Many people are surprised to learn just how many different issues physical therapy can treat. Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are both fairly common conditions affecting the feet that, without treatment, can be extremely painful and debilitating. Fortunately, physical therapy can help to reduce their effects and help patients to overcome them, so that they can continue to live normal and active lives.
Our PT team is very experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of both plantar fasciitis and would be delighted to offer you the care you need to heal from these injuries and get back to your usual day to day activities.
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition causing significant foot pain and making supporting body weight and normal movement difficult. It is estimated to affect as many as 2 million Americans every year, and approximately 10% of the population. The plantar fasciitis is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot and supports the part of the foot known as the arch. When this band becomes inflamed or tears, it can cause extreme pain that is felt in the heel, arch, and/or ball of the foot.
Although plantar fasciitis can occur in people of all ages, it most frequently affects people in their 40s, those who work in jobs that require them to be on their feet for long periods of time, and athletes whose sport involves running or jumping.
Physical therapists understand how to diagnose and treat plantar fasciitis. After your diagnosis, your PT will work with you to create a treatment program that will help to alleviate your symptoms and reduce the risk of a further irritation of the tissue. This will include several elements including:
Assessing how you walk and how this may be affecting/causing your plantar fasciitis.
Stretching exercises to improve the flexibility in your ankle joint.
Taping of the foot to provide more support.
Strengthening exercises to make the supporting muscles more effective.
Splints to help you maintain correct ankle and toe positions while you sleep.
Shoe inserts or supportive footwear.
Your treatment plan will be based on your individual needs and how well you respond to the physical therapy sessions.
Heel spurs are small, bony protrusions of calcium that form on the underside of the heel bone. They can be as much as half an inch big and are often seen in patients who have plantar fasciitis. In most cases, heel spurs develop gradually over a long period of time as a result of long-term strain on the muscles and ligaments wearing down the surrounding soft tissue. This makes heel spurs more likely in patients who regularly participate in activities that cause repeated stress on their heels, such as some sports. Other causes of heel spurs include shoes that lack proper support and carrying excess weight.
While physical therapy can’t completely eliminate heel spurs, it can help to reduce the inflammation causing the pain and restricting your mobility. In fact, around 90% of patients will experience significant improvement in their symptoms with physical therapy alone.
Physical therapy for heel spurs involves a number of different techniques, including stretching, taping, massage therapy, and lower leg strengthening exercises. These will help to reduce inflammation and discomfort, improve flexibility and help to prevent re-injury.
For more information about physical therapy for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, please contact our experienced physical therapy team in North Massapequa, NY today.