April is National Foot Health Awareness month and we want to encourage you to be mindful of your feet and keeping them healthy. As part of National Foot Health Awareness month I would like to focus upon a very common problem that many people experience in their life, often causing extreme foot, leg and heel pain. Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common reasons for heel pain and experienced by a number of people. There are many options available to help with the pain of plantar fasciitis, including physical therapy.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
According to the Mayo Clinic “Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis can cause intense heel pain.”
It causes stabbing sensation in the foot, especially when getting out of bed in the morning. It is not unusual for the pain to subside
with movement or stretching. The pain tends to reoccur after prolonged sitting, standing, or walking.
Causes include weight, age, activity, and even gender. Certain activities such as running and dancing can place stress on the heel. Women are also more prone then men, especially when pregnant.
Often, people who suffer from plantar fasciitis have tighter and weaker foot muscles. As your Live Your Life Physical Therapists, we will conduct a detailed evaluation of the strength, flexibility and stability of the muscles and ligaments around your foot and ankle to determine the best course of action.
The right exercise program can strengthen the ankle and foot muscles, which reduces the strain on the plantar fascia. This helps reduce the pain and discomfort.
We may also decide to combine exercises for plantar fasciitis with orthotics. These are typically custom made inserts that are built to conform to the unique shape and arches of your feet. Ice, rest, taping and modalities, such as iontophoresis are also helpful.
There is the option of surgery to “fix” your plantar fasciitis; however, surgery is a last resort for most people as it is very invasive, requires a lengthy heal time and generally tends to be extremely short-term as the pain comes back quickly for most. Because you weight bear through your foot, it takes several weeks or months to heal. Once the foot is healed from the surgery, you may need physical therapy to help you heal. Once the healing is complete there is no guarantee that the plantar fasciitis will not return; often the pain will reoccur in a matter of weeks, placing you in the same exact position you were in at the beginning. This is why most people will try physical therapy and other non-evasive procedures before considering surgery.
Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis is not something that cures itself quickly and you must be willing to work continuously to bring the foot to a pain free state. The key is to perform the exercises with absolute regularity and make lifestyle modifications.
There is no one successful way to relieve the pain from plantar fasciitis; as different people have different results, using various treatment interventions. If you are experiencing foot or heel pain, contact us today. We can come to you and determine the best course of action. We are committed to helping you Live Your Life PAIN FREE!
Dedicated to Keeping You Healthy & Active,
Dr. Eva Norman
President & Founder
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Live Your Live Physical Therapy, LLC
 Plantar Fasciitis. (n.d). In the Mayo Clinic Diseases and Conditions. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/multimedia/plantar-fasciitis/img-20006161