April 19, 2022

Physical Therapy For Plantar Fasciitis

Author

Sam Sawicki, SPT

Read Time

5 minutes


Plantar Fasciitis

Do the first few steps in the morning hurt? Plantar Fasciitis, sometimes called plantar heel pain, is inflammation of the thick band of tissue on the bottom of your foot that connects the heel and toes. One in ten people will have plantar fasciitis in their life. Some factors that can contribute to plantar fasciitis are foot structure and improper footwear. You may experience pain with the first few steps in the morning that will subside as walking continues. Other symptoms could be pain in the calf with stretching.  Whether the pain is in the calf or the heel physical therapy (PT) can help fix it and get rid of your pain!

 

How can PT help?

            At Imagine Physical therapy, we use many different techniques to help reduce your pain while increasing your mobility and strength. One of the modalities that we use is dry needling with electrical stimulation or percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS). PENS is done to help reduce pain and increase range of motion by releasing taut bands or knots in the muscles.  Studies have shown that placing the needles in surrounding areas or muscles helsp with the pain in the plantar fascia. Another modality use at Imagine is therapeutic ultrasound.  Ultrasound is used to heat up the tissue to help reduce pain and increase tissues range of motion.  While using the ultrasound on the plantar fasciitis the patient receives the best therapeutic effect. Following both of these modalities stretching the calf and plantar fascia will help keep the new range of motion achieved.

            After treatment using orthotics and proper footwear can help keep the foot supported reducing pressure on the plantar fascia. The orthotic should be firm and help support the foot along the medial arch.  Along with orthotic proper footwear should be worn. This includes a motion-control shoe or firm shoe with a firm heel and mid-sole.

 

Steroid injections vs. PT

            Steroid injections are commonly used to help with inflammation.  These injections can help quickly reduce the pain in the area, however the effects may not last long. The Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) stated that steroid injections are not recommended because the risk does not outweigh the benefits. 

Physical therapy is a more conservative way to help manage the pain from plantar fasciitis. The CPG recommends manual therapy; taping, stretching, foot orthoses, and night splinting are the best way to treat plantar fasciitis. Unlike steroid injections, physical therapy can relieve the pain without any risks.  As mentioned above physical therapy uses different modalities to help reduce the pain followed by stretching. These conservative methods have fewer risks than steroid injections. PT also helps teach you techniques and strategies to help keep the pain away or manage if it comes back.

 

Contact Us!

 If what was described above is something you are feeling don’t wait any longer. Call Imagine Physical Therapy today to start feeling better right away.


References:

  1. Renan-Ordine R, Alburquerque-SendÍn F, Rodrigues De Souza DP, Cleland JA, Fernández-de-las-PeÑas C. Effectiveness of myofascial trigger point manual therapy combined with a self-stretching protocol for the management of plantar heel pain: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2011;41(2):43-50. doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.3504
  2. Tahririan MA, Motififard M, Tahmasebi MN, Slavashi B. Plantar fasciitis. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. 2012;17.
  3. Siavashi B, Naghshbandi SF, Zehtab MJ. Comparison of two methods of decreasing heel pain: Corticosteroid injection versus plantar fasciitis stretching. Iran J Surg 2009;17:26-31. 
  4.  Yelverton C, Rama S, Zipfel B. Manual therapy interventions in the treatment of plantar fasciitis: A comparison of three approaches. Health SA Gesondheid. 2019;24. doi:10.4102/hsag.v24i0.1244
  5. Martin RL, Davenport TE, Reischl SF, et al. Heel pain—plantar fasciitis: Revision 2014. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2014;44(11). doi:10.2519/jospt.2014.0303