Plantar Fasciitis occurs due to excessive stress in the plantar fascia (thick connective tissue on the bottom of the foot) where it attaches to the bottom of the heel. When this happens, inflammation develops causing pain. The pain is usually felt at the bottom of the heel and may radiate along the arch towards the toes. Symptoms are typically worse first thing in the morning or after getting up after prolonged sitting.
Plantar Fasciitis is relatively common; it is estimated to affect approximately 10% of the general population. It generally affects people between the ages 20-60, however it is most often seen in women aged 40-60. There are numerous causes including: increased walking or running, hill climbing, wearing improper or worn-out footwear, or from mechanical faults in the lower extremity.
Physiotherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for plantar fasciitis. There is a strong correlation between plantar fasciitis and low back problems; therefore it is important to have a thorough assessment by a physiotherapist to identify all of the causes of your symptoms. As a result, treatment will vary depending on the causes. Typical physiotherapy treatment for plantar fasciitis includes:

  • Supportive taping or custom orthotics to reduce strain on the plantar fascia;
  • Manual therapy including mobilizations of the foot, ankle and lumbar spine to improve joint mechanics;
  • Nervous tissue mobilization to improve circulation and mobility of the nerves and their connective tissue;
  • Strengthening and stretching to improve control around the foot and ankle;
  • Education regarding ergonomics and posture; and,
  • Anti-inflammatory modalities such as ultrasound, contrast baths, and ice.

Most people will respond well to physiotherapy treatment. A noticeable difference in morning pain is often seen within the first few treatments, and return to previously aggravating activities within 6-12 weeks.