Physical therapy for plantar fasciitis

Physical therapy can teach you the proper stretching and strengthening exercises and can provide the support and motivation you need to complete your treatment for plantar fasciitis.

Many therapists evaluate leg and foot alignment to find out whether problems in position caused the heel pain in the first place. They then treat the alignment problem either with specific muscle strengthening or by measuring for (and, in some cases, constructing) heel lifts or other inserts (orthotics) to wear inside the shoes.

Ultrasound is one common physical therapy treatment for plantar fasciitis. It uses high-pitched sound waves to create heat and reduce pain and inflammation.

  • Ultrasound is believed to reduce inflammation and promote healing. It may also decrease pain and protect against muscle spasm.
  • Treatment may consist of two 10- to 15-minute sessions a week for 4 to 6 weeks. Ultrasound may be used before exercise and may be done together with massage.

Although ultrasound has been a common treatment for plantar fasciitis, recent studies suggest that it may be no more effective than sham treatment.1 Ask your doctor about ultrasound for plantar fasciitis.

Citations

  1. Landorf KB, Menz HB (2008). Plantar heel pain and fasciitis, search date January 2007. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Last Updated: July 16, 2009

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