper alignment of the musculoskeletal system resulting in immediate healing from injury or trauma. It is a non-invasive, drug-free therapy that has minimal side effects, so you can resume doing activities you were accustomed to prior to back pain symptoms.

What are the standard treatment strategies for lower back pain?

Osteopaths can take a more holistic approach to treatment of lower back pain when compared to some Chiropractors.. Here are some of the most common techniques that are used to deliver back pain relief.

  • Muscle energy technique
  • Cranial osteopathy
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Massage

Besides lower back pain, osteopathy techniques provided above treat the following conditions, too:

  • Pregnancy-related back pain
  • Sciatica pain
  • Rheumatic pain
  • Joint pain
  • Generalised aches and pains
  • Postural issues
  • Mechanical back pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain

If you are in dire need of pain relief, schedule an appointment with us by calling 03 9663 5450. Visit our website by clicking here to know more about our organisation and the services that we offer.

How to Treat Sports Injuries among Melbourne Athletes

Image of a Woman runner got sports injury running on forest trail

Osteopathic treatment is beneficial among athletes across all sports and at all levels. Suffering from a sports-related injury can affect one’s overall performance. If you’re looking for a way to heal your injuries quickly, we highly suggest giving osteopathy a try.

Should you treat sports injuries?

First-aid treatment for sports injuries is typically performed by athletes themselves. Although they deliver pain relief and improve comfort levels, it is a must for athletes to seek professional help for more comprehensive and specific treatment and to develop a  pain management plan. You may not consider an osteopath as your first solution for treatment, but in most cases, the services they render are found to be some of the most effective.

Why should you go to an osteopath in Melbourne for sports injuries?

To reach your peak level of fitness and performance, you need to include osteopathy as part of a holistic treatment plan. Injuries undeniably prevent you from performing at your best. Osteopathy is the perfect complementary medicine as it targets the injuries as well as improves your level of performance, too!

The most common sports-related injuries that athletes suffer from are as follows:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Elbow pain
  • Wrist pain
  • Shin splints
  • Ligament sprains
  • Rolled ankle
  • Muscle strains such as those of the groin, calf, and hamstrings

With the best osteopaths in Melbourne, you will be prescribed a specific sports injury therapy that will work to support fast recovery and prevention. A sports injury therapy usually starts by facilitating the bodies healing process through improving blood supply to the affected areas via techniques such as ultrasound therapy, cross friction massage and joint/soft tissue mobilisation. Injured sections of the body then undergo various techniques such as stretching and sports massages and rehabilitation advice. Specific guided rehabilitation exercises, and alignment via osteopathic treatment  need to be performed to ensure a balanced body.

Using osteopathy to manage sports injuries is effective in that it addresses all phases of healing and treatment; from the moment an athlete sustains an injury to rehabilitation and restoring peak functioning.

Call us now on 03 9663 5450 to book your very first osteopath session. To know more about our clinic and the services that we render, click here.