Plantar Fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain caused by an injury to the Plantar fascia. The heel pain that results from micro tears and inflammation of the fascia is referred to as plantar fasciitis. Physical Therapy can play a part in treatment and help relieve the pain resulting from Plantar Fasciitis.
What is Plantar fascia?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue at the sole of the foot that makes up the arch of the foot. Furthermore, It is the largest ligament of the body connecting the base of toes to the heel bone. As per research, females are more prone to injure their plantar fascia as compared to males. Usually, an overuse injury causes inflammation in this fibrous band.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis:
- A gradual onset of heel pain.
- Pain can radiate down to sole and arch of feet.
- Pain is usually worse in the morning. eg. First few steps out of the bed may be excruciatingly painful.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis:
- An injury or strain to the ligament
- Improper shoes – mainly very soft soles or no cushions on the soles. Details on how to find a properly fitting pair of shoes is here.
- Constant standing or walking for long periods of time on a daily basis
- Any activity that puts a lot of pressure on heel or foot.
- Long distance runner or joggers can develop this pain if they are not using proper ergonomics
- Flat feet or high arch. Both conditions put more pressure on the plantar fascia, making a person susceptible to injury.
- Pregnancy, usually third trimester.
Treatment options for Plantar Fasciitis :
In the acute phase of the condition, the best option is to rest until inflammation resolves. To reduce pain and inflammation, follow the following :
Icing or cold therapy:
Ice on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes for 2 to 3 times a day.
Anti-inflammatory injection administered at the site can help in the temporary relief of the pain and inflammation.
Taping of plantar fascia has proven to be effective in reducing the pain and inflammation. You should visit a healthcare professional like a physical therapist to perform the tapping properly.
Stretching exercises (described below)
Stretching of arch:
Usually stretching the arch helps to relieve some pain. Below is the easiest method that I find to stretch. You can do that while sitting anywhere.
I have talked about calf muscles stretching here.
Arch support is obtained by investing in some quality insoles to support your arches. Also, Depending on the severity and frequency of plantar fasciitis, you can also get relief by investing in customized arch support.
Preventative measures for Plantar Fasciitis:
Exercises to strengthen the small muscles around toes help prevent the plantar fascia from being sad and traumatized again!! And, below are few figures that describe strengthening exercises to perform.
A Toe curl is a very easy and fun exercise to perform. You can use a thin bed sheet or towel as shown in the figure. Also, you can make it little challenging by trying to hold and lift the bed sheet/towel. See if you can keep your toes curled at the same time maintaining your grasp.
In addition, this is actually a fun idea to do as a game if you have a group of people complaining of Plantar Fasciitis. Most of all, remember, no exercises should be done during the acute phase of injury. A spiky foot massage ball, like this, is something I like to use with my patients for pain relief and exercise.
Toe Flexion and Abduction:
Toe Flexion and Abduction is nothing but moving the toes up – down and side to side. Additionally, You can use a T- Band to add some resistance.
Frequency: All of these exercises should be done for 12 to 15 repetitions 3 times a day in a pain-free range.