The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band that runs from the ball of the foot to the heel and assists with supporting the arch. Its main function is to absorb the high stress and strains that we place on our feet. However, too much pressure damages or tears the tissue. The body’s natural response to injury is inflammation. When this band becomes inflamed it is called plantar fasciitis and is one of the most common causes of foot pain.
Pain caused by plantar fasciitis is typically located in the arch of the foot and/or in the heel. Pain is usually worse with the first few steps in the morning or after prolonged sitting. Prolonged standing can also increase pain.
Plantar fasciitis usually develops without a specific cause or injury. However, there are several factors that can make you more prone to the condition. These factors include tight calf muscles, obesity, very high arched or flat feet, repetitive impact activities such as running, or prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces. Although many people who suffer from plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, research has determined that the heel spur does not cause the plantar fasciitis.
The good news is, most people who have plantar fasciitis recover with conservative treatment, such as physical therapy, within a few months. A physical therapist will instruct you in stretching exercises for the calf and plantar fascia along with strengthening exercises for the lower leg to help stabilize your ankle and heel. A physical therapist can also evaluate your foot posture and make recommendations on which type of shoes are best suited for you and if orthotics may be beneficial. Hands-on techniques, including massage and joint mobilizations, will also be utilized in PT to improve soft tissue and joint tightness.
Our physical therapists at Advance Physical Therapy are happy to provide a free consultation if you are dealing with foot pain. Contact us at 636-528-7333 to make an appointment.