The doctor has sent you to physiotherapy for your Plantar Fasciitis, but just what are they going to do? How does physical therapy work? Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition so if it cannot be managed with home remedies, your doctor will send you to a Physical Therapist. This is someone who specializes in the treatment of different conditions by exercises, rather than using medications such as strong pain medication. The goal of physiotherapy is to strengthen your muscles and get your feet back in shape so they can hold the plantar fascia in place when you move.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition that affects the bottom of your feet. The plantar fascia is a series of tendons and ligaments that connect your heel to the balls of your feet. When the plantar fascia is overstretched, overworked, or not properly supported, it can form micro tears. These micro tears are extremely painful and can take a while to heal. Plantar Fasciitis occurs in about two million Americas every year, so if you develop this condition, you are not alone.


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Causes of Plantar

FasciitisPlantar Fasciitis happens most commonly to people who have flat feet or high arches. Runners are also among a higher risk population, as 10 percent of all runners suffer from Plantar Fasciitis. If you are a long distance runner, you are at a higher risk because of the strain placed on your feet when you run. In addition, if you have a job where you stand on your feet all day, you are more likely to get Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis happens most commonly to people who have flat feet or high arches. Runners are also among a higher risk population, as 10 percent of all runners suffer from Plantar Fasciitis. If you are a long distance runner, you are at a higher risk because of the strain placed on your feet when you run. In addition, if you have a job where you stand on your feet all day, you are more likely to get Plantar Fasciitis.

The condition affects a larger number of people who are over the age of 40 and under the age of 60. Furthermore, if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is greater than 30, you are more likely to experience Plantar Fasciitis. The tightness of the muscles in your lower legs also play a role in Plantar Fasciitis, meaning the tighter your muscles are, the likelier you are to get this condition.

Both men and women and have the same amount of chance to develop Plantar Fasciitis. It does affect all ages, although people between the above ages are more likely to get it.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The biggest symptoms people experience with Plantar Fasciitis is heel pain with the first step in the morning. It can also be present after you have been resting for a longer period of time as well. A tight Achilles tendon is another sign of Plantar Fasciitis, as well as limited movement with your ankle. The pain you experience may get worse when you climb stairs or walk barefoot on hard surfaces. In addition, if you stand for long periods of time you may notice an increase in pain.

The pain in your foot may lessen during the day because the plantar fascia loosens up. After you hit a certain point, your foot may become more painful because of how much you have used it throughout the day. A typical presentation will be pain in the morning, a decrease, and then an increase in pain again at the end of the night. If the symptoms are severe you may walk with a limp.

To diagnose Plantar Fasciitis, the doctor will ask you about your health history as well as your activity history. Many times, Plantar Fasciitis happens right after an increase of activity. After a thorough history, your doctor will look at your foot. They will ask about any other conditions that could cause the discomfort in your foot. It is important to tell your doctor about how the pain is affecting your life and if you have tried anything new lately. This will help them decide on the right treatment program for your activity level to get you back where you were. You should also let them know what you have tried at home to calm the pain, such as icing, rest, and changes in shoes.

Exam

plantar-fasciitis examThe doctor may press on the heel area or massage it to see how much pain it causes and what area hurts the most. They may also stretch the ankle by bending your foot towards your leg. This is to see how flexible your ankle is and if your calf muscles are tight. The doctor may also push your toes towards your ankle to see if this causes pain as well.

The doctor may press on the heel area or massage it to see how much pain it causes and what area hurts the most. They may also stretch the ankle by bending your foot towards your leg. This is to see how flexible your ankle is and if your calf muscles are tight. The doctor may also push your toes towards your ankle to see if this causes pain as well.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy of plantar faciitis

Physical therapy is usually prescribed or recommended by a doctor. Physical therapists will work with you to design a treatment plan that will make your foot more flexible, stretch the plantar fascia, and strengthen your leg muscles. They will also give you tips and show you different ways to treat your Plantar Fasciitis.

ALSO READ:  Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis
Stretching

One of the first things the physical therapist will do is stretching exercises. These will help increase the flexibility of your plantar fascia and ankle. Since these work together, it is a good idea to keep up with these exercises even after physical therapy is complete.

sport-woman stretching

A common stretch you will experience with physical therapy is sitting in a chair and placing one leg over the other. From there, grab your toes and pull them towards you until you feel a gentle stretch on the bottom of your foot. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, unless it is uncomfortable then release it early. Repeat three times and then switch legs. This loosens up the plantar fascia so it moves with you better, which will reduce the chance of micro tears.

Another stretch you may do is standing near a wall with one leg behind the other, for example, the right leg behind the left. Bend the left leg while keeping the right leg straight and both feet on the ground. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat three times and then switch legs. This stretches your Achilles tendon and your calf muscle.

Before you step out of bed in the morning, use a towel to stretch your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. While sitting in bed, put the towel around your foot, on the balls of your feet and arch, and then pull it towards you. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and then release it. Do this three times and move to the other foot. You should feel a stretch on the bottom of your foot, in your heel, and on the back of your lower leg.

By using a can or frozen water bottle, you can stretch the plantar fascia while calming inflammation. Put the item underneath your foot and roll it back and forth. You should push your foot down just enough to feel a gentle pressure, but it should not hurt. Do this for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch to the other foot. This can be repeated three times on each foot as well.

Night Splints

United Surgical Adjustable Night Splints (Large)

Night splints can be helpful to stretch out your plantar fascia without you having to do much. Night splints are worn while you are sleeping and taken off when you wake up. There are two types of splints, boot

Night splints can be helpful to stretch out your plantar fascia without you having to do much. Night splints are worn while you are sleeping and taken off when you wake up. There are two types of splints, boot splints and dorsal splints. The boot splint looks like a boot and covers the entire area from your calf all the way to your toes. Some boot splints have a wedge you can place under your toes for more of a stretch.


 The #1 Best Insoles for Foot Pain

If you have plantar fasciitis, high arches, flat feet, or other foot support issues, but would rather not purchase a new pair of shoes – add the Tread Labs Stride Insole to your existing shoes. The Stride Insole is biomechanically designed to support your arch and cure/prevent plantar fasciitis. Simply remove the factory insole from your favorite shoes and replace it with the Stride. The Stride comes in four different arch heights for each foot size, offers a lifetime guaranteed arch support and has a removable top cover. Take the Tread Labs Fit Quiz now and get THE BEST possible support for your feet.

#1 Best Support - Tread Labs Stride Insole

  • THE BEST support to prevent/cure Plantar Fasciitis.
  • Lifetime Guaranteed Arch Support.
  • Replaceable Top-Cover
  • Free shipping both ways.

Read Why Stride Insoles are the Best


A dorsal splint is a little more flexible than a boot splints because the arch and heel are left open. The stretch is done by the top of the foot being pulled toward the leg. Most dorsal splints are made out of thinner material than boot splints, however; not everyone finds relief with this type. It is a good idea to try both because everyone’s condition is different. What works for one person may not work for you. Talk to your physical therapist about what they recommend for your specific symptoms and your lifestyle.

Orthotics

Custom Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis by Corefit® Orthotics - Fight Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spur, Arch Pain, Pronation & Supination. (Handcrafted, Medical Grade, Custom Moldable, 3/4 Length Rigid Insoles) Men's 12

Orthotic inserts may also be recommended by a physical therapist. There are two types of inserts, full length and heel cups. The full length ones run the entire length of your feet. They provide arch support and heel cushioning. The heel cups are designed for those who just need support in the heel area. Some heel cups do provide a little arch support, but not like the full length inserts do. It is important to talk to your physical therapist about what type of orthotic inserts are right for your type of Plantar Fasciitis and pain.

Ice

rubbing ice

Ice reduces inflammation and pain in the plantar fascia. There are a couple ways your physical therapist may recommend to apply ice to your feet. You can do an ice massage for five minutes. This is when the ice is directly applied to your feet and rubbed on the sore area. Your physical therapist will show you how to do this before they tell you to do it at home. Another way to apply ice is by and ice pack. Use a barrier such as a towel between the pack and your foot. Leave it on for a maximum of 20 minutes. Take it off and use the ice pack up to three times a day. The last way is by an ice bath. Fill a bin full of water and ice to it. Submerge your feet in it for a few minutes, until you feel some relief from pain. Your physical therapist will give you more specific recommendations based on your condition.

Ice reduces inflammation and pain in the plantar fascia. There are a couple ways your physical therapist may recommend to apply ice to your feet. You can do an ice massage for five minutes. This is when the ice is directly applied to your feet and rubbed on the sore area. Your physical therapist will show you how to do this before they tell you to do it at home. Another way to apply ice is by and ice pack. Use a barrier such as a towel between the pack and your foot. Leave it on for a maximum of 20 minutes. Take it off and use the ice pack up to three times a day. The last way is by an ice bath. Fill a bin full of water and ice to it. Submerge your feet in it for a few minutes, until you feel some relief from pain. Your physical therapist will give you more specific recommendations based on your condition.

ALSO READ:  Plantar Fasciitis Socks?
Tape

arch brace Taping 2Tape is another helpful tool physical therapists will use. Most of the time, they will teach you how to tape your foot in the office before they send you home with an athletic tape. This way, you understand how to tape your own foot and what needs to be done. They will also teach you how to tell if the tape is effective and what to look for when it comes to tightness.

Tape is another helpful tool physical therapists will use. Most of the time, they will teach you how to tape your foot in the office before they send you home with an athletic tape. This way, you understand how to tape your own foot and what needs to be done. They will also teach you how to tell if the tape is effective and what to look for when it comes to tightness. Tape is effective because it takes the force and impact away from the plantar fascia, which allows the micro tears to heal and keeps you more comfortable.

The easiest taping method is to wrap a long strip of tape around the balls of your feet, the top of your foot, and back to where you started. Next, put a piece of tape from the balls of your feet to your heel, which will make part of an X. The next piece of tape should go opposite of the previous one, making the other half of the X. Put a piece of tape from the pinkie toe, around the heel, and then end up behind the big toe. The rest of the tape should be placed horizontally across the bottom of your foot, from the heel to the balls of your feet. Make sure the entire area is covered and it is not too tight. If you cannot move your toes, lose feeling, or they start turning blue, take the tape off right away as it is too tight.

Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections can be very helpful for relieving pain and inflammation in the short term with Plantar Fasciitis.

The short-term relief will help you work through your stretches and strengthening exercises so you are able to get stronger. The corticosteroids are injected directed into your plantar fascia to work right away on inflammation. The relief can come within a couple of days and last for a few weeks. This does require ongoing injections, so that is something to keep in mind if you do decide on corticosteroid injections. They can be stopped once your doctor feels like you have healed or your Plantar Fasciitis pain and inflammation is down. These are not normally done at Physiotherapy, but if you do get the injections, let your Physical Therapist know so they can adapt your treatment accordingly.

Physiotherapy is commonly prescribed or recommended by a doctor for Plantar Fasciitis. If you have been experiencing symptoms for a while and they do not get better, a consultation with a Physical Therapist may be helpful. They can set you on the right path when it comes to exercises, taping, ice, and other remedies for Plantar Fasciitis. Physical Therapist specializes in working with people who have soft tissue injuries, so it never hurts to get an evaluation.

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