Physical Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom of your foot.  It is most painful first thing in the morning, usually when you take the first steps in the morning.  Sometimes it can get better throughout the day but not always.

It is very important that when you have plantar fasciitis that you pay attention to your footwear.  You are not going to be able to just attend therapy or do a few exercises and eliminate the plantar fasciitis if you continue to wear improper foot wear that will continue to irritate the plantar fascia.

Improper footwear is barefoot, flip flops and high heels.  Basically any footwear that does not offer arch support is going to irritate the plantar fascia.  In order for the inflammation to resolve you need to wear proper footwear as an important part of a treatment.  Do not waste your time trying stretches and exercises and physical therapy if you are going to spend most of the day on your feet without proper footwear.  As the plantar fascia will continue to be irritated.

On top of proper footwear it is important to do other things to relieve the inflammation.  The first is to make sure that you are icing every day to eliminate the inflammation.  You want to make sure that you are icing regardless of whether the pain is there or not.  Just don’t ice on the ‘bad days’.  You should ice every day until the pain is gone for days, ensuring the inflammation is also gone.

The most effective way to ice is to fill up a plastic water bottle, freeze it, and then run it underneath your foot for 15 minutes.  At least once a day, but the most you ice throughout the day the quicker the inflammation is going to be relieved.

You also want to do some work on the plantar fascia.  This can be a golf ball or a beastie ball as shown in the video.  Whatever you chose to use, the ball should be firm and preferably have ridges or spikes to get into the plantar fascia.

You want to put the ball underneath the foot and roll it back and forth, going all the way to the back of the heel up to the toes.  Push as hard as you can tolerate but not so hard it makes you too sore to walk.  You should roll out the bottom of the plantar fascia about 5 minutes at least once a day but can be up to 3 times a day.  This is a great exercise that you can do while sitting at your desk or sitting and watching TV.

Next there are a few stretches to do to help eliminate the pain.  The first stretch is easier to understand by watching the video.  You can watch the video to see a better demonstration of this.  Start by finding a wall.  Then prop your toes up against the wall.  Slide your toes down the wall.  You will begin to feel a stretch on the bottom of the foot.  Stop when you feel a good stretch, do not go as far to feel pain.  You want to hold it for 30 seconds and perform 6 sets.  You can do this multiple times throughout the day to get the best results.

The final stretch is going to help stretch out the Achilles tendon.  This is commonly called a calf stretch.  One of the most popular ways to do it is to put the ball of your foot on a step and then drop you heel down.  You will feel a stretch in the back of the leg or the calf.

You can also do this on flat ground.  Lunge forward and keep the heel of the back foot flat on the ground.  Keep the toes pointed straight forward.  Also keep the back knee straight.  Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and perform 6 on each leg.

If you are experiencing plantar fascia pain in Harleysville, or Montgomery county or Bucks County, PA and you want to have a free consultation with one of our doctors of physical therapy, all you have to do is give us a call, (215) 997-9898 and we’d be happy to get you in.

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