Pain in the bottom or heel area usually worsens with first steps taken in the morning or standing/walking after having been sitting for extended periods of time.
The Plantar Fascia is a dense connective tissue running from the heel to metatarsal heads (pads of feet). This area can become inflamed from repeated stress on an arch of foot, leading to pain.
Risk Factors for Foot/Ankle Injuries include overuse, flat feet, high arched feet, limited ankle range of motion, improper footwear, increasing activity without proper ramp up, poor body mechanics, foot/ankle instability due to rigid foot/ankle joints, high BMI levels and occupations that require long hours standing/walking.
Symptoms: First step upon rising or standing/walking can result in sharp pain that becomes acutely uncomfortable when walking barefoot or wearing shoes without adequate cushioning. This ache and burning may increase when walking barefoot or wearing footwear without sufficient padding.
Treatment: Our physical therapist will examine each patient to identify the source of pain and how best to relieve it. Using manual therapy, stretching, and exercises we will work towards decreasing inflammation while increasing mobility and restoring function to affected areas.
Neuromuscular Reeducation: Patients will be taught to activate both the flexor and extensor muscles of the foot and retrain control of its arch through exercises such as “toe yoga” or heel raises with ball squeeze to activate posterior Tibialis muscles which in turn restore control over arch.
These interventions have proven to significantly reduce pain in patients due to central pain modulation and lowered levels of pain-producing metabolites.
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