What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes pain in the bottom of your heel that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. The heel pain may be dull or sharp. The bottom of the foot may also ache or burn.
Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.
The pain is usually worse:
- In the morning when you take your first steps
- After standing or sitting for a while
- When climbing stairs
- After intense activity
What causes plantar fasciitis?
In most cases, plantar fasciitis develops without a specific, identifiable reason. There are, however, many factors that can make you more prone to the condition. You are more likely to get plantar fasciitis in the following circumstances:
- If you have foot arch problems, including both flat feet and high arches
- If you are a long-distance runner
- If you have had sudden weight gain, including pregnancy, or are obese.
- If you have a tight Achilles tendon
- If you wear shoes with poor arch support or soft soles
How do I treat plantar fasciitis?
When addressed early, most people who have plantar fasciitis recover with conservative treatments in just a few months. Rehabilitation includes rest, applying ice to the affected area, protection with taping and/or orthotics, anti- inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, cross-friction massage and stretching. It is important to allow the tissue time to heal. Then activity should be modified to minimize irritation, including decreasing mileage if you are a runner. If symptoms persist, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy for exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and strengthen the ankle and foot for improved stability. Your physical therapist may prescribe night splints help to stretch the heel while sleeping so the plantar fascia does not become contracted overnight. Once symptoms have subsided, shoe inserts, properly fitting footwear, and continuing your home exercises will help to maintain flexibility in the plantar fascia.
Why choose Peak Performance Physical Therapy?
Without early intervention plantar fasciitis can be a problem for months or even years. We are specially trained to evaluate and treat plantar fasciitis. No single treatment works best for everyone with plantar fasciitis. We find that many times it takes a combination of different approaches to get the best results. At Peak Performance we use the most advanced techniques and equipment in your individualized treatment program to help you find the therapies that work for you. Our physical therapists understand your drive to get better. They compete in running, cycling, triathlons, volleyball, softball, kickball, alpine skiing, snow- boarding, and adventure racing. They know what it is like to be injured and how good it feels to get back to doing what you love—pain-free.
Discover the Peak difference!
For more information, read the physical therapists’ guide to plantar fasciitis.