P.T. professionals can help patients recover from plantar fasciitis


The pain can be agonizing. The causes varied. The impact, substantial. The condition? Plantar fasciitis.

One of the primary symptoms of plantar fasciitis is pain to the bottom of the foot upon getting out of bed in the morning. As the day progresses, the pain usually gets a little better but then worsens again after a full day of weightbearing.

Why are the symptoms so pronounced when a person awakens? When people are asleep, the body tends to go through a healing phase. When you stand in the morning it breaks up the healing phase of the fibrous connective tissue that makes up the plantar fascia.

Once plantar fasciitis has been established as the primary diagnosis, the treatment regimen is generally twice a week for three to six weeks.

The type of treatment is influenced by what stage the patient is in. If it is in the acute stage (first three-four weeks) physical therapists will utilize modalities to reduce the pain and inflammation, educate the patient as to what to do at home, get as much support in the shoe as possible, and provide exercises to activate the foot muscles and improve blood flow and healing.

For chronic heel pain, we use a different approach as the tissue has actually started to go through a degenerative process. In this case our therapists utilize a hands on soft tissue mobilization technique that brings blood and nutrients to the area as well as enhance collagen formation to stimulate healing. If the patient continues to have pain, we generally recommend alternative footwear and possibly an over the counter orthotic obtained at a sporting goods store or pharmacy.

At our clinic we are also big on cold treatments. We encourage our patients to fill a round plastic bottle with water and once frozen, gently roll the bottle under the foot for 5 minutes every night and before going to bed.

In our estimation physical therapy is probably the best resource in being able to respond to this condition. Plantar fasciitis is a soft tissue problem and physical therapists are expert in taking care of soft tissue problems. When combined with the therapist’s biomechanical analysis of your foot condition, our batting average has been relatively high in treating this condition.