What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition characterized by pain, stemming from inflammation or tearing of the plantar fascia, a tough tissue supporting the foot arch, linking the heel to the ball of the foot. This discomfort can manifest in the heel, along the arch, or at the ball of the foot.

It's a prevalent issue affecting up to 2 million Americans annually and around 1 in 10 people over their lifetimes. Plantar fasciitis doesn't discriminate by age or activity level, impacting both athletes and non-athletes alike, with an equal likelihood for men and women to develop it.

Signs & Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis typically presents with distinct symptoms, predominantly characterized by heel pain and discomfort in the arch of the foot. Individuals with this condition often experience stiffness, swelling around the heel, and a sensation of tightness in the Achilles tendon. The pain associated with plantar fasciitis can vary throughout the day and depending on activities. For instance, it's common to feel significant pain when standing up after prolonged periods of sitting or upon waking up in the morning. However, this discomfort often diminishes after a few minutes of walking, only to return once activity ceases.

The pain may manifest as a dull, persistent ache, or it can be sharp and stabbing, particularly when pressure is applied to the heel or when using the affected foot. The experience of plantar fasciitis pain is highly individualized, but many individuals find that physical activity or movement can temporarily alleviate the discomfort. This condition can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life, with heightened pain levels.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs due to overuse or excessive stretching of the plantar fascia, resulting in pain and discomfort, particularly in the heel or along the bottom of the foot. Activities such as prolonged standing, intense physical activity, or wearing unsupportive footwear can worsen the condition. Factors such as having high arches, flat feet, or being overweight can also contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options


Surgery is rarely necessary for treating plantar fasciitis, as most cases can be effectively managed with conservative treatments. However, in rare instances where non-surgical interventions fail to alleviate symptoms, surgical options may be considered. The two most common surgical procedures for plantar fasciitis include gastrocnemius recession and plantar fascial release. Gastrocnemius recession involves lengthening the calf muscles to reduce pressure on the plantar fascia, while plantar fascial release entails making small incisions in the plantar fascia to relieve tension. The decision regarding which surgical approach to take will be determined by your healthcare provider or surgeon based on the severity of your condition and your circumstances.

Physical Therapy

Research indicates that both strengthening and stretching exercises, particularly focusing on the Achilles tendon, are effective in reducing pain and enhancing mobility for individuals diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. If you're experiencing heel pain or have been diagnosed with this condition, seeking the guidance of an experienced physical therapist on Long Island is advisable. A personalized treatment plan may involve various components, such as analyzing your walking pattern and providing gait training, advising on the application of ice for pain relief and inflammation, temporary foot taping for immediate relief, recommending supportive footwear or shoe inserts, and introducing specific stretching and strengthening exercises tailored to your needs. Collaborating with a physical therapist can significantly improve your outcomes and facilitate a smoother recovery process from plantar fasciitis.

Exercises for Post-Plantar Fasciitis Surgery

  1. Plantar Fascia Massage
  • Sit in a chair or stand, placing one foot on a small ball or a frozen water bottle. The coldness of the water bottle aids in reducing inflammation.
  • Proceed to gently roll the ball or bottle back and forth beneath your foot, beginning just below the ball of your foot and stopping just before reaching the heel.
  1. Heel Raise
  • Stand with the balls of your feet positioned at the edge of the bottom step.
  • Let your heels hang off the edge, then gradually and gently lower them just below the step's edge. You might notice a stretching sensation in your calf muscle.
  • Slowly lift yourself onto the balls of your feet.
  1. Floor Sitting Ankle Inversion With Resistance
  • Sit in an upright position on the floor, ensuring your legs are extended straight out in front of you without any movement from your hips.
  • Cross your left leg over your right leg, securing a resistance band around the upper foot and looping it under the bottom of your lower foot. Hold onto the end of the band with your hand.
  • Gradually move your upper foot (the one with the resistance band) away from the lower foot by rotating your ankle inward, then slowly return to the initial position.
  1. Seated Plantar Fascia Stretch
  • While seated in a chair, cross one leg over the opposite knee, ensuring that your ankle rests on top of your other leg.
  • Use one hand to hold your ankle and the other to hold your toes, then gently pull your toes backward until you feel a stretching sensation in the underside of your foot.
  1. Wall-Facing Calf Stretch
  • Stand facing a wall with your arms extended, placing your hands flat against the wall at shoulder height.
  • While keeping both feet planted firmly on the ground, extend one leg straight backward and bend your front leg until you sense a stretch in the calf muscle of your back leg.

For more information about plantar fasciitis physical therapy treatment options on Long Island, contact Hicksville Physical Therapy today.

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