One of the most common causes of heel pain today is plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis). As many as 2 million Americans per year experience Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis creates a pain that feels like someone is stabbing your heel as the inflammation of a thick band of tissue runs across the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes (plantar fascia).
Most people experience a stabbing pain, at the heel or along the arch and ball of the foot, first thing in the morning but as you move around the pain decreases. The pain has a tendency to reoccur after you have been sitting or standing for long periods of time or once you stand up from sitting as well as after you exercise
All individuals can be affected by Plantar fasciitis but runners, those who wear shoes with little support and overweight individuals tend to be affected the most and have a higher risk.
A normal plantar fascia supports the arch in your foot like a shock absorbing bowstring. Once the bowstring experiences too much tension and stress, small tears begin to occur. Continuous tearing and repetitive stretching creates an irritated or inflamed fascia.
At Oklahoma Physical Therapy we treat plantar fascitis by examining the heel through massaging and pressing on the heel to see if any palpations occur. We may also carefully stretch the ankle to bend the top of the foot towards the leg and gently pressing the toe toward the ankle. These techniques will allow us to create a customized treatment plan that degrease your symptoms and may include
- a series of exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon: allows the lower leg muscles to increase in strength which in turns help the ankle and heel stabilize
- apply ice: decreases pain and inflammation
- iontophoresis, which is a medication that is administered through the skin
- wrap athletic tape on the bottom of your foot: temporary solution that allows better support for your feet—we will teaching you the proper way to to wrap your foot when you are at home
At Oklahoma Physical Therapy we may also recommend that you wear a night splint or orthotics. In order to help your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon become stronger, a night splint is recommended. This splint helps stretch your calf and the arch of your foot while holding the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight. Orthotics allow the pressure of your feet to be distributed more evenly.
At Oklahoma Physical Therapy our therapists are specialized in plantar fasciitis and with our customized treatment plan your plantar fasciitis will improve over time.