What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the thick, fibrous band of tissue that connects from the heel to the toes, supporting the muscles of the bottom of the foot. “Plantar” means to the bottom of the foot. “Fascia” is supportive tissue. When Plantar Fascia becomes overly stretched, it swells and becomes quite painful.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the Plantar Fascia is overly stretched. Contributing factors are age, gender (it is more common in women), overweight, spending many hours on your feet, switching from high heeled shoes to flat shoes, as well as wearing shoes that are too worn out. Finally, people with flat feet, and legs of uneven length are at greater risk.
Who is at a Greater Risk?
Older people, especially women, and people with contributing factors as above.
Signs/Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Intense pain in the heel occurs when taking the first steps in the morning. The fascia while you sleep tighten as a result of on-going pressure from being on your feet during the day.
Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis
Diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis is usually based on the history of the foot/ankle problem and a physical exam.
PT Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
Stretching and massaging the Plantar Fascia before standing up can often reduce heel pain. You may be advised to apply ice packs to your heel or to use ice block to massage the Plantar Fascia before going to bed each night. Ultra sound therapy can be performed, this can increase circulation and aid healing.
1. Plantar Fasciitis Stretching Exercises: (picture)
Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis requires holding onto a countertop or table and squatting down slowly, knees bent. The heels of both feet must be kept in contact with the floor while squatting. After seconds, straighten up and relax. The stretch is felt as the heels start to raise off the ground. Repeat this exercise stretching the Achilles tendon requires leaning into a wall. Place one leg back behind the other leg. Keep knee straight with the heel on the ground while bending the front knee. While leaning forward, the stretching can be felt in the heel cord and foot of the straight leg. Again, after 10 seconds, straighten up and relax. Repeat exercise 15-20 times with both legs.
2. Plantar Fasciitis Exercise (Incline Board Stretch): (picture)
Take a book, board or other device and place it on the floor about two feet from the wall. Place your foot on the device. With your knee straight, lean into the wall keeping your hips and legs in a straight position. Lean in and hold for five seconds. Then do ten to twenty heel raises. Relax and repeat the exercise for a few minutes. Do this with the knee slightly flexed for the same amount of time.
3. Plantar Fasciitis Exercise (Towel Stretch): (picture)
Take a wide belt and hold one end in each hand. Place the center of the belt over the ball of the foot with your knee straight, pull your ankle back toward you using the belt and the muscle on the front of your heel about reverse stretching your arch. Pull back and hold for ten seconds. Relax and repeat for five to ten minutes.
4. Massaging (pictured)
Massaging the bottom of your foot across the width of the Plantar Fascia.
Warming up and stretching will increase your flexibility, and decrease the chance of inflammation of your Plantar Fascia.
Plantar Fasciitis Exercise Massage:
Use some type of tubular device placed in the center of the arch. This should be about two inches and padded. Sitting with your knee bent to ninety degrees begin to gently roll your foot over the massage. Increase the pressure until you just begin to feel slight discomfort in the affected area. Maintain that pressure and continue to roll massage for 5 to 10 minutes.
Additional Options for Plantar Fasciitis
Deciding whether to have surgery for Plantar Fasciitis will involve several issues, including the severity of our condition, the success of past treatment, and whether your condition is preventing you from working or participating in an athletic or exercise program. Consider the following when making your decision:
According to the article published in New England Journal of Medicine in 2004,
Vol. 350 (21): 2159-2166 states that you may not need surgery. Only about 5% of people with Plantar Fasciitis do. Experts recommend that you try at least 6 months of non-surgical treatment before you consider surgery.
Surgery may be right for you if you continue to have severe heel pain despite 6 to 12 months of home treatment or if heel pain is affecting your ability to work or participate in a reasonable athletic program.
If you do need surgery, it will most likely lessen your heel pain. Of the few people who require surgery, about 75 out of 100 have less pain than they did before surgery.
Having surgery is not a guarantee that your heel pain will go away. About 25 out of 100 people who have surgery continue to have heel pain.
2. Plantar Fasciitis Taping
Plantar Fasciitis taping is often used to alleviate stress on the Plantar Fascia ligament since it limits the movement of the fascia. Plantar Fasciitis taping thus can relieve some pain and inflammation associated with Plantar Fasciitis. Athletic tape is widely available in most drug stores. Taping is widely used among athletes can ease some tension and stress placed on the Plantar Fascia ligament by limiting the amount of stretching it can do, therefore keeping it from stretching excessively which could result in tears in the fascia fibers.
Taping for Plantar Fasciitis is a relatively simple method used to help ease pain associated with the condition. Athletic tape can be applied in the morning to reduce strain throughout the day, or just prior to exercise to keep the fascia from moving too much during physical activity. It is recommended that the tape not be left on the foot all day as well as all night because this prevents the skin from being able to breathe. To help the tape stick, it should be cleaned with a non-moisturizing soap. In addition, feet should also be kept dry.
The success of Plantar Fasciitis taping may vary depending on the person and on the severity of their case of Plantar Fasciitis. Sometimes taping will not yield any success in reducing pain. In other cases however, taping may be able to decrease symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis, however it will not be able to completely reverse the condition.
3. Acupressure & Acupuncture:
Obtained as local pain relieving method, this option will work best in association with exercises and massage.