Do you have pain in the bottom of your foot or heel with the first steps in the morning?
You could be dealing with plantar fasciitis!
In this blog we will go over what exactly plantar fasciitis is and some of the early treatments we like to do!
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions in adults. Plantar fasciitis is considered a chronic condition and less of an inflammatory condition as once thought. The plantar fascia is tissue at the bottom of your foot that connects your heel towards your toes. The plantar fascia is very important in shock absorption with walking, running and high impact activities. It does this by supporting the arch of your foot and allows your muscles in the lower leg and feet to do their job.
Common Signs & Symptoms:
The hallmark sign of plantar fasciitis is pain at the bottom of the foot near the heel, especially the first couple steps in the morning, after being on your feet for prolonged period of time, or when walking for the first time after sitting/laying down for long periods of time.
Common Risk Factors:
The most common risk factor is increased body weight. As we mentioned, the plantar fascia supports the arch and the bottom of the foot via shock absorption. Therefore, if an individual gains weight, then there is increased stress on the plantar fascia and may become irritated over time.
Another risk factor is running. Running causes a lot of stress on the foot, and depending on an individual’s running mechanics, they may be placing excessive stress on the plantar fascia. Other common risk factors include a high arch and decreased ankle dorsiflexion range of motion.
What Does Rehab Look Like?
One of the most important things we have to be working on is regaining ankle mobility, specifically ankle dorsiflexion. Improving ankle mobility includes improving calf flexibility, ankle joint range of motion, and learning how to control the foot and ankle throughout a greater range of motion. Here is an exercise we like to use with our athletes.
Furthermore, plantar fasciitis tends to develop due to compromised movement mechanics in the foot and ankle that could have started at the foot or ankle or up the chain (hip/core weakness). Therefore, we suggest people dealing with this pathology to seek help from a physical therapist to provide corrective exercises to improve your mechanics. For example, you could have poor motor coordination to maintain a stable arch during walking or squatting leading to excessive stress on the plantar fascia; as a result, we would recommend arch lifting exercises in isolation then in functional positions to work on that coordination. Here is one exercise of learning how to create an arch
Another great thing we recommend our athletes is the Alleviate Plantar fasciitis system
The plantar fasciitis system comes with an ankle brace that helps alleviate stress on the plantar fascia by elevating the heel. It also comes with a massager to help decrease pain. The best thing from this plantar fasciitis system is that it also comes with an easy to follow arch exercise program. As we mentioned since it’s not an inflammatory issue we need to be loading the plantar fascia to improve its capacity and this program is perfect.
Moreover, there are other passive modalities that research has suggested to help manage plantar fasciitis. This includes night splints and over-the-counter or custom orthotics.
One of the biggest takeaways from this blog is to inform you that rest is not the answer for plantar fasciitis because it is not an inflammatory condition, rather an overuse condition. We mentioned several risk factors that may contribute to plantar fasciitis, such as being overweight, recent weight gain, running and a high arch. Good news is plantar fasciitis is curable; however, it requires a total strengthening program targeting the muscles starting from the bottom of your foot to your hip and core! We included some exercises here and also have included the alleviate plantar fasciitis system. We recommend this system because it not only comes with an ankle offloading brace and massage system, there is an easy to follow online arch program. Use code “BASKETBALLDOCS” for 15% off your order.
Martin et al. Heel Pain- Plantar Fasciits Clinical Practical Guideline 2014
Rhim et al. A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews on the Epidemiology, Evaluation, and Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis 2021
Dr. Gabriel Ignacio PT, DPT, OCS, TPI
Dr. Marco Lopez PT, DPT, CSCS
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