Plantar Fasciitis

Pain when stepping out of the bed in the morning is likely the least favorable way to start the day. Likely, this is due to plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms

The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous tissue that extends from toes to heel on each foot. Typically pain near the heel itself is worse in the morning with the first few steps of the day. Pain can also occur in the foot after standing or sitting for long periods of time. Although pain is typically felt by the heel, the pain can also occur throughout the underside of the foot itself.

Plantar Faciitis Treatment

Causes

Plantar fasciitis is a sturdy band of fibrous tissue that can become taut when there is excessive stress placed on it. If there is repeated stress on the plantar fascia, tears may form in the fascia causing symptoms. Standing for prolonged periods of time for work or participating in activities that place stress on the heels, such as dancing or running, can also contribute to plantar fasciitis. The structure of your foot can also predispose you to developing plantar fasciitis. For example, having a flat foot or very high arch can place stress on the plantar fascia. Lastly, weight can also contribute to developing this diagnosis.

Diagnosis

Your physical therapist will first take a history of your symptoms, including questions to understand your pain pattern, history of symptoms, how your symptoms affect your function throughout the day, and any help or doctors you may have seen. Next, your therapist will perform a thorough examination of your foot/ankle mobility, strength, muscle flexibility, and ability to perform functional activities (such as walking or climbing up/down stairs). Your physical therapist will also ask to look at your casual and work shoes to assess its support for your foot. Performing a comprehensive evaluation will help the therapist to understand the cause of the symptoms and how to treat it.

Treatment and Exercises

After careful examination, your physical therapist will create a personalized program to create a program aimed to correct the reason for the plantar fasciitis. The program will involve manual therapy and exercises to safely improve the flexibility and mobility of your foot, improve strength of the surrounding muscles, reduce pain, and teach you ways to manage the symptoms so you can get back to doing what you love. Your physical therapist will also give advice about the shoes you are currently wearing and if they are the best choice for your foot and condition.

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