Physiotherapy Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition that is caused by inflammation of the connective tissue that spans the bottom of your foot from your heel bone to the balls of your feet. This thick band of connective tissue, the plantar fascia, helps to support the arch of the foot. It also helps to propel you forward as it winds up the tendons of the sole of the foot on the push off part of the gait cycle. The plantar fascia is maximally stretched when your foot is on the ground and bearing your full body weight such as when you are transferring weight from one leg to another while walking.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
If the plantar fascia is overloaded or strained repetitively it can create micro tears which in turn will cause an inflammatory reaction and lead to pain.
- Over pronation of the foot or high arches
- Tightness in the calf muscles
- Weakness of the ankle and foot stabilizing muscles
- Prolonged weight bearing on hard surfaces
- Overuse and repetitive impact sports on hard surfaces
- High body mass index or weight gain
What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The pain from this inflammatory response is the main symptom of Plantar Fasciitis and most often appears along the bottom of the heel on the sole of the foot but can also travel through the arch. One common symptom is to have pain with the first few steps after a non-weight bearing period such as your first steps when you get up in the morning. This discomfort is then relieved with movement “walking it off” as the tissue warms up and pushes the cellular inflammatory by-products out of the way.
How can a Physiotherapy or Chiropractic treatment for Plantar Fasciitis help?
Plantar fasciitis can be treated very easily and effectively using conservative measures including extracorporeal shockwave therapy, hands on techniques, prescriptive exercises, therapeutic taping and footwear modification.
On your initial visit at Rebalance, your physiotherapist or chiropractor will assess the movement in your lower extremity to determine the root cause of your Plantar Fasciitis. Once the underlying cause is determined they will develop a treatment plan that will get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.
What are the best exercises to help with Plantar Fasciitis?
What should I avoid doing if I have Plantar Fasciitis?
If you have Plantar Fasciitis, you should avoid the following:
- Wearing unsupported footwear
- Walking prolonged periods when in pain
- Quick increase in sport or activity duration or intensity
- Running or walking on hard surfaces like concrete
- Running or walking barefoot on a beach
- Prolonged standing
- Heavy lifting, squatting or increasing load through the lower body
How long does it take to recover from Plantar Fasciitis?
Typically, if you seek out treatment right at the onset of symptoms, treatment success will be quicker, approximately 6-8 weeks. Research and clinical use of shockwave therapy on our patients has demonstrated fast resolution of symptoms compared to some other treatment methods. When combined with the right exercise program, symptoms can resolve in 3-5 sessions.
However, if Plantar Fasciitis symptoms are recurrent or have been lingering for some time, the condition can be more stubborn to treat. There are many factors that make this condition more difficult such as insufficient rest, inability to limit weight bearing, not following the recommendations and exercises provided by your physiotherapist in addition to contribution from the back and nerve. In some cases, it can take many months to achieve full resolution of symptoms.
If you think you may have Plantar Fasciitis it is important you get assessed and treated to prevent the injury from becoming chronic. To book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists or chiropractors in downtown Toronto, contact us today!
Alishah Merchant, FCAMPT Physiotherapist
Alishah Merchant is a FCAMPT physiotherapist practicing at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown Toronto.