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What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis ( plantarfasciitis) is a common diagnosis for complaints of foot pain. The suffix “-itis” means “the inflammation of”, so in this case, it is the inflammation of something called the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a very thick and fibrous tissue on the bottom of each foot. Primarily, it functions as a support for the arch of the foot by running between the heel bone and each of the individual toes. Certain foot movements cause tension in the plantar fascia, helping us keep a strong base of support.

Signs and Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

  • Heel pain: Typically, pain is felt at the inside of the foot, near the bottom of the heel bone. Sometimes, it may radiate down the arch of the foot.
  • Can be pinpointed with a finger: Most people when asked where their pain is located, are able to use one finger to accurately point out the location of the pain. The pain usually comes from a very specific spot and is easily reproduced when touched.
  • Warm up pain: Plantar fasciitis is usually the worst after long periods of being off your feet. For example, when you wake up in the morning or after sitting for a long time. When you go to take those first couple of steps, you may find the pain sharper and more intense than before. Fortunately, this tends to last only a couple of steps to a couple of minutes.
  • Difficulty weightbearing: Plantar fasciitis may give you trouble during walking, running, standing, and other activities that require putting weight onto the feet. This pain usually gets worse the longer these activities are maintained, then relieved by resting and being off the feet.
  • Calf stiffness: Tight, tender, and/or stiff calf muscles are a risk factor to developing plantar fasciitis. Tight calves can increase stress on the plantar fascia and may lead to further aggravation of the condition.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

Physiotherapy Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

Physiotherapy is one of the best treatments for plantar fasciitis.  It focuses on reducing your foot pain, improving flexibility and strength, correcting biomechanical abnormalities, and promoting ideal function of your foot. Additionally, treatment includes shockwave therapy,stretching exercises, taping, manual therapy techniques, orthotic interventions, and activity modification.

Shockwave Therapy

PhysioNow is pleased to offer high end shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis pain relief. Research has found shockwave therapy to be quite effective at treating plantar fasciitis. Using high-energy acoustic waves, it promotes a healing response in the plantar fascia tissue and can create improvements in symptoms in just a couple of sessions! Found at our Applewood clinic, shockwave therapy may be exactly what you need for your heel and foot pain.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of plantar fasciitis or have concerns about foot pain, it’s important to consult with one of PhysioNow’s qualified physiotherapists for a thorough assessment and tailored treatment plan. Early intervention and appropriate management can facilitate a faster recovery and get you back to pain-free as quickly as possible.

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FAQs

How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?

Typically, a health care professional will diagnose based on your signs, symptoms and a physical examination. For example, the presence or absence of that warm up pain may be used to rule in or out plantar fasciitis, and a physical examination may involve  special tests specific to plantar fasciitis such as the Windlass test. Sometimes, imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasound may be ordered to rule out other causes of foot pain.

What are the treatment options for plantar fasciitis?

Conservative treatment is the primary method for plantar fasciitis, including a combination of relative rest and activity modifications, physical therapy for stretching/strengthening exercises and soft tissue massage, wearing supportive footwear (ex. Running shoes rather than sandals), using orthotic devices or shoe inserts, and modalities like shockwave therapy.

How long does it take to recover from plantar fasciitis?

Recovery time is highly unique to each individual, depending on type of job, lifestyle, severity of pain, and more. Some people may experience symptoms for a year or longer, especially if they have left it untreated. However, plantar fasciitis often improves with conservative treatments within a few months. In some cases, with shockwave therapy, improvements can be seen after just a couple of sessions. It is best to treat the pain as early as possible. The longer the pain has been there, oftentimes the more stubborn it can be to leave as more scar tissue has developed.

Can plantar fasciitis come back after treatment?

Yes, plantar fasciitis can come back. This is especially true if the underlying factors that caused the condition are not addressed. In addition, it can return if you go back to wearing unsupportive footwear. It's important to continue with your exercises and recommendations from your health care professional in order to minimize the chance of your pain recurring.

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