Plantar fasciitis is a fancy medical name for what’s commonly known as “heel pain.” “Plantar” means the bottom of the foot, “fascia” is a deep, thick connective tissue and “itis” means inflammation. Hence it is an inflammation of the connective tissue that spans from the toes to the heel bone on the bottom of the foot.
Is this a rare or common diagnosis?
You are not alone. This is a very common and treatable diagnosis. According to an article in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (2003), plantar fasciitis has been reported to occur in 2 million Americans a year and 10% of the population over a lifetime. Frank and I, with our combined 20 years’ experience, have regularly evaluated and treated individuals with plantar fasciitis with excellent outcomes.
How do I know that I have plantar fasciitis?
There are key symptoms that we usually see that are consistent from individual to individual. One of the classic signs is heel pain with the first few steps in the morning. This pain can be mild or severe depending on the acuity level. This pain generally will get a little better as the day continues, but then tends to get worse by the end of the day. This pain may also increase with prolonged standing or walking.
Are certain people more prone to getting plantar fasciitis?
Yes, middle-aged women and men generally are more prone to getting it, but it can be diagnosed in any age group. Frank and I will help you figure out the main reason or combination of reasons as to why you are suffering from plantar fasciitis. We may ask you during your initial evaluation, “Do you normally wear shoes with adequate arch support?,” “Did you recently start an exercise program requiring you to place increased impact through your feet, such as running?,” or “Have you had a recent weight gain?” Your answers are clues for us and the more clues we have, the better we can determine the source of the pain.
Why do the first few steps in the morning hurt so much!?!?
During the night, while the heel cord is in a shortened position, the fascia is attempting to go through the healing phase. In the morning, you yawn, stretch your arms and then stand up placing your full weight through your feet. This can disrupt the healing phase by causing micro tears in the fascia with an end result of sharp pain with the first few steps.
Is this treatable and will physical therapy help me?
It is absolutely treatable and physical therapy is one of the best options for treating plantar fasciitis. At Encore Physical Therapy, Frank and Chris will educate you extensively on your condition and provide you information on plantar fasciitis prevention. We will use a wide range of treatment options from hands-on techniques, taping, stretching exercises, orthotics and shoe recommendations, etc. There is no standard protocol for treatment of plantar fasciitis and the choice of treatment is unique to each individual.
Are there current published articles that I could read to inform myself more about plantar fasciitis?
Yes, Chris Guempel from Encore Physical Therapy recently contributed to the October issue of ADVANCE for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine, Volume 21 Issue 21 page 33 entitled “Happier Feet – How PT professionals can help patients recover from plantar fasciitis”. Click on the Encore tab “Resources” followed by the ADVANCE link to read more.
Call Frank or Chris today to schedule an appointment. You will be one step closer to being pain-free!