Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common sources of heel pain that we encounter here in physical therapy. Your plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of the foot.
For runners, the pain can be extreme as the act of running actually generates 3-5 times for your body weight in impact force per foot-strike. Runners without adequate muscle strength or flexibility can overload their plantar fascia. When the plantar fascia becomes irritated, inflamed or weakened by injury, every step can be painful.
In addition to repetitive heel striking, there are a few possible causes of plantar fasciitis: • Decreased ankle range of motion, particularly into dorsiflexion (flexing the foot upwards) • Elevated Body Mass Index (BMI) • Improper footwear • Prolonged standing and weight-bearing activities throughout the day
You’ll know that you have plantar fasciitis if you experience tenderness at the heel, pain along the arch of your foot and/or pain as you take your first few steps in the morning.
How Can A Physical Therapist Treat Plantar Fasciitis?
While there is no “one size fits all” treatment for plantar fasciitis, physical therapists are experts in assessing and treating all musculoskeletal dysfunctions that cause plantar fasciitis and can be a valuable resource for treatment. They can also advise you on proper footwear to help and minimize foot pronation.
With manual therapy techniques, your physical therapist will address motion restrictions in the foot, ankle and calf to relieve your plantar fasciitis pain. Your PT will also work to mobilize stiffness in the ankle/foot complex and other tissues. To do this, they may utilize joint mobilization, soft tissue massage and other hands-on techniques as well for rapid improvement in heel cord and calf mobility.
If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis and are looking for relief, book a physical therapy assessment today.