Monday, November 27, 2017

PT Pathologies: Plantar Fascitis

Plantar Fascitis is a problem that many people in the world deal with on a daily bassis.  Plantar fascia is a thin layer of tough connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot.  According to the Mayo Clinic it states, "Plantar Fascitis involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissues, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes."  It is a chronic over use condition that develops secondary to repetitive stretching of the plantar fascia through excessive foot pronation during the loading phase of gait.

         Plantar Fascitis is initially treated based on symptoms and physical examination.  When a patient goes to the doctor with the possibility of having plantar fascitis, a thorough history and biomechanical assessment of the foot, observation of the fat pad, examination for achilles tendon tightness, analysis of footwear, and gait disturbances all assist in diagnosis.  A patient will typically present with severe pain in the heel when first standing up in the morning when the fascia is contracted, stiff and cold.  However once your foot limbers up, the pain normally decreases but it may return after long periods of standing or getting up from a seated position.

          A person with this condition will go see a physical therapist to get treatment done on the bottom of their foot to help with the pain.  Some of the interventions that a physical therapist will perform are ice massage, deep friction massage, shoe modification, heel insert application, foot orthotic prescription, modification of activities to include non-weight bearing endurance activities, and a gentle stretching program of the achilles tendon.   Physical therapy is an important part of treatment because a physical therapist can show you exercises to strength your lower leg muscles, helping to stabilize your walk and lessen the work load on your plantar fascia, and a physical therapist may also teach you how to apply taping to support the bottom of your foot.

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