Plantar fasciitis causes persistent, intense pain along the bottom of the foot. It is caused by wear and tear (degeneration) and inflammation of the plantar fascia—a band of tissue that supports the arch. The condition occurs in runners and people who spend a lot of time on their feet. The pain is usually severe in the morning or after a long rest and makes it difficult to walk. However, fortunately, it responds well to conservative treatment options, such as rest, applying ice, and physical therapy. And here is all you need to know about the physical therapy for plantar fasciitis.
How Can A Physical Therapist Help?
A physical therapist is a movement expert who helps people restore or improve their walking abilities. Once your plantar fascia is diagnosed, your doctor will recommend you get the help of a physical therapist. They assess your gait and recommend necessary changes to lessen your pain and improve your walking ability. They work with you to devise a strengthening and stretching plan to alleviate your symptoms and eliminate the problem. A physical therapist may recommend the following exercises.
Plantar Fascia Exercises
During rest or sleep, your foot is in a flexed position, which shortens the plantar fascia. When you try to walk, you put weight on your foot and stretch the plantar fascia, which causes pain. Plantar fascia exercises stretch your fascia slowly to enable it to bear the weight. These exercises include the following:
Sit on a chair and place an ice water bottle on the floor. Put your foot on the bottle and roll it back and forth for about two minutes. Do this exercise a few times a day.
Sit on a floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place a towel below the toes of your foot and pull the towel from both ends. It will stretch your plantar fascia. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat 2 to 4 times a session, up to 5 times a day.
Sit on a chair and place a straight towel on the floor. Put your foot on the towel, curl your toes to draw the towel toward you. Then using your toes, push the towel away from you. Repeat the exercise 10 times, up to two times a day.
Sit on a chair and place the foot (you want to stretch) of one leg on the knee of the other. Hold the ankle of your foot with one hand and pull the toes with the other. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise 2 to 4 times a session, several times a day.
Sit on a chair and put some marbles on the floor next to a cup. Using your toes, pick one marble up and put it in the cup. Do this twenty times, several sessions a day.
Plantar Fascia And Calf Exercises
When you have plantar fasciitis, the muscles of your foot and calf get stiff. This stiffness causes further pain at the bottom of your heel. Following stretching exercises can help you relax your foot and calf muscles as well as the plantar fascia.
Stand in front of a wall and place your hands on the wall at the level of the eye. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, extend the leg you want to stretch a step back. Bend the front leg forward until you feel a stretch in your calf (lower leg) and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise 2 to 4 times, 2 to 3 times a day.
Calf Stretching On A Step
Stand on your toes and ball of your feet at the edge of the bottom step. Gently lower your heel below the edge until you feel a stretch in your calf muscles. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then, slowly raise your heel to the edge. Do this exercise 2 to 4 times a session, several sessions a day.