Move Empower Concierge Physical Therapy Austin TX
Person gripping foot in pain sitting on floor next to tennis shoes

Those painful first steps of Plantar Fasciitis

If you’re like me, waking up in the morning can be a chore in and of itself. Now add to that sharp heel pain causing you to limp your first few steps out of bed and your day can be off to a rough start. If this sounds familiar, you may be suffering with Plantar Fasciitis!


Plantar fasciitis, or more accurately, plantar fasciopathy, is a repetitive stress injury with a hallmark symptom of sharp pain to the bottom of the heel. The pain is usually triggered by walking after lying or sitting for an extended period and can very debilitating.


What is the Plantar Fascia?

Think of the plantar fascia as a thick tendinous connection between your heel and the forefoot. Its main purpose is to: stabilize the arch of the foot, act as a shock absorber as the foot hits the ground, and assist in allowing the big toe to carry the majority of the body weight.

As you can see in the image below, the Achilles tendon inserts into the backside heel. In reality, there is a continuation of this tissue to the bottom portion of the heel essentially connecting into the layers of the plantar fascia in the arch of the foot.

Physical therapist names parts of foot

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Tightness or poor flexibility of the calf musculature can reduce the amount of motion of the foot during walking or running causing increased strain on the plantar fascia. Over time, this receptive stress will overload the tissue causing degeneration and an inflammatory reaction. This typically presents as pain and stiffness to the bottom portion of the heel.

Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by issues further up the kinetic chain in the hip and knee. Poor mechanics and flexibility of the hip, knee, and ankle can cause increased pronation of the foot as seen in the image below.  The increased pronation of the foot can cause strain overtime in the plantar fascia.

medial collapse of knee causing pronation of foot

Other risk factors of plantar fasciopathy include:

  • Activities that place stress on the feet and heels; ie:  running or dancing.
  • Shoes that provide inadequate support.
  • Increased exercise intensity or volume.
  • Active jobs that require hours of walking or standing on hard surfaces
  • Weak hip and knee musculature causing poor lower body  mechanics


Take home message here:

Do not ignore your heel pain! Nip it before it becomes a long-standing issue. If left uncorrected, this once acute inflammatory process can turn into a chronic issue weakening the tissue and aggravating the nerves located nearby amplifying your heel pain and lengthening your recovery.


Common Treatments:

At Move Empower Concierge Physical Therapy, our expert physical therapists utilize a hands-on approach with manual therapy, dry needling, therapeutic exercise. We find this the most effective and expeditious care plan of getting our patients back the workouts and sports their heel pain was preventing them from.


Are you ready to get back to the sports and workouts you love to do?


Curious if we may be able to help you with your heel or foot pain? Click here to schedule a free consultation call to determine how we can help you get back to the activities and sports you enjoy.

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