Oh, heel (pain) – Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most diagnosed foot issues, and is pretty common in people such as runners, hikers, or people who spend a lot of time on their feet.  Oddly enough, people in Eugene and Western Oregon spend quite a bit of time doing these activities.  Some daily maintenance can ensure you don’t develop these issues, but what happens if you already have plantar fasciitis?

There are a lot of different treatment options that are often used for plantar fasciitis, including physical therapy, orthotics, and injections to name a few.  The important thing is to remember is that total rest is not the way to go.  Issues like plantar fasciitis require progressive loading, meaning that there needs to be some stress to the tissues.  The hard part is finding the right amount of stress that doesn’t worsen your symptoms!

Limiting the amount of stress that is being placed on the feet should be a priority initially, but the idea is to encourage as much activity as possible without exacerbating symptoms.  Doing so might mean reducing mileage for running, taking sitting breaks throughout the day, or completely stopping the painful activity and trying lighter exercise instead.

Some options for light exercise, in addition to preventative care, are provided below.

Exercises to help treat Plantar Fasciitis:

  • Calf stretching – Stretching the muscles that make up the Achilles tendon takes tension off the plantar fascia.  Don’t forget to include the toes in the stretch!  The classic runner’s stretch is a good place to start (even if you aren’t a runner).
  • Nerve flossing – Sometimes the nerves in the foot and ankle are what’s irritated, and not the tissues around them.  Nerve flossing helps get the nerves moving like they’re supposed to.  See how to do nerve flossing here.
  • Strengthening – Building up the muscles of the calf, foot, and hips helps reduce the stress the plantar fascia will have to endure during weight bearing activities.  You may have to start with light resistance, such as moving your ankle against a light resistance band, or you may be able to do bodyweight calf raises depending on your pain.  A lot of hip strengthening can be performed without weight bearing, such as leg raises in standing or on your back, side, and stomach.

Plantar fasciitis can develop into a severely limiting problem, so don’t let it get there!  If you’re already at that point, be mindful of your symptoms and focus on strengthening and mobility.  If you haven’t been able to manage your symptoms, see somebody!  Physical therapists and podiatrists are well equipped to work with people who experience plantar fasciitis.

Got questions?  Feel limited in what you’re able to do?  The staff at Limitless Physical Therapy in Eugene, OR can show you how to be limitless. Contact us to connect with on of our PTs. Or follow us on Facebook.

***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice.  Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.

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