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Plantar Fasciitis: How to Prevent It and What to Do If You Think You Have It?

What exactly is plantar fasciitis? Simply put, it is irritation of the tissue under your foot from your heel to your toes called the plantar fascia. It is the most common cause of heel pain. Based on your job, daily activities, and body mechanics, you may already be at a higher risk of being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis despite not having heel pain currently.

According to research, some risk factors include:  

  • High levels of work-related weight-bearing activity  
  • Prolonged Standing 
  • Running  
  • High BMI in non-athletic individuals  
  • Reduced ankle range of motion (especially bending your ankle which is called dorsiflexion) 

Why should I go to a physical therapist?  

A physical therapist will be able to assess your foot posture (see feet’ role in determining post), functional impairments, strength, ankle range of motion, and overall body mechanics. High-level evidence supports interventions of manual therapy, stretching, and taping to treat plantar fasciitis which a physical therapist is trained to administer.

What if I don’t have pain right now but some of the risk factors apply to me? 

Impairments or dysfunctions of the body can occur without pain (also referred to as “asymptomatic”). Preventative measures will include an assessment of your physical impairments, body mechanics, posture, activity level, and occupational requirements. These will determine a treatment plan to promote improved body mechanics and posturing through varied strengthening, stretching, functional treatments, and manual therapy.

I have heel pain and would like to start physical therapy. What can I expect treatment to be like? 

If you are currently experiencing heel pain, our assessment will be similar to what is mentioned above with an emphasis on finding addressing pain-provoking tissues/movements first. Your treatment will be individualized to you. At React PT, we look at the entire body to find out what movement patterns are causing you pain. We will help strengthen your core, hip, and knee to improve your control and movement mechanics.   

If any of these factors relate to you or you are currently dealing with heel pain, come in for a free 30-minute screen and one of our physical therapists can help advise you on the next steps that are best for you. 

Written by: Sharzad Ayrempour, SPT

References 

  1. Lim AT, How CH, Tan B. Management of plantar fasciitis in the outpatient setting. Singapore Med J. 2016;57(4):168-171. doi:10.11622/smedj.2016069 
  1. Martin, R., Davenport, T., Reischl, S., McPoil, T., Matheson, J., Wukich, D., McDonough, C., Altman, R., Beattie, P., Cornwall, M., Davis, I., DeWitt, J., Elliott, J., Irrgang, J., Kaplan, S., Paulseth, S., Torburn, L., Zachazewski, J. and Godges, J., 2014. Heel Pain—Plantar Fasciitis: Revision 2014. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 44(11), pp.A1-A33. 
  1. Mayo Clinic. 2021. Plantar fasciitis – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354846> [Accessed 18 February 2021].
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