PLANTAR FASCIITIS

Plantar Fasciitis

 

Plantar fasciitis is a condition causing heel pain. Supporting the arch, the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue connecting the heel to the ball of the foot, can become inflamed or can tear. You experience pain when you put weight on your foot—particularly when taking your first steps in the morning. The pain can be felt at the heel, or along the arch and the ball of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition. It occurs in as many as 2 million Americans per year and 10% of the population over their lifetimes.

Factors that contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Age (over 40 years)
  • A job, sport, or hobby that involves prolonged standing or other weight-bearing activity
  • Rapid increases in length or levels of activity, such as beginning a new running program or changing to a job that requires a lot more standing or walking than you are accustomed to
  • Decreased calf muscle flexibility
  • Increased body weight (Body Mass Index greater than 30)
  • Tendency to have a flat foot (pronation)

Plantar fasciitis affects people of all ages, both athletes and non-athletes. Men and women have an equal chance of developing the condition. Treatment generally reduces pain and restores your ability to put weight on your foot again.

 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition causing heel pain. Supporting the arch, the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue connecting the heel to the ball of the foot, can become inflamed or can tear. The condition develops when repeated weight-bearing activities put a strain on the plantar fascia. People who are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis also may have heel spurs, a bony growth that forms on the heel bone. However, people with heel spurs may not experience pain.

Plantar fasciitis occurs most frequently in people in their 40s but can occur in all age groups.

The condition can develop in athletes who run a great deal and in non-athletes who are on their feet most of the day, such as police officers, cashiers, or restaurant workers.

 

Signs and Symptoms

The onset of symptoms of plantar fasciitis frequently occurs with a sudden increase in activity. You might feel a stabbing pain on the underside of your heel, and a sensation of tightness and/or tenderness along your arch.

People with plantar fasciitis may experience pain:

    • In the morning, when stepping out of bed and taking the first steps of the day
    • With prolonged standing
    • When standing up after sitting for awhile
    • After an intense weight-bearing activity such as running
    • When climbing stairs
    • When walking barefoot or in shoes with poor support

 

As your body warms up, your pain may actually decrease during the day but then worsen again toward the end of the day because of extended walking. Severe symptoms may cause you to limp.

 

How Is It Diagnosed?

 

The physical therapist’s diagnosis is based on your health and activity history and a clinical evaluation. Your therapist also will take a medical history to make sure that you do not have other possible conditions that may be causing the pain. Sharing information about the relationship of your symptoms to your work and recreation, and reporting any lifestyle changes, will help the physical therapist diagnose your condition and tailor a treatment program for your specific needs.

To diagnose plantar fasciitis, your therapist may conduct the following physical tests to see if symptoms occur:

        • Massaging and pressing on the heel area (palpation)
        • Gently stretching the ankle to bend the top of the foot toward the leg (dorsiflexion)
        • Gently pressing the toes toward the ankle

 

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

 

Physical therapists are trained to evaluate and treat plantar fasciitis.

When you are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, your physical therapist will work with you to develop a program to decrease your symptoms that may include:

        • Stretching exercises to improve the flexibility of your ankle and the plantar fascia
        • Use of a night splint to maintain correct ankle and toe positions
        • Selection of supportive footwear and/or shoe inserts that minimize foot pronation and reduce stress to the plantar fascia
        • Application of ice to decrease pain and inflammation
        • Iontophoresis (a gentle way to deliver medication through the skin)
        • Taping of the foot to provide short-term relief

Research shows that most cases of plantar fasciitis improve over time with these conservative treatments, and surgery is rarely required.

 

Can this Injury or Condition be Prevented?

 

Guidelines for the prevention or management of plantar fasciitis include:

        • Choosing shoes with good arch support
        • Replacing your shoes regularly, so that they offer arch support and provide shock absorption to your feet
        • Using a thick mat if you must stand in one place for much of the day
        • Applying good principles to your exercise program, such as including a warm-up and gradually building up the intensity and duration of your exercises to avoid straining the plantar fascia
        • Stretching your calves and feet before and after running or walking
        • Maintaining a healthy body weight

If you feel you may have the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, feel free to set up a detailed evaluation with one of our trained therapists.

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  • Before I met Andrea, I was receiving counterstrain therapy at a different location. When that therapist retired, she recommended me to Andrea, and I haven't looked back! Nobody else has been able to so effectively treat my wide range of issues (everything from hypermobility to severe neck issues caused by a car crash) with such a friendly caring attitude! You can tell she truly cares about the health and well-being of all of her patients, and I highly recommend her to anybody seeking physical therapy or even pain relief from any issue. You won't regret it!

    I have been going to her for over five years now. Her style is to use strain and counterstrain techniques combined with strengthening exercises to best stabilize and strengthen your body. She listens to each of your concerns and can treat both the entire body and/or just a specific area. It is fascinating to feel the instantaneous relief as she works on me, and I always walk out the door feeling 10 times better than I walked in.

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    Shannon H
    10/04/2019

    Andrea and Arch are great to work with. They took the time to fully evaluate me and developed a course of therapy to achieve specific goals. So happy I chose them!

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    Rob Brewer
    6/28/2013

    Dynamic bracing offers not only physical theraphy, but also strain/counterstrain for chronic pain. I have tried lots of different things, but strain/counterstrain gives me the most relief from pain. Awesome, caring, skilled therapists

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    Carol Marley
    5/28/2019
  • The office staff are very welcoming and the 2 therapists I've seen are excellent. I really like the strain/counter strain modality they use. I've experience a lot of physical therapy and my results are much better with this technique. They also make use of the BEMER technology for increased circulation/blood flow to support treatment results.

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    Elizabeth Pike
    5/28/2019

    Since treatments I've had reduced pain and have been able to sleep through the night. Andrea and Becky provided treatments but the entire staff is professional and caring. I can move better and have put off surgery for the time being.

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    Russelle Mazulo
    5/28/2019

    The whole team here are so exceptional that words can barely describe. I have a condition that is rarely studied by doctors called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I have seeked treatment by Chiropractors, Acupuncturist, etc, etc. The Strain Counter Strain treatments are beyond amazing in relieving my pain! I don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell everyone that they have some of the most modern and technological exercise equipment ever seen! And holy moly they have bracing for everything. I got a SI joint brace...yeah I said SI joint brace...who has ever heard of one of those? Anyhoo go see them if you have any type of pain from athletic muscle strains to chronic pain from EDS, MS, ALS, etc. I swear their practice can give you some relief. Andrea has magic in her hands!!

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    brian simmons
    5/28/2019