Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot. This band of connective tissue (the plantar fascia) connects your heel bone to your toes like a bowstring, supporting the arch of your foot and providing shock absorption when you walk and run.
People who spend extended periods of time on their feet, do lots of high-impact activities, have flat feet or abnormal foot mechanics, or who wear shoes with inadequate support are particularly susceptible to developing plantar fasciitis.
If the plantar fascia is stressed over long periods of time, the tissue starts to pull away from the heel bone and tiny tears can occur in the connective tissue, causing inflammation and pain. Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain near your heel that is usually at its worst first thing in the morning and may decrease over the course of the day, but usually returns with long periods of standing or with high-impact activities, like running and jumping. Having tight muscles in your legs or poor joint mobility in your ankle can put added strain on the plantar fascia, so doing regular calf stretches and improving flexibility in your legs and feet can help relieve and even prevent plantar fasciitis.
If plantar fasciitis is left untreated, the body has to compensate with other muscles of the lower body, which can lead to an abnormal gait and result in hip, knee, and back pain. Untreated plantar fasciitis can also lead to the formation of a heel spur (where the body builds up a bony deposit in the heel in response to the constant increased tension) or to more serious damage to the plantar fascia, especially if you continue to place large amounts of stress on your foot.
What can physiotherapy do?
The first step in treating Plantar Fasciitis is to remove the overstress situation by addressing abnormal muscle length, poor foot mechanics or support, and activity modification.
Treatment is aimed at resolving the chronic inflammatory response using local modalities such as:
Aquatic exercise or other reduced weight-bearing activities
When the area is responding well, we will direct you to exercises that are aimed at improving your foot and lower extremity alignment, balance and stability in order to remove the overstress situation from the bottom of your foot for the long term.