It is estimated that about 2 million Americans suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, with about 10% of people developing it at some point in their lifetime. So what can you do if you’re among those who have developed plantar fasciitis? The good news is that there are several effective treatments to help you recover from plantar fasciitis, including physical therapy.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick tissue band running along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes. It’s often caused by overuse or injury and tends to affect people who are on their feet all day, such as runners, athletes and workers.
If you experience pain between your heel and big toe while stepping down onto a hard surface, you may have plantar fasciitis. The pain usually gets worse with activity and improves with rest—but if not treated correctly or left untreated for too long, it can persist for months or even years at a time.
Signs and Symptoms
People with plantar fasciitis may experience pain:
- In the heel or along the arch of the foot
- When you first get out of bed, stand up or walk
- With activities like running or jumping or prolonged standing
- When walking barefoot or in shoes without support
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Over-pronation. If you have plantar fasciitis, you may be over-pronating. This means that your feet roll inward excessively when you walk or run. This puts excessive stress on the plantar fascia, causing it to stretch and tear.
Flat feet. If you have flat feet and over-pronate, the arch of your foot collapses when you stand or walk on it. The plantar fascia then becomes stretched and irritated, causing pain in the bottom of your foot or toes.
High arches or insteps: If you have high arches or a high instep (the crease at the top of your foot), this can put extra pressure on both sides of your plantar fascia as they try to flatten out while supporting weight during walking and running activities or classes at the gym.
Decreased calf muscle flexibility, range of ankle motion, or increased Body Mass index
How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
To help prevent the onset of plantar fasciitis, try following these tips:
Stretch your calves and feet regularly. Stretch your calf muscles by reaching down with one leg and pressing against a wall until you feel a stretch or pain in the back of your thigh. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Stretch your arches by pulling up on the edge of a towel while standing barefoot on it; hold for one minute three times per day.
Adjust your exercise program to include a warmup before working out and stretching afterward to help keep blood flowing to lower extremity muscles.
Choose shoes with good arch support (most shoes today have very little arch support) or invest in custom orthotics. It’s best not to wear high heels unless absolutely necessary—if possible, avoid them altogether!
How can Physical Therapy help with Plantar Fasciitis?
Your physical therapist will assess your heel area, ankle, and foot arch with gentle pressing and stretching to help diagnose your condition. They may also perform a gait analysis to determine whether you have an abnormal foot strike.
Physical therapists can help relieve plantar fasciitis with a stretching and strengthening exercise program that targets the Achilles tendon, calf, and supporting muscles.
Your physical therapist will work with you to develop a program to decrease your symptoms. Your treatment may include targeted exercise programs, ice or taping, night splints to help maintain correct positions while sleeping, and gait training.
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis or want to learn more about it then please contact us today! We’re here to help you with whatever questions might have about this condition as well as others.