What is Plantar Fasciitis?
When you consider how much work your feet and ankles have to do, it's little wonder that these structures feature so many working parts, each of which must cooperate with the others to permit normal function. The foot contains up to one-quarter of all the bones in the human body, with 30 joints articulated by about a hundred different muscles and connective tissues. A network of fine nerves branches from the leg through the ankle and into the foot and toes - nerves which ensure that you feel pain whenever a problem occurs in this area. Since the foot and ankle are responsible for supporting and balancing your body under its full weight as you stand and move, even a small injury or dysfunction can cause big pain.
Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue on the underside of the foot, connecting from the heel to the ball of the foot. Plantar fasciitis typically occurs from tightening of the tissues under the foot and even further up in the legs. In addition, changes in the shape of the foot, such as fallen arches or changes in shoe wear can affect plantar fasciitis. Furthermore, with changes in walking posture for a variety of reasons, the strain on the plantar fascia can increase significantly.
Plantar fasciitis is commonly felt as burning or sharp pain when standing on the affected leg. This typically occurs first thing in the morning or with initial standing after sitting for a prolonged period. Inflammation builds up during the day in the fascia and may begin to hurt after prolonged walking. As you sit or sleep the inflammation thickens and the plantar fascia stiffens. When you go to step on the foot, the inflamed and stiff tissue stretches causing pain. Pain may be felt mostly in the heel but can extend along the bottom of the foot.
How Physical Therapy Helps
Physical therapy is very beneficial in treating plantar fasciitis. At first, we evaluate your movement, posture, walking pattern, ankle and foot mobility. Our gentle hands-on therapy is great for soothing the irritated tissue in the foot and also improving range of motion in the foot and ankle joints.
Modalities, such as ultrasound and ice may be used to reduce swelling and pain quickly. Our goal is to reduce your pain quickly and strengthen your feet for long-term results. Call us today to discover how we can help resolve your plantar fasciitis pain and get you quickly back on your feet!