Monday, January 18, 2010

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an injury of the main ligament in the arch of your foot. The plantar fascia runs from heel to toe across the bottom of your foot and acts as the main soft tissue support of your arch.

The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain. Some people will feel pain throughout the entire arch of the foot. Frequently symptoms are worst first thing in the morning or the first steps after sitting for a prolonged time. As symptoms increase any walking or weight bearing activity can become painful and debilitating.

Plantar fasciitis is usually caused by repetitive stress on the arch because of abnormal foot mechanics. With over pronation the foot widens and elongates excessively pulling on the plantar fascia. With a high arch or supinated foot the plantar fascia becomes shortened and tight and is susceptible to abnormal force. In both cases extra tension on the fascia can cause abnormal force where it attaches to the heel bone causing tissue damage and inflammation.

Treatment consists of two stages. The first stage is decreasing any acute inflammation. The second stage is changing the mechanics of the foot to decrease stresses on the fascia and prevent re-injury. To decrease initial pain anti-inflammatory treatments are indicated, including oral anti-inflammatories, ice, taping, soft tissue mobilization, and physical therapy modalities such as low level laser. To improve mechanics of the foot stretching of the fascia and calf muscles are very important to reduce stress. Custom foot orthotics are also important in long term management of plantar fasciitis. Properly supporting the arch will reduce stress on the fascia, allowing it to heal and preventing future injury.

If you have questions about plantar fasciitis or custom foot orthotics, contact Ascent Physical Therapy at (970)949-9966 and one of our therapists will be happy to help.

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