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Is the Graston Technique® effective for plantar fasciitis?

Graston Technique Plantar Fasciitis
3 minutes, 53 seconds

Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that affects millions of people, accounting for about 15% of foot pain requiring medical care. Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis can cause significant foot pain and discomfort. If you're suffering from plantar fasciitis, you may have tried various treatments to find relief, but with limited success. One treatment option that has gained popularity in recent years is the Graston Technique, a form of manual therapy that uses specialized instruments to break down tight tissue and promote healing. 

Whether you're a seasoned athlete or simply someone looking for relief from persistent foot pain, the Graston Technique may be an effective option for managing your plantar fasciitis and promoting healing. When the Graston Technique is combined with physical therapy exercises and stretches, you may experience faster relief. 

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot. The plantar fascia helps to support your foot's arch and absorbs shock when you walk, run, or jump.

The most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel or bottom of the foot, especially when taking the first steps after waking up or after sitting for long periods of time.

Plantar fasciitis pain is usually most severe in the morning, after periods of rest, or after activity. Other symptoms may include:

  • Stiffness — Your foot may feel stiff, especially when first getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Inflammation — You may notice swelling and redness around the bottom of your foot.
  • Tenderness — The bottom of your foot may be sore to the touch, especially near the heel.
  • Burning sensation — Some people may experience a burning or tingling sensation along the bottom of their foot.
  • Limited mobility — Plantar fasciitis can make it difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time and may limit the range of motion in the foot.

Plantar fasciitis is often caused by overuse or repeated stress on your foot, especially for people who are active or spend a lot of time on their feet. Other risk factors for plantar fasciitis include obesity, flat feet, high arches and tight calf muscles.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis typically begins with conservative measures such as rest, ice and stretching exercises. In many cases, physical therapy can help release tension in the plantar fascia and ease pain. 

How is the Graston Technique used to treat plantar fasciitis?

The Graston Technique is a type of manual therapy used to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis. It is a form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that involves the use of specialized stainless steel instruments to help loosen and break up tight, scarred, or fibrous tissue. The Graston Technique can help reduce pain and inflammation, improve mobility and range of motion, and promote healing in tight, poorly circulated areas.

When using the Graston Technique to treat plantar fasciitis, physical therapists may follow the following steps:

  • Assessment — First, your physical therapist will assess the extent of the inflammation in your plantar fasciitis, as well as your mobility and foot strength. They will also take note of your medical history and make sure that the Graston Technique will not be a high-risk treatment.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises — Your physical therapist may perform and prescribe stretching and strengthening exercises to help improve your mobility, increase blood flow, support your heel, and reduce your risk of re-injury.
  • Application — Your physical therapist will use the Graston instruments to apply pressure to your plantar fascia, gently breaking up the tight tissue and promoting healing. The therapist may use various techniques, such as sweeping, gliding and cross-friction, to address different areas of the plantar fascia.
  • Home care — Your physical therapist may provide instructions for at-home care of your plantar fascia, including self-massage with a foam roller or tennis ball and the use of ice or heat therapy.

It’s important to note that the Graston Technique may not be appropriate for everyone, and that your plantar fasciitis symptoms and response to treatment should be closely monitored by your physical therapist. However, for many people with plantar fasciitis, the Graston Technique can be an effective tool for managing their pain and promoting healing.

Alliance PTP can help you treat your plantar fasciitis with the Graston Technique

When used in conjunction with physical therapy exercises, the Graston Technique can be an effective way to treat plantar fasciitis. Your physical therapist can introduce you to the Graston Technique, as well as other physical therapy modalities, to ease your foot pain. At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. 

Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address your plantar fasciitis by offering the Graston Technique.

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 


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