Hey Ottawa! Ever woken up one day, taking that first step and OUCH, feeling sharp pain in the heel? You mostly likely have plantar fasciitis (or maybe just stepped on something sharp). The plantar fascia is a thick strong band right on the bottom of the foot, starting from the toes and attaches to the heel. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of this band. Pain in the arch of the foot can also mean plantar fasciitis.
Other than the ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis is the most common foot condition I treat in my physiotherapy clinic in Barrhaven.
Now! You might be asking yourself: what irritated my plantar fascia? Here are some common causes of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is often triggered when a person started wearing a new or different footwear that they are used to, or have suddenly increased activity level that involves impact/prolonged weight bearing on their feet (ie. gone out for a long walk on a trip, started to pick up running or gym classes, etc.). Other factors that can influence this condition include increase in body weight or having flat feet.
Some of the other causes for plantar fasciitis can involve:
- Weak hip and/or foot muscles
- Tightness of the calf muscles
- Stiffness of the ankle and foot joints
Physiotherapy is very effective in treatment of plantar fasciitis and heel pain. We assess the body as a whole, and find out the exact root cause of why you might have developed your pain. Our treatment techniques involves:
- Muscles release
- Manual Therapy involving mobilizing the joints of the foot and/or other joints involved
- Strengthening and stretching exercises
- Dry needling
Exercises for plantar fasciitis has to be tailored to the person. There could be many reasons for the inflammation of the plantar fascia. It is therefore hard to give an one size fits all exercise program. The following is some of the exercises that I tend to give more as a physiotherapist to my clients. Keep note that this is just a very generalized exercise program. Have a physiotherapist assess you in order to find out the root cause of your pain.
- Rolling the calf with a muscle roller (1-2 min)
- Rolling the bottom of the foot with a ball or ice bottle. (2-5 min)
- Toe Curls with Towel (30 reps)
About the Author:
Lily Zhang is a registered physiotherapist with training specializing in the McKenzie Method. She graduated from McGill University and is currently working in Barrhaven (Ottawa, ON). She has over 10 years of professional training/clinical experience in orthopedic physiotherapy. You can Follow Her Blog @PhysioVive Facebook Page.