Planter Fasciitis and Physical Therapy

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common musculoskeletal foot disorders and is thought to result from lifestyle, exercise, or chronic overload in both the athletic and elderly population.

The plantar fascia is a tough, fibrous band that runs along the sole of the foot. Its function is to provide static support to the longitudinal arch and absorb dynamic shock. When the fascia is repeatedly torn or stretched, it can become inflamed. The most common symptom is having heel pain that starts in the morning and progressively gets worse as the day goes on. It is also common to experience pain while navigating stairs, standing on your toes, or standing for long periods of time.

Individuals with flat feet, high arches, overpronation, and leg length discrepancy are at an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Other risk factors include tight and weak gastrocnemius, soleus, achilles tendon and intrinsic foot muscles. Athletes, especially those that perform running or jumping, can also suffer from this condition due to poor biomechanics.

Plantar fasciitis will most likely heal on its own with time depending on the severity of the issue. Once diagnosed, doctors might prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers and icing to decrease the inflammation. If the condition is severe, devices such as night splints, a walking boot, or orthotics can help decrease symptoms.

Most of the time, physical therapy will be prescribed to help improve a patient's symptoms and address the underlying issue that caused the pain in the first place. Once an initial examination has been performed, a therapist can create a customized plan with stretching and strengthening exercises to focus on the improper biomechanical issues.

Physical therapy has been a proven effective treatment in reducing plantar fasciitis pain and alleviating symptoms. This is also a great way to ensure your feet are as healthy as possible and prevent future injury!


Young CC, Rutherford DS, Niedfeldt MW. Treatment of plantar fasciitis [published correction appears in Am Fam Physician 2001 Aug 15;64(4):570]. Am Fam Physician. 2001;63(3):467-478.

Díaz López AM, Guzmán Carrasco P. Efectividad de distintas terapias físicas en el tratamiento conservador de la fascitis plantar: revisión sistemática [Effectiveness of different physical therapy in conservative treatment of plantar fasciitis: systematic review]. Rev Esp Salud Publica. 2014;88(1):157-178. doi:10.4321/S1135-57272014000100010

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