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Plantar fasciitis: Is physical therapy the best option for treatment?



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Are you waking up to an intense, stabbing pain in your heel? If so, you may have plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition that develops in the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to the base of your toes. This band of tissue is known as the plantar fascia. Tension and stress on the plantar fascia can cause small tears, leading to inflammation. It’s especially common in runners and individuals with jobs that require long periods of standing, such as factory workers.

Thankfully, plantar fasciitis is a treatable condition. Some treatment options available include medication, steroid injections, surgery and physical therapy. Continue reading to learn more about the different treatment options for plantar fasciitis and why plantar fasciitis physical therapy may be the best option for you.

5 treatment options to support your recovery from plantar fasciitis

With conservative treatment, most people recover from plantar fasciitis within several months. Here are five treatment options:

  • Medication — Over-the-counter medication can help manage your plantar fasciitis symptoms. Look for pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). 
  • Splints or orthotics — Certain devices can help relieve the tension in your plantar fascia. Night splints can stretch your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon while you sleep. The splints hold your foot in a lengthened position overnight, reducing the tension in the area. Arch supports (orthotics) can help distribute the pressure on your feet, taking some of the stress off your plantar fascia. You can purchase off-the-shelf orthotics or have them custom-made to your foot shape. 
  • Injections — Your health care provider might recommend corticosteroid injections for your plantar fasciitis. Steroid injections can help provide temporary pain relief in your heel and along the bottom of your foot. However, frequent steroid injections can weaken your plantar fascia and possibly cause further damage to the tissue. 
  • Surgery — Few people need surgery to treat plantar fasciitis. Surgery is only used when plantar fasciitis pain is severe and other treatment methods have failed. A surgeon will detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone to relieve tension in the area. It can be done as an open procedure or through a small incision with local anesthesia. 
  • Physical therapy — A physical therapist can support your recovery from plantar fasciitis through methods such as manual therapy (massage therapy), guided movements and exercise. These techniques help address the root cause of plantar fasciitis by strengthening and stretching the affected area. This helps to reduce tension in your plantar fascia, improve your gait and promote healing in the damaged tissue. Plantar fasciitis physical therapy can be a great treatment option if you want to avoid using medication or surgery.

3 reasons why physical therapy may be the best option to treat your plantar fasciitis

Physical therapy can be an effective method to treat plantar fasciitis. Here are three reasons why plantar fasciitis physical therapy may be the best option for you:

  • Identifying a cause — A physical therapist is trained to evaluate your symptoms and identify their root cause. In the case of plantar fasciitis, your therapist may examine the arches of your feet and how you walk. They may also ask about your lifestyle and routine. Then, they will design a treatment plan tailored to your needs. A physical therapist takes the whole person into account when designing a treatment plan. This can result in treatment that more effectively targets your specific pain and discomfort. 
  • Managing symptoms — Plantar fasciitis physical therapy can help reduce your pain and inflammation. One physical therapy technique that a therapist can use to help reduce your pain is soft tissue mobilization. This technique is a type of manual therapy where a physical therapist uses their hands in order to break up scar tissue in your plantar fascia. The goal is to reduce pain and inflammation and promote healing in the area. A physical therapist may also use their hands to help stretch the muscles in your feet and calves. This can reduce tightness in the area and help restore your range of motion. 
  • Preventing recurrence —Physical therapy can help prevent your plantar fasciitis from returning. A physical therapist can help you improve your posture and gait. This will help place less strain on your plantar fascia. They can also design an exercise routine that strengthens your lower leg muscles. This will help stabilize your walk and lessen the stress on your plantar fascia. These exercises can help reduce your chances of developing plantar fasciitis again.

Our team at REPAIR Sports Institute can jump-start your plantar fasciitis recovery 

Don’t let plantar fasciitis get in the way of your daily physical activities. With the support of one of our physical therapists, you can jump-start your recovery from plantar fasciitis and get back to doing what you love.

Contact our team for more information on plantar fasciitis physical therapy. If you think physical therapy sounds like the best option for you, you can schedule an initial appointment today.