Plantar Fasciitis - The Heel Pain That You Should Not Ignore

Plantar Fasciitis

Have you ever experienced a stabbing pain in your heel when you step out of your bed in the morning? Then the pain decreases with usual walking and it strikes again when you stand for a long time. This pain is referred to as Plantar Fasciitis.

Research says that more than 50% of Americans experience heal pain and the most common condition is Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis is caused due to too much strain on the plantar fascia which is a ligament that connects the heel to the toes. It results in pain and inflammation.

The plantar fascia is in the shape of a bowstring that supports the arch of your foot and absorbs shock when you perform activities such as walking, running, or standing. While doing so, tension or stress on the bowstring can cause the plantar fascia to experience tears. When tearing occurs repeatedly, it causes inflammation in the fascia which leads to heel pain.

Runners and pregnant women are the most common ones affected by this type of pain. People who are overweight also experience heel pain as the extra pounds put more pressure on the plantar fascia. Those who work for long hours by standing or walking have a high risk of getting plantar fasciitis.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed based on your medical history. The physician might carry out a physical examination to check the areas of tenderness in the foot. The location of the pain will help the physician determine the reason for heel pain.

In addition, you may undergo X-Rays and MRI scan to determine whether your heel pain is caused due to any other conditions.

If you ignore plantar fasciitis, the inflammation might become worse and lead to chronic heel pain. The strength and stability of the ligament get affected which might be a hindrance for performing your daily activities with ease.

Physical Therapy Treatment Methods

Your physician might recommend you to consult a physical therapist who may treat you with Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and five minutes of low-level infrared energy treatment along with the Kinesio taping method. Your therapist might also recommend some stretches.

1) Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Method

TENS unit consists of a battery-powered device that sends electrical impulses through the electrodes that are adhered to the area experiencing pain.

To treat plantar fasciitis, electrodes are placed to the feet that deliver low voltage electrical current. It causes the muscles in the feet and legs to contract and release at intervals thus activating the natural pain relief mechanism.

The electric impulses stimulate the nerve tissues in the feet to block the transfer of pain signals thereby changing the sense of pain. It also improves the number of endorphins which are the human body’s natural painkillers.

The TENS devices used to treat plantar fasciitis is designed in three different shapes. One form looks like a pair of sandals that you slip onto your feet, the other one looks like a small platform that you place your feet on and the third design looks like a phone with electrodes attached to it.

2) Infrared Energy Treatment

Using infrared energy is a good treatment option since it is completely painless, non-invasive, and has no side effects. This method is performed by applying infrared light over the feet that penetrates deep into tissues and impacts the ligaments, tendons, nerves and connective tissues.

This method speeds up the healing process by reducing inflammation and pain. It is effective in curing both chronic and acute heel pain.

3) Kinesio Taping Method

Kinesiology taping is one of the most effective methods to treat plantar fasciitis as it helps to increase blood flow in the feet and reduces inflammation thereby speeding up the healing process.

A zinc oxide tape that provides more rigidness when compared to other tapes is preferred to treat plantar fasciitis. This tape is durable, water-resistant, and gentle on your skin.

Your physical therapist might help you to apply the kinesiology tape effectively.

Steps to apply Kinesio tape properly:

1) Clean and dry the feet before you apply the tape.

2) Position your foot out in front of you and wrap the tape around your foot.

3) Apply a strip of tape to the bottom of your foot.

4) Apply a second strip around the back of your heel. Pull the ends of the strips across the sole of your foot and again to the ball of your foot to form an X shape.

5) Repeat this step with each strip slightly overlapping the previous one for maximum support.

Kinesiology taping can reduce the amount of stretching and moving that the ligament performs while on your feet. It improves the chances of healing and prevents further injury.

Final Thoughts

Your therapist might suggest some stretches like stretching your calves, stretching the plantar fascia, rolling stretch, marble pickups, and foot flexes to make the treatment more effective. You must note that TENS alone or Kinesio taping alone could not heal the pain. These treatments can reduce the pain and when done together can help you to get rid of plantar fasciitis. Feel free to contact us or book an appointment today at Step Ahead Physical Therapy.

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