How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis has been found to affect nearly 20% of Americans at some point in their lives, with women being more susceptible than men. Most Plantar Fasciitis cases occur due to overuse or improper training habits, but it can also be hereditary.
In addition to exercise-related causes (like running), other factors such as age and weight may contribute to increased risk for Plantar Fasciitis. The condition typically develops gradually over time rather than suddenly, but it can often be treated effectively with simple lifestyle changes and physical therapy exercises.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain, which can cause you to wobble and change your gait. The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the sole of your foot from your heel to your toes. This structure supports the arch and helps you bear weight as you walk.
When you stand on your feet all day, pressure from the weight of your body stretches the plantar fascia and can lead to tiny tears in its fibers. When these tears heal, they form scar tissue that causes stiffness and pain in the heel. Over time, this condition can worsen if left untreated, which may lead to persistent inflammation or degeneration of the tissues in this area.
It’s important to see a podiatrist, foot specialist orthopedist, or physical therapist as soon as possible if you have any symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis because it can be debilitating if left untreated. A Twin Boro physical therapist will examine your feet and determine any issues before recommending treatment options such as stretching exercises or custom-made orthotics.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain, which worsens when you stand up after sitting for long periods. You may also feel pain when climbing stairs, running, or jumping. Often, you may feel heel pain when you first get out of bed in the morning, making walking extremely challenging.
Other symptoms include:
- Pain along the bottom edge of your foot (the arch) when you take your first steps in the morning.
- Soreness or stiffness in your heel when you wake up in the morning.
- Pain that worsens with activity and improves with rest (like sleeping).
- Swelling and redness on the bottom of your foot over the affected area; you may also feel a lump under your skin where it hurts.
What are the Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis most commonly affects middle-aged people who are overweight or have high arches. Repeated stretching and tearing of the fascia can irritate or inflame it—although its cause remains unclear in many cases of plantar fasciitis.
What are the Main Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis?
The most common treatments for plantar fasciitis are medications, surgical or other procedures, therapies, and orthotics.
Medications: Medications can help manage pain and inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis, but they do not address the condition’s underlying causes.
Surgical or other procedures: Plantar fasciotomy is used to treat severe cases of plantar fasciitis that do not respond to non-surgical treatments. During this procedure, a small incision is made in the foot’s arch so that some of the tension on the plantar fascia can be released. This may not be an option if you have had a previous injury or surgery on your foot or ankle. It also carries risks such as infection and prolonged recovery time.
Therapies: Plantar fasciitis can be treated with various treatments, including physical therapy, cold laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, night splint therapy, manual therapy, and home exercise programs designed specifically for plantar fasciitis.
What are the Physical Therapy Interventions for Plantar Fasciitis?
Some common physical therapy interventions include:
- Manual therapy: by improving mobility of tight soft tissue can help relieve pain and improve function.
- Stretching exercises: These may include stretching your calves and Achilles tendon, as well as doing stretches for your feet and ankles.
- Strengthening exercises: These can be done with a resistance band or small weights to strengthen muscles around your foot and ankle. They can help improve balance and control.
- Elevation: Elevating your foot when sitting or lying down can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Massage therapy: A therapist may use massage techniques to increase blood flow to the area and speed up healing by breaking up scar tissue (adhesions).
The main goal of Twin Boro Physical Therapy for plantar fasciitis is to relieve pain, improve function, and reduce the risk of recurrent injury.
Check out these two videos which will walk you through some of the keys to alleviating the pain from “plantar fasciopathy”. This will include loading the plantar flexors/intrinsics, maximizing dorsiflexion ROM, absorbing pronator forces through the LE, and strengthening up the chain.
Utilize these techniques and you’ll be setting yourself up on the fast track toward recovery!
- Solving Heel Pain: Plantar Fasciitis : Video One
- Solving Heel Pain: Plantar Fasciitis : Video Two
When Should I Visit a Physical Therapist for Plantar Fasciitis?
Sometimes, you may need to visit a physical therapist if you experience persistent pain for more than two weeks. A physical therapist will assess your foot and determine the right treatment. The first step is determining whether there’s any underlying issue causing the pain (such as tendinitis). If there’s no underlying issue, then they’ll look at the structure of your ankle and foot to see how the fascia has been affected by repetitive stress on those areas during activity. They’ll also perform other tests to see if there’s any underlying problem contributing to your symptoms.
Why Choose Twin Boro for Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis?
At Twin Boro we prioritize our patients and improving their daily lives. We want to ensure that each patient receives the best possible care and treatment. Our staff is highly trained and experienced in treating plantar fasciitis. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan specifically tailored to your needs. To locate the closest Twin Boro Physical Therapy clinic near you, visit the Twin Boro Find a Location directory to search by the ZIP code.