The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the calcaneous, or heel bone, to the base of the toes. It acts as a shock absorber by supporting the arch of the foot and thereby preventing strain on the tissues and joints of the foot and ankle.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition where the plantar fascia becomes inflamed due to increased repetitive tension on the tissue. Sharp pain and tenderness is usually felt close to the heel bone and in the arch of the foot. The pain is generally the worst with the first few steps in the mornings or with standing after sitting for a long period of time.
There are several risk factors and causes of plantar fasciitis. People with faulty foot mechanics, such as having a very high or very low arch, or gait are prone to irritation and damage of the plantarfascia. Runners, dancers, and those who hold occupations that involve standing for long periods of time, such as construction or retail workers, are also prone to getting plantarfasciitis.
Sharp pain in the inner heel or arch of foot, especially with the first few steps in the mornings or after prolonged sitting/ standing
CAUSES & RISK FACTORS
- Being overweight that puts constant strain on the plantar fascia
- Long distance running or sports activities that put increased stress on the heel
and plantar fascia
- Excessive pronation/ supination of foot
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Physical therapy is commonly prescribed for conservative treatment of plantarfasciitis. Before you start exercises, your therapist will manually stretch and massage the plantarfascia and use modalities to decrease inflammation in the foot. A home program that includes stretches for the calf muscle and plantarfascia is vital to recovery and you will be instructed in doing these properly during your therapy sessions.
A night splint or taping methods, such as with rigid or kinesiotape, may also be included as part of your treatment if your symptoms don’t improve after a few sessions.