For most of us, our feet, quite literally, carry us through our daily lives. We stand on them, we walk on them, and, in many cases we mistreat them. We go for walks or runs without properly warming up. We stand for long periods of time - whether it’s because of a job, waiting in long lines, or at a concert. We wear shoes that don’t fit properly or lack proper arch support. Who hasn’t done one of these things at some point? However, these actions can result in foot issues such as plantar fasciitis. If you’re experiencing foot pain, you might be looking for Washington DC orthopedic physical therapy to help find relief. Today we’re going to look at plantar fasciitis - what it is, how it’s caused, and ways to find relief from this pain. Keep reading to find out more. What Is Plantar Fasciitis? Planter fasciitis is a condition which affects the plantar fascia. This is a wide band of tissue which provides your foot with arch support, connecting from the ball of the foot to the heel. It attaches to the bottom of your heel bone. This is the same bone that your Achilles tendon attaches to, though it attaches at the back of your heel bone. When this band tears or becomes inflamed it can lead to pain in the ball of your foot, heel, and along the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can develop when there is sustained strain on the plantar fascia. This is often due to standing or walking for a long period of time, or participating in high impact sports and activities. What Does Plantar Fasciitis Feel Like? Planter fasciitis is characterized by a sharp, stabbing pain beneath the heel, and tight muscles along the arch of the foot. Pain associated with plantar fasciitis is often worse first thing in the morning, and improves as your muscles warm up throughout the day. This is because your plantar fascia is short when you’re sleeping, since your resting foot position is a pointed foot. When you go to stand and walk in the morning, you’re stretching your plantar fascia out again at your ankle and toes, while also asking it to support your body weight. It can typically do this well, but when the plantar fascia is inflamed or has microtears this process becomes painful. It may also flare up later in the day after long periods of standing, walking, or other physical activity. Other instances that may cause flare ups include: \tIntense, high impact activity like jumping or running \tStanding up after sitting for a long time \tGoing barefoot, or wearing shoes with little or no arch support What Causes Plantar Fasciitis? Factors which can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis include \tHaving flat feet \tLimited ankle or toe mobility \tBeing forty years of age or older \tWearing high heels or shoes with low or no arch support \tLimited calf muscle flexibility \tStanding for a long period of time (for instance a job or hobby) \tAbrupt changes in activity level, such as switching from a job where you're sitting a lot to one which requires standing \tObesity How Can Physical Therapy Help With Plantar Fasciitis? If you are experiencing foot pain due to plantar fasciitis, a physical therapist can help develop a treatment plan to lessen your symptoms. We’re going to look at some of the elements which may be involved in treatment. Assessment Plantar fasciitis can affect the way you walk. It can also affect the flexibility of your feet and even your balance. Your physical therapist will assess your posture, range of motion, strength, gait, and balance to customize a treatment plan for you. We understand that plantar fasciitis can be debilitating but the good news is there is a lot of research available to guide our treatments. Therefore, physical therapy treatment can be a great success at getting you back to doing what you love. RELATED: Gait Training Physical Therapist In Washington DC Exercises Once your assessment is finished, you’ll most likely be given exercises to do at home. These can include strengthening exercises to improve the muscles which support your feet, and stretches to help with flexibility. Examples of these may include exercises for stretching your calves and targeting the bottom of your foot with a foam roller or tennis ball. It may also include some yoga or pilates exercises. Pain Relief Measures Anyone who has had plantar fasciitis can tell you how painful it can be. While stretches and exercises can help reduce symptoms over time, you will also likely want measures to stop the pain right away. Cold therapy is one of the simplest ways to do this, as it can be used to help ward off pain and reduce inflammation. Your physical therapist may also show you how to use kinesiology tape to support the muscles and provide short term relief. Corrective Measures Finally, your physical therapist may recommend a number of corrective measures which can help reduce your symptoms in the long term. One of these might include corrective footwear or orthotics for your shoes which can help provide support for your foot. Wearing a night splint can help by keeping your plantar fascia at a better length throughout the night. Gait training can help you to improve the way you walk and minimize your symptoms. Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today Are you experiencing unexplained foot pain? Do your feet hurt when you step out of bed first thing in the morning, after hours of remaining still? Are you finding it hard to get your daily steps in because your feet are too sore? You may have developed a case of plantar fasciitis. At Capitol Physical Therapy, we can help. Our team of qualified physical therapists serving the Washington DC area have helped many satisfied clients find relief from plantar fasciitis and other similar issues. Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.