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  • Writer's pictureRicardo Vargues - Fisioterapeuta

Plantar fasciitis: How can physical therapy help with recovery?

Discover the underlying cause and how physiotherapy can aid in the treatment of this inflammation in the region of the heel.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia (fig.1), a thick tissue that is located on the sole of our foot. This inflammation originates in the anterior portion of the calcaneus and extends to the toes. Its significance lies in maintaining the arch of the foot, avoiding exaggerated movements that cause it to become flat.

Region of injury and inflammation of the plantar fascia.
Figure 1 – Plantar fascia.

Causes and risk factors that promote overload on the fascia, leading to inflammation:

  • Overdoing foot movements, such as engaging in sports like running or jumping;

  • Being overweight;

  • Wearing inappropriate footwear;

  • Having a high-arched foot (fig.2);

  • Having a flat foot (fig.2);

  • Standing for many hours at work.

This inflammation manifests itself as pain (most frequently in the heel region) and tends to worsen when the person places weight on the foot, especially when taking the first steps after waking up in the morning.

Flat arch, high arch, normal arch.
Figure 2 – Types of feet and footprints.

If you are experiencing this pain and identify some of these risk factors, it is very likely that you have plantar fasciitis.

Obtaining a correct diagnosis as soon as possible is the most sensible course of action, because plantar fasciitis typically takes a long time to rehabilitate. It is very common for people to seek help from a healthcare professional only when the pain becomes unbearable and the fasciitis is already in a chronic phase. If you have been experiencing pain for more than a year, there is a high probability that you will need surgery, as it is a somewhat disabling condition.

Seeking a physiotherapist as soon as possible is the best option. Implementing a rehabilitation plan, involving various techniques and therapeutic modalities, will help decrease pain and inflammation, improve conditioning, as well as muscular and joint synergy.

Together, we can evaluate the possibility of using a personalized insole to complement your treatment in improving pain and joint function in the short term. Rehabilitation may be prolonged – weeks to months – but it is generally effective. For this reason, it is important to seek help!

Ricardo Vargues | Physical therapist

Watch the video about Plantar fasciitis:


Medical News Today.

José Carlos Baldocchi Pontin, Thiago Ragusa Costa, Therezinha Rosane Chamlian. Tratamento fisioterapêutico da fasciíte plantar. 2014.

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