Some people wait longer than they need to when it comes to getting help for lower foot pain. Yet physical therapy can not only ease the immediate pain of plantar fasciitis, but improve the condition itself.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Because the plantar fascia runs from the ball of your foot to the heel, and is fairly wide, this band of tissues may cause pain throughout much of the lower foot, or it can happen in specific areas.
Wear and tear of the plantar fascia tissues is the main cause of their inflammation and irritation. People in their 40s and older are more likely to feel arch and feel pain, because the tissues begin to wear down and tear more easily.
But athletes who put a lot of stress on their feet — especially runners, dancers and basketball players — can experience early onset plantar fascia. People whose jobs require long hours of standing, or who are overweight, are also susceptible.
Telltale Signs of Plantar Fasciitis
To confirm that foot pain stems from plantar fasciitis specifically, a physical therapist or doctor talks to the patient and checks the foot for areas of tenderness. X-rays are often unnecessary.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis may include:
- A stabbing sensation near the heel.
- Aching or tightness along the arch.
- Pain that “attacks” as soon as you get out of bed in the morning, or if you’ve been sitting for some time.
- Bouts of foot pain that set in after a workout, rather than during.
One of earliest things a physical therapist can do to get you on the road to recovery is help you eliminate habits that you may be doing without realizing they add to the problem. How you walk or stand or even sit may contribute to tissue tear. Modifying these actions not only increases comfort while you’re suffering, but help heal the condition itself.
Your physical therapist can also determine whether night splints, shoe inserts and corrective footwear can help your specific condition. Splints are useful for re-aligning toes and ankles, while specialized daytime footwear relieves stress on your lower foot, while containing food pronation problems.
In terms of targeted exercise, physical therapy for plantar fasciitis focuses on stretching movements. Specifically, during physical therapy you’ll learn how to increase flexibility in your plantar fascia and ankles.
If needed, your physical therapist can also apply ice and topical medication. He or she will additionally tape up the area, during periods of especially painful flare-ups.
Contact Walker Physical Therapy today and speak with our experts!