Physiotherapy for Plantar Fasciitis

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One of the most painful and common foot conditions is plantar fasciitis as it’s often difficult to treat. The pain is centered in the heel and treatments are designed to decrease both inflammation and the discomfort. In addition, the possible causes of the condition should be identified and corrected. After that, patients need to improve their flexibility and strength while returning to full fitness as quickly as possible.

The plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue which originates at the bottom of the heel bone and then extends along the foot’s sole to the toes. When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed or tears because of being overstretched it’s called plantar fasciitis. The condition is generally caused by compression or traction injuries which are often associated with running and impact sports. It can also be caused by bad foot biomechanics which place stress on the plantar fascia. This can be the result of weak muscles or flat feet. You’ll notice more pain in the heel area when plantar fasciitis starts to deteriorate, especially during exercise and after it. You may also begin to feel the pain even when weight bearing or resting.

If you’re feeling pain in the heel then don’t hesitate to contact us at Fit Physiotherapy. We’ll be able to fully diagnose the condition with a clinical examination. We’ll also be able to determine what is causing the problem and help develop a treatment plan to cure it and decrease the chance of any future bouts. Our team of professional therapists will be able to suggest healthy changes to your lifestyle and footwear to help reduce the chances of suffering from plantar fasciitis in the future. Our physiotherapists are specially trained in foot assessment and biomechanical correction.

Plantar fasciitis is often helped by a combination of different treatments as this is the most effective approach. At Fit Physiotherapy we aim to diminish the pain and inflammation as quickly as possible and this is often done with manual therapy, shockwave therapy, stretching and strengthening. It’s usually recommended that you stay off your feet as much as possible. Below are some helpful tips which may help ease the pain of plantar fasciitis in the early stages.

Footwear
It’s recommended that you wear comfortable, cushioned shoes while avoiding high heels or flat soles. Try not to walk on your bare feet, especially on rigid surfaces. Walking on a hard surface will typically increase the strain under your feet.

Apply Ice
Ice applications are ideal for many types of injuries, including plantar fasciitis. You should apply a cold pack or ice massage on the affected area for about 10 minutes each hour during the first day of the symptoms. You can then reduce this to three-to-five times per day when the symptoms begin to ease.

Tape the foot
You may want to tape your foot to support and protect the fascia until walking  can be achieved without any pain. If the taping works, then orthotics will likely also be able to correct your foot biomechanics. These will help stop the condition from returning in the future.

Medications
In the early stages of the condition, your doctor may recommend Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help reduce the swelling and pain.

Orthotics
Orthotic inserts may also be recommended to help ease the strain on the foot. These can often be fitted by a podiatrist or sports injury professional and should always be worn.

Exercises
It’s important that you stay off your feet as much as possible if standing or walking causes you pain. However, it’s possible that you may be able to cycle and/or swim with the condition to maintain your fitness.

Night splint
You may want to wear a plantar fasciitis night splint while sleeping if it helps relieve the pain.

Stretching
Depending on the level of pain, you may be able to stretch the plantar fascia as well as all other lower leg muscles during your rehabilitation period as well as after the condition has healed.

Ice and massage
Once you’re able to walk without any pain, you should continue to ice the affected area after walking and exercising. Massage will also help to improve and stretch the elasticity of the area. If you’re unable to visit a therapist you can roll your foot over the top of rolling pin or ball for 10 minutes per day to help stretch the area.

Walking
If the pain has disappeared for a week you can slowly increase the amount of stress placed on the foot. This can be done by walking further distances and at a quicker pace. However, if it causes pain, then be sure to slow things down. If you can walk pain-free you may be able to return to your normal athletic routine if you have one. Be sure to wear the proper type of footwear for your chosen sport and apply ice to your foot for about 10 minutes after training and playing. In addition, don’t forget to stretch both before and after physical activity.

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