How to treat Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is associated with pain on your heel bone and/or in the arch of your foot. In this article, we will discuss treatment options for Plantar Fasciitis. If you want more information about what Plantar-Fasciitis is and its causes, then please read our article here.
Short Term Relief from Plantar Fasciitis
Night-Splints & Compression socks:
There is a small body of evidence to suggest that if you wear a splint or sock overnight, it maintains tension on the plantar fascia and can reduce your morning pain. On a practical level, we have found that plantar fascia splints are obtrusive and uncomfortable. As a result, people tend to take them off in the middle of the night. Therefore they tend to be ineffective.
All forms of physical therapy, whether it is massage, mobilisations or manipulations provide you with short-term relief through the stimulation of mechanoreceptors. This can reduce your levels of pain, and therefore immediately after your treatment you may experience some symptom relief. We have found this can be useful if you have particularly high levels of pain, to facilitate long-term rehabilitation.
Rolling your foot over a ball or a frozen bottle of water:
It is important to remember that there is an inflammatory element to Plantar-Fasciitis and therefore pressing on it with a hard item is unlikely to help. Foam rolling areas, such as the calf and mid-foot may provide you with some relief. When using a frozen bottle of water, you are essentially numbing the area which can give short-term relief.
Applying Plantar Fascia taping to your foot can reduce the intensity of your symptoms by reducing the amount of stretch that is placed on your plantar fascia when you walk. If it reduces your symptoms or alleviates them completely, then there is scope to argue that an orthotic may be beneficial in the short to medium term.
Long Term Management of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar-Fasciitis has a love-hate relationship with loading. So what does this mean?
Loading is any form of physical stress placed on a tissue, i.e. your step count, how much time you spend on your feet daily, how often or far you run. These are all forms of potential overload and need to be managed. However, to rehabilitate your plantar fasciitis you need to do a specific form of loading for the plantar fascia. Please follow this link to get your free rehabilitation plan.
Poor load management is one of the most influential factors as to why anyone encounters plantar fasciitis. Therefore, if you fail to manage your load, it is extremely difficult to treat this condition. We recommend that you get an objective measure of the number of steps you take daily, so you can start to reduce your load. This temporary reduction will help decrease your pain levels and facilitate the isolated strengthening of your plantar fascia. Guided by your therapist, when your symptoms improve, you will be able to have a graded return to your desired activity level.
When you stand with your full weight on your foot, your plantar fascia is stretched. As it is connected to the big toe, when you push off, it places torsion on your plantar fascia. Using an orthotic or insole can reduce the stretch on your plantar fascia, leading to a significant reduction in pain levels. It is recommended that you use orthotics in conjunction with a loading program.
We recommend that you receive an official diagnosis before trying any of the above as there are numerous conditions that have a similar presentation to plantar fasciitis.
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