By Dr. Adam M. Cramer, PT, DPT
If the first step of your morning sends intense pain shooting through your body, you are likely coping with the unpleasant condition known as plantar fasciitis. This is a situation in which your plantar fascia, a fibrous tissue running along your foot’s bottom, has become inflamed. It is worse in the morning, which is why those first steps are usually a good indicator of what has gone wrong.
Fortunately, physical therapy performed by a doctor of physical therapy is an effective course of action to reduce the pain and heal the foot. In fact, 95 percent of cases are healed effectively without surgery.
What happens in your foot when you have plantar fasciitis? The pain is caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of fibrous tissue running along the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. Besides causing severe pain, plantar fasciitis can limit your range of motion and seriously impact your quality of life especially if your hobby is walking or you are a professional athlete.
While the stabbing morning pain subsides somewhat as the day goes on, it intensifies if you stand for long periods of time or step on your foot after you have been sitting for some time. You can exercise, and the pain seems at bay, and then when you rest afterwards, it gets worse.
Why you need to get it under control. Even if you did have the mental stamina to ignore the pain, you shouldn’t. Ignoring the pain can result in developing chronic heel pain that could ultimately lead to foot, knee, hip or back problems. People who try to tough it out on their own respond by getting off their feet and their subsequent inactivity can prompt weight gains and limiting lifestyles. Lack of exercise can create other health issues in itself.
How physical therapists can help you. When you seek help from your doctor of physical therapy, they will work with you to reduce the inflammation and pain through hands-on manual mobility treatments, strengthen your foot and then teach you how to treat it independently once under control. You will be given a series of specially prescribed stretches to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and then to strengthen your lower leg muscles.
Using heat therapy and laser therapy is key to enhancing blood flow and promoting mobility. At MyoFit Clinic we utilize the instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization tools to enhance mobility of the plantar fascia. In extreme cases dry needling is very effective at reducing all symptoms immediately with extended pain relief benefits.
Guarding your foot health is important. We recommend physical therapy provided by a doctor of physical therapy as quickly as possible after you suspect you have plantar fasciitis, and that is because we know we can help and we recognize the vital importance of foot health to overall health and fitness.
The average person walks an estimated 150,000 miles in their lifetime, which is roughly the equivalent of walking around the world six times. You still have miles to go, and you want to make those miles without pain.
If you or a loved one is suffering from neck pain, please consult with a physical therapist immediately to get back on track fast.
Dr. Adam M. Cramer, PT, DPT, is a licensed physical therapist, pain specialist and owner of MyoFit Clinic 14950 S Springdale Ave, Middlefield, (44062) 430-632-1007. For Chardon office, call 440-286-1007. Visit MyoFitClinic.com.