Physical Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: A Comprehensive Approach to Recovery and Prevention
Have you been dealing with chronic foot pain, and are wondering how physical therapy might be able to help? Plantar fasciitis is one of the more common causes of this type of pain, and as such, physical therapy can provide support for those suffering from it. Physical therapy helps by providing strategies to reduce the symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis while also improving the overall functional mobility of your feet.
In this article, we will discuss what to expect when you visit a physical therapist for treatment of plantar fasciitis, what types of exercises and therapies might be used, how long recovery takes, and how physical therapy can help prevent re-injury.
What To Expect At Physical Therapy
When you visit a physical therapist for treatment of plantar fasciitis, your therapist will evaluate the current state and cause of your pain. They may take measurements in order to accurately assess any range of motion limitations or muscle imbalances that could be contributing factors.
The physical therapist will also provide education about proper shoes and orthotic devices to support your feet. They will also advise on lifestyle changes that can help to reduce the symptoms of plantar fasciitis such as avoiding barefoot walking, running on hard surfaces, and wearing high-heeled shoes.
The physical therapist may use manual therapy techniques such as massage, stretching, or even manipulation in order to alleviate pain and improve the range of motion in the feet. They may also use modalities such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation to help reduce inflammation and pain.
What Types Of Exercises Might You Do?
The exercises recommended by your physical therapist will depend on a number of factors, including the cause of your Plantar Fasciitis and the current state of your condition. Generally speaking, these exercises may include:
Stretching to improve flexibility and range of motion in the feet, ankles, and calves
Strengthening exercises for the intrinsic muscles of the foot such as toe flexors/extensors, calf raises, and heel raises with theraband or weights.
Balance exercises such as single leg stance or static balance on an unstable surface.
Proprioceptive training to help improve coordination between your feet and lower legs while walking or running.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
The amount of time it takes to recover from Plantar Fasciitis depends largely on how soon you seek treatment and how compliant you are with your physical therapy program. Generally speaking, most people who seek treatment early and comply with their prescribed program will experience significant improvement in a few weeks.
How Does Physical Therapy Help Prevent Re-injury?
Physical therapy helps to prevent re-injury by addressing the underlying causes of Plantar Fasciitis. As mentioned, your physical therapist may recommend lifestyle modifications such as proper footwear and orthotic devices to support your feet and reduce strain on the plantar fascia. They will also advise on alternative activities that can be done to help strengthen the muscles in the feet and lower legs without increasing pressure on the plantar fascia. This includes exercises such as swimming, cycling, or core strengthening exercises. In addition, they can provide stretching techniques that can be done either in the clinic or at home.
Physical therapy is a great option for those suffering from Plantar Fasciitis. It can help to reduce pain and inflammation, improve flexibility and range of motion, strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot, improve coordination and balance while walking/running, as well as provide lifestyle modifications to help prevent re-injury. With early diagnosis and consistent treatment, most people experience significant improvement within a few weeks.