Plantar Fasciitis: Will Physical Therapy Help My Foot Pain?

By John R. Mishock, PT, DPT, DC

Approximately 10% of the US population lives with foot pain. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of foot and heel pain. The plantar fascia is a flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects the heel bone to the toes providing support to the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis presents with a deep ache and/or sharp pain in bottom of heel or foot. The pain is commonly felt in the morning or following prolonged sitting or weight bearing activity (walking or running).

Studies have shown that the use of physical therapy can significantly reduce pain and improve function in patients with foot pain. Despite the mounting evidence on the positive treatment outcomes, physical therapy is currently being underutilized by those suffering from foot pain. Only 7 % of patients seek care from a physical therapist when dealing with plantar fasciitis and other foot pain related disorders. (JOSPT, Feb 2017). Evidence suggests that physical therapy will help patients recover faster and at a lower cost, saving up to $340 per episode of plantar fasciitis.

In treating foot pain, physical therapists use a wide variety of techniques to decrease pain and improve function such as; modalities (the use of cold, heat, electricity, ultrasound), hands-on manual therapy techniques (techniques done by physical therapists using their hands in very precise ways to relax muscles in spasm, lengthen tight muscles, improve circulation, and optimize scar tissue development), Graston technique/IASTM (instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization to increase circulation, optimize scar tissue and facilitate healing), exercises (to improve strength and enhance optimal tissue healing), body mechanics and posture education (to help in understanding why the problem occurred and ways to prevent further injury), Kinesio taping and strapping techniques and orthotics.

Beyond foot pain, often poor foot mechanics can be the underlying cause of many of the painful conditions that lead to altered function and poor quality of life. Conditions commonly associated with poor foot mechanics include; Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, runner’s knee, piriformis syndrome, IT (Iliotibial) band syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and low back pain.

If you have mechanical foot pain or altered function, call for a FREE phone consultation at (610)327-2600. Visit our website at: www.mishock.wpengine.com. Mishock Physical Therapy has 6 convenient locations to serve you in Skippack, Phoenixville, Gilbertsville, Limerick, Barto and Stowe (Pottstown).
Dr. Mishock is one of only a few clinicians with doctorate level degrees in both physical therapy and chiropractic in the state of PA.