Our feet are an important part of our bodies because they allow us to walk, run, dance, and explore new places. Unless you are an avid shoe lover, you probably do not think about your feet very often until you develop a foot injury. There are many different ways you can injure your feet, but one common injury is Plantar Fasciitis. Most people have known someone with Plantar Fasciitis or have had the condition themselves, so you may be wondering how you can prevent Plantar Fasciitis or what to do if you think you have Plantar Fasciitis. Let’s look at what Plantar Fasciitis is and how to treat it.
There are three arches of the foot: the medial longitudinal, lateral longitudinal, and transverse arches. The medial longitudinal arch is the arch most visible when looking at the inside of the foot. The main component of this arch is the plantar fascia, which helps to absorb and dissipate force on the foot with each step. The plantar fascia is also important to create power for push-off in activities like running and jumping. The plantar fascia inserts into the medial tubercle of the calcaneus, which is on the inside-bottom surface, of the heel. Over time, the plantar fascia can get tight and hard or develop micro-tears near the insertion from having a tight plantar fascia and a high arch. Another possible cause of Plantar Fasciitis is from walking with too much eversion of the ankle.
The majority of people who develop Plantar Fasciitis report that the symptoms came on gradually, but occasionally an athlete will have an acute onset of Plantar Fasciitis during strenuous activity. For most cases of Plantar Fasciitis, symptoms include heel pain when walking, an increase in pain after prolonged sitting or when first getting up in the morning. Other symptoms include pain with palpation of the medial tubercle of the calcaneus, limited extension of the big toe, and either an excessively rigid or excessively loose foot. Many people also walk with an “antalgic” or limping gait pattern to try to put less pressure on the injured foot.
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis varies from person to person depending on symptoms and location of pain, which is why it is important to consult a skilled Physical Therapist. At your first treatment, the Physical Therapist will evaluate your unique situation and determine a treatment plan that may include manual therapy, ultrasound, dry needling, taping for arch support, and therapeutic exercises. If you are tired of living with foot pain, you should consult a knowledgeable Physical Therapist to help you get back on your feet and enjoying the activities that you love.