Plantar Fasciitis is a medical condition in which the plantar fascia experiences inflammation. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot. It runs underneath your foot from your heel to your toes.
Common symptoms include stabbing pain in your heel, a burning sensation underneath your foot, and tightness along the arch of your foot. The pain usually flares up in your heel in the morning or after prolonged sitting or standing.
Plantar Fasciitis can increase due to the following factors:
- Inadequate footwear
- Uneven floors
- Foot structure concerns
- Tight Achilles tendon
- Calf muscular issue
- Other medical conditions
If you exhibit Plantar Fasciitis symptoms, you should consult either your primary care physician or your physical therapist. This can help you receive a thorough diagnosis and a customized treatment plan. Physical therapy can be an effective solution to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life, so you can engage in your day-to-day activities more comfortably.
#1 Gait Assessment
One of the steps in diagnosing Plantar Fasciitis is evaluating your gait. This happens during your physical examination to determine what your treatment needs to address. This evaluation helps your provider tailor a care plan to your specific needs, from in-office exercises to ergonomics recommendations.
A gait assessment involves factors such as:
- Step length
- Stride length
- Foot angle
- Hip angle
Your physical therapist also carefully reviews your health history, any current prescription or over-the-counter medication, and asks you about your symptoms, including their onset, frequency, and severity.
#2 Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
Your treatment plan typically includes both in-office and at-home exercises that your provider demonstrates during your appointments. This ensures that you understand how to do them with proper posture and technique to maximize your results and prevent further injury.
Stretches help reduce the tension on your plantar fascia and strengthening exercises build endurance and greater control over your ankle and foot muscles. In turn, this increases support for your foot arch.
#3 Increased Mobility
Tightness in your Achilles tendon and/or calf muscles can reduce your range of motion and mobility as your body compensates for the effects of Plantar Fasciitis. Mobility restrictions can increase the pain and tension in the plantar fascia.
During your physical examination, your provider can identify areas that interfere with your mobility and include exercises to restore it. This can include additional stretches, massages, and techniques to gradually re-condition your body to move appropriately.
#4 Balance Training
Plantar Fasciitis may result in a reduced balance due to muscle weakness in various parts of the body, especially in the feet, hips, or even core. Those groups of muscles affect the way your lower leg moves and how they may absorb impacts from running or jumping. Your physical therapist can use different methods and exercises to increase your balance for appropriate posture and support.
#5 Pain Relief Techniques
Pain relief is an important goal of physical therapy. Thanks to their detailed diagnosis and close monitoring of your progress, your provider can educate you on various techniques to alleviate your pain in the short and long term.
Pain relief methods your physical therapist can educate you on include:
- Ergonomics like supportive footwear or shoe inserts
- Application of ice to reduce inflammation and aches
- Taping your foot
- Night splint to keep your ankle and toe properly aligned while you sleep
Your physical therapist can also collaborate with your primary care provider if you need medication and/or to update them on the results of your treatment.
If you are experiencing Plantar Fasciitis in Monmouth or Middlesex Counties, call ProFysio Physical Therapy today at (732) 812-5200 or use our online form to schedule an appointment!