Physiotherapy Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is best described as heel pain. Of course, other things can cause heel pain too, but plantar fasciitis is the most common. The plantar fascia is a layer of connective tissue running from the heel bone to the toes. So, it covers most of your foot, except pain occurs most sharply in the heel because this is where most of our weight is distributed.
Once this injury occurs, it’s likely to worsen if not treated. We use our feet every day, and even walking can cause plantar fasciitis to get worse over time. This is especially true of the way you walk has a role in causing the pain.
The causes of plantar fasciitis
There are several things that can cause plantar fasciitis, and while athletes are most commonly affected, people of any age and activity level can suffer from it. Some causes include:
• Poor foot alignment
• Standing for long periods (such as at work)
• Poor flexibility and tissue strength
• Improper arch support
• A walking style (gait) that promotes uneven pressure on the heel
• High BMI (being overweight)
• Excessive running or training
Your doctor or physiotherapist is best placed to assess your heel pain and determine firstly if plantar fasciitis is the cause, and secondly, the factors giving you the most problems.
Plantar fasciitis exercises
There are certain exercises you can do to try and relieve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, and best of all, they’re easy to do at home. These are known as heel spur exercises, and you don’t need any special equipment to do them. A couple of examples include:
• Sit on the floor and use your hands to pull your toes towards you. Try to hold for around 30 seconds.
• Stand with your heel on the ground and your toe raised against the wall. Slightly bend your knee and lean towards the wall.
• Roll a golf ball under your foot for around a minute at a time.
• Stand with your toes on a step and your heel hovering over the edge. Raise to stand on your toes, and then lower the heel down again. Hold each position and repeat regularly.
As with any exercise program, we strongly recommend discussing treatment with your doctor or physiotherapist first. This way, you can receive a correct diagnosis and be given the heel spur exercises most likely to assist in your recovery.
Other forms of treatment
When discussing how to treat plantar fasciitis with your physiotherapist, a number of treatment methods may be considered, including:
• Plantar fasciitis strapping or taping
• Assessment for orthotics or certain types of footwear
• Strengthening programs for all parts of the ankle and foot
• Soft-tissue therapy
If you’re struggling with heel pain, the most likely cause is plantar fasciitis. However, you should always consult a professional before embarking on a treatment plan. Our experienced physiotherapists and Burleigh Central Physiotherapy can help diagnose plantar fasciitis and recommend a treatment plan that’s tailored to your needs.
Contact our team today, because we’re here to help.