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.

We would love to hear from you!

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  • Love working with Andrea. She is extremely knowledgeable in what she does and takes time to really listen to what is causing pain. I have seen a huge improvement! Wonderful for prenatal and postpartum!

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    Mackenzie Ivey
    5/28/2019

    What a positive experience. I was blown away, with how willing to help me they were. I have an old brace, and wanted to tune it up. everyone in town, could care less, but they not only took it on, but made me feel respected. My new brace this year will come from them, no matter what.

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    Chris White
    6/28/2014

    I definitely recommend Dynamic Bracing & Physical Therapy. They are well organized and efficient in all areas including insurance processing and therapy.
    My Physical Therapist, Jesse Dunne, did a great job of explaining what my problem was with my back. She gave me exercises to do at home and did her “magic” to make my back pain free.
    She also put on classes for runners to help with our form, strength and agility. Jesse really knows her stuff. I guess that’s why she has a Doctor of Physical Therapy after her name.

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    Jim Hoppe
    5/08/2019
  • I followed Jennifer and Darcy here. Best people ever. Met new good people once I got there. Thanks for great physical therapy and friendship!

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    Leanne Pardee
    6/28/2017

    Always courteous and friendly people. The staff has worked with me on various injuries - knee, hip, foot and low back. Because of their partnership, I remain very active and am getting stronger every day. A healing atmosphere with a fun vibe.

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    nicolette brant
    5/28/2019

    Andrea and the team at Dynamic Bracing are nothing short of incredible! Their holistic approach to patient care considers the whole person, not just isolated body parts. They are experts at using strain/counterstrain techniques to allow the body to heal and return to, or finally achieve, optimal functioning. Their model enables them to identify the source of the issue, versus treating random symptoms. I have tried chiropractic, massage therapy, and traditional physical therapy to heal my back and joints before I was introduced to the team at Dynamic Bracing. No other treatment has come close to giving me the instant relief that this has. If you are on the fence about going, I can assure you you won’t be disappointed. Their office is beautiful, clean, and tastefully decorated, (which I appreciate...it kind of has a spa feel to it). The only regret I have is that I didn’t know about them sooner!

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    Heather Connor
    5/15/2019