The title poses an important question for anyone suffering from plantar fasciitis, and the direct answer is you should seek out physical therapy as soon as possible after being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Read on to learn more about why you should seek PT so quickly and how it can help you.
Why should you start plantar fasciitis PT so quickly?
Plantar fasciitis can greatly affect your ability to walk, stand, run, and do any other activities that involve your feet (which is most of them). You may feel discomfort in your injured foot during such activities. But, typically, people with this condition feel more pain when they’ve been lying or sitting down for a long time. For instance, many plantar fasciitis sufferers will feel pain with the first few steps they take after getting out of bed in the morning.
This condition can also take quite a while to recover from. According to one medical study, more than 80% of plantar fasciitis cases recover within one year of the initial injury. However, a 2017 study in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) concluded that evidence-based PT leads to a faster recovery time for plantar fasciitis patients. In short, you should seek out PT quickly because it can help you recover faster.
Other reasons you should consider seeking out PT for your plantar fasciitis include:
- Lower overall cost of care — Medications, doctors visits and other types of care for your foot can all add up fast. However, one of the PT techniques that is often used for plantar fasciitis treatment can help. The 2017 JOSPT study mentioned above found that people whose PT treatment included manual therapy saved $340 on their total cost of care.
- Fewer PT visits — A PT plan for plantar fasciitis that includes manual therapy can benefit patients in other ways. One important benefit is that such a plan reduced the average number of PT visits plantar fasciitis sufferers needed. This means that your care could last for less time and also impact your daily life less.
How can physical therapists help your plantar fasciitis once you’re in PT?
We’ve talked about why you should seek PT for plantar fasciitis quickly and some of the benefits that can offer. Now, let’s talk about how physical therapists can help your plantar fasciitis once you’re in PT. A few of the PT methods that your specialist may use to treat your plantar fasciitis include:
- Manual therapy — A 2017 JOSPT study reveals that 87% of the patients who went to PT for plantar fasciitis received manual therapy as part of their treatment plan. This category of PT is also known as hands-on therapy. And there’s a good reason for that. Physical therapists use their hands to perform manual therapy techniques. Often, their hands will apply pressure to the injured area or move a joint through its normal range of motion when you can’t do so yourself.
- Rehab exercises — The same JOSPT study from 2017 found that 90% of plantar fasciitis patients who had PT were given supervised rehabilitative exercises (SREs) to do during treatment. Also known as rehab exercises or therapeutic exercises, SREs can help you reach several recovery goals. Therapeutic strengthening exercises can help increase the ability of leg and foot muscles to support you as you move. In turn, this can help reduce stress on the plantar fascia. Certain stretches can also help plantar fasciitis. The stretches your physical therapist chooses are intended to help ease tension in muscles that are putting extra strain on the plantar fascia.
- Gait analysis — There is a chance that part of why you developed plantar fasciitis is that something is off with your gait. Your gait is how your body moves as you walk. One gait issue that may increase the chances of plantar fasciitis includes feet that roll too far inward (pronation) or outward (supination) as you walk. Another is having a limb length discrepancy, or one leg that is longer or shorter than the other. Physical therapists can analyze your gait to detect these and other issues. They can then help you take steps to address them, which may help reduce your risk of developing plantar fasciitis again.
Alliance PTP can help you find the right PT clinic to treat your plantar fasciitis
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 plantar fasciitis.
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.
Come find help for your plantar fasciitis today!