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Physio for Plantar Fasciitis

How Can Physio Manage Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the bottom of your foot arch or heel. It is related to a thick ligament called the plantar fascia which supports the arch of your foot. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common orthopaedic conditions as this ligament experiences a lot of wear and tear during daily activities.

What is the Plantar Fascia?

The plantar fascia is a thick ligament connecting your heel to the front of your foot. It acts as a shock absorber and helps you to walk. The plantar fascia also creates your foot arch. This ligament is important to keep the bones and joints in your foot in position and enables you to push off the ground as you walk or run.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot arch pain and heel pain. This condition involves inflammation of the thick ligament. Plantar fasciitis is often caused by bruising or overstretching the plantar fascia ligament. This can cause inflammation and pain. Heel pain is also often related to heel bruising or a heel spur. Plantar fasciitis is very common in runners. It’s also often seen in those who are overweight or wear shoes that don’t provide adequate support.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis usually causes stabbing pain during the first few steps in the morning. This often decreases as you begin to move around, however it can return after prolonged periods of standing or even when standing up after sitting for a while. The pain is felt at the bottom of your foot at the back of the arch near the heel. This pain is usually worse after exercising, but usually not during. 

Some of the common symptoms you may experience include:

  • Foot arch pain or heel pain which is worse on awakening
  • Sharp pain in the bottom of the foot arch or heel
  • Foot arch pain or heel pain after prolonged standing 
  • Foot arch pain or heel pain after exercise but not during it
  • Mild inflammation

How Do Our Physios Treat Plantar Fasciitis Pain?

Your physio will do a thorough examination to diagnose plantar fasciitis. Occasionally further tests may be required such as an X-ray or ultrasound. Physio for plantar fasciitis can use a combination of treatments. Initially, treatment may consist of specific stretches, lower leg muscle strengthening, ice therapy, taping, orthotic prescription and lifestyle advice. Recovering from plantar fasciitis can take several months because the healing time of the plantar fascia ligament is fairly slow. 

What Home Exercises Are Recommended For Plantar Fasciitis?

Your physiotherapist may prescribe exercises to complete at home. This helps with the healing process and your physio will recommend the best exercises for you. Some exercises that you may be prescribed include:

  • Toe curls
  • Toe extensions
  • Calf stretches
  • Arch rolls

Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of foot arch and anterior (front of) heel pain which is often seen in runners or those who are overweight. Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation in the plantar fascia ligament from repetitive or forceful loading. This condition can happen due to trauma, injury or gradual loading. If you need more information about physio for plantar fasciitis contact our friendly and knowledgeable staff at Integrity Physio, we are always happy to help.

Director & Senior Physiotherapist at Integrity Physiotherapy, Leslie Trigg, has over 13 years of experience in clinical practice. He has graduated with a degree in Human Biology (Anatomy and Physiology) from Curtin University in 2001 and later completed a Masters of Physiotherapy in 2007. He has tremendous experience in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic, neurosurgical and sports physiotherapy. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, listening to music and spending time with his family.