All About Plantar Fasciitis: The Importance of Physical Therapy
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common types of conditions that affects movement. Plantar fasciitis is when the tissue band that is at the bottom of each foot becomes inflamed. That band is known as the plantar fascia. According to John Hopkins Medicine, the plantar fascia is “a tough, fibrous band of tissue that runs along the sole of the foot. The plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone (calcaneus) and to the base of the toes. It helps support the arch of the foot and has an important role in normal foot mechanics during walking.”
With the proper treatment, this degenerative condition typically disappears in several months. You may need to visit a physical therapist to quicken your recovery and avert other injuries. Luckily, the knowledgeable doctors at BC + PT are here to help!
Signs & Symptoms
Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot, right near the heel. Most with this condition state that the pain is the worst with the first steps in the morning, but it can also be triggered by long periods of standing. Other symptoms include stiffness, a tight Achilles tendon, and an increase of pain after exercise or activity.
Causes & risk factors of plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis may come without any identifiable reason. However there are certain factors that contribute to it’s presence. You are more prone to plantar fasciitis if you:
- Are 40-60 years old;
- Have high arches or flat feet;
- Are obese;
- Have a strange walk or foot position;
- Have tight Achilles tendons;
- Regularly wear high-heeled shoes;
- Wear worn-out shoes with thin soles; or
- Spend many hours standing daily.
If you have been experiencing some pain in the bottom of your feet and meet the criteria listed above, it might be time to talk to a physical therapist about what your treatment options are.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Generally, this medical condition will heal by itself, given enough time. However, the timeline varies widely between individuals. It usually ranges between a few weeks to months, depending on the condition's seriousness.
Doctors may recommend several different approaches to plantar fasciitis patients. These may include icing, over-the-counter pain relievers to help with inflammation, rest, and avoiding intense activities that irritate the area. Based on the severity of the condition, they may also recommend using special devices such as orthotics, night splints, or even a walking boot to help manage symptoms. If your doctor urges you to seek physical therapy to help with pain and ultimately treat the underlying cause- that's where BC + PT comes in!
Physical Therapy & Plantar Fasciitis
The physical therapists at BC + PT are highly competent in assessing and treating the underlying issues. We usually work with patients to develop a personalized program to relieve their symptoms. The treatment may involve:
- Assessment of how you walk (your gait) and how this might affect your symptoms.
- Stretching exercises to enhance the flexibility of the plantar fascia and your ankle.
- Strengthening exercises to boost the strength of supporting muscles.
- Application of ice to ease pain and inflammation.
- Taping of the foot for temporary relief.
- A night splint to maintain correct toe and ankle positions while sleeping.
- Orthotics and supportive footwear to reduce abnormal foot motion, or to support your arch, relieving stress on the plantar fascia.
- Gait training to help reduce symptoms and enhance your walking ability.
A physical therapist providing 1:1 attention, like our doctors do, can educate each individual on how to avoid a recurrence of pain. They can also provide you with preventative stretching programs that you can perform at home and instructions on factors to consider when buying new shoes.
At BC + PT, we also combine both active and passive treatments to help give you the best and most versatile treatment available. If you are ready to take the next step, or if you have more questions about what to expect from a first physical therapy visit, give us a call or fill out one of our contact forms today!