Plantar Fasciitis or Plantar Fascia Tear

By: Ehren Allen, DPT/Certified Manual Therapist

Plantar Fascia Tear and Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

Pain in the bottom of the foot or Ventral aspect, can really affect your life.  There is nothing quite like getting out of bed and feeling like there is a nail in the bottom of your foot. Plantar Fascia issues can feel this way.  It is usually worse when you first stand up in the morning.  But what is the Plantar Fascia?  What are the Muscles in the Arch of the Foot? 

Muscles in Arch of Foot

The muscles in the Arch of the Foot are: Lumbrical Muscles, Abductor Hallucis, Flexor Digitorum Brevis, & Abductor Digiti Minimi Brevis

Muscles on the bottom of the foot and muscles in the arch of the footMuscles and tendons on the bottom of the foot

Muscles on the Bottom of the Foot

In the picture above, you can see that the plantar fascia is one of the muscles on the bottom of the foot.  It also shows the most common area for a rupture to occur.

What is Plantar Fascia Anatomy?

The quick answer is the Plantar Fascia is a thick band of tissue that starts at the heel and runs to the ball of the foot. This tissue band is elastic in nature and helps to support the arch and bones of the foot. Basically, the plantar fascia gives stability to the foot.

If you want to learn more about plantar fasciitis, please watch this VIDEO

Plantar fascia anatomy or planter fascia. Plantar Fascia Anatomy

Can You Walk on a Torn Plantar Fascia?

The quick answer is yes, but it hurts!  Pain with walking is usually worse when you first get out of bed. The pain usually improves as you take a few steps. If you have a tear it is better to immobilize the foot with a walking boot and use crutches to decrease the weight on the foot. 

Is a Plantar Fascia Tear Serious?

A plantar fascia tear can cause a lot of pain. It is not life threatening but it can be life altering.  A torn Plantar Fascia may limit daily activity which can lead to poor conditioning and weight gain.  It will certainly limit you in any recreational or sport activities.  It is important to get the correct treatment as soon as you can. 

What is the Difference Between Plantar Fasciitis and a Plantar Fascia Tear?

The quick answer is plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the bands of tissue. A tear is actually damage or small breaks in the fibers of the fascia plane.  Sometimes, the plantar fascia tears and you feel a "pop" on the bottom of the foot.  It is important to ice, immobilize, elevate and use crutches if this occurs. 

Symptoms of a Plantar Fascia Tear. Are you Experiencing Pain on the Bottom of Foot?

The quick answer is is the amount of your heel pain.  There may also be a pain in the ball of the foot or pain along the arch of the foot This pain is usually intense and localized. Foot or heel pain in the morning or after getting up and after getting up from sitting for a while.  If you feel a "pop" on the bottom of your foot, you should be evaluated right away for a plantar fascia tear. 

Initially after the injury, there may actually be swelling at the bottom of the foot. To read more about heel pain, please read exercises for the treatment of heel pain.

Pain on the bottom of a foot or ventral surface.  Plantar fasciitis, pain on bottom of foot or a plantar fascial tearA symptom of Plantar Fasciitis tear is heel pain

What Causes Heel Pain or a Plantar Fascia Tear?

  • High Impact exercises
  • Overuse
  • Improper footwear
  • Flat feet or High Arched feet that change walking mechanics.
  • Obesity
  • Normal Aging Process
  • Bone Spurs
  • Lack of flexibility of the calf, Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia. 

How is Torn Plantar Fascia Diagnosed?

Usually, the diagnosis can be correctly accomplished with just a medical history and physical exam. Sometimes an X-Ray or MRI may be required to rule out another problem that may be occurring in the foot.  

What is the Best Treatment for a Plantar Fascia Tear and Plantar Fasciitis?

Your first step is to reduce pain and inflammation. Plantar fasciitis home remedies include rolling the foot on a frozen water bottle. Initially, ice should be applied daily. 

Physical therapy offers a vast array of treatment interventions to calm the inflammation. 

Treatments may include:

Image of a ruptured plantar fascia at the bottom of the foot. Ruptured Plantar Fascia

The Graston Technique can help the inflamed tissue return to a more normal level of pain-free mobility.  

Orthotics or custom fit inserts also may significantly help reduce pain and help support the foot. If you have a bone spur on your heel, a cut-out or hole can be made in the insert to decrease the stress on this area.  JOI rehab uses a computer-based force plate to walk over to get a custom orthotic image of your biomechanics.  

To learn more about the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis and why you should not wait to see a doctor, please watch this VIDEO by orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Turner Vosseller.

What Happens After my Pain and Inflammation Are Gone?

When the pain has improved, the next step of rehabilitation is to address flexibility and strength.  In conjunction with our foot specialists, clinicians have developed specific treatment protocols to progress both the soft tissue /plantar fascia of the foot and the lower leg. The muscles and tendons of your calf play a big part in the success of your recovery.  

To learn more about orthotics to treat this condition, please go to best arch support for plantar fasciitis

Plantar Fascia Stretches or Plantar Fasciitis Stretches

Once your flexibility and basic strength are restored, it is important to stretch regularly to keep the calf muscles and plantar fascia lengthened and mobile.  These stretches can help.

Find a step and lower the heel until feel a stretch in the calf in the back of the leg or bottom of the foot.  Hold 30 sec x 3 reps.

Man doing a calf or gastroc stretch on a step to treat plantar fasciitisStep calf stretch

Lean against a wall with 1 foot forward and the other one behind with the knee straight.  Lunge forward until you feel a stretch on the calf in the back of the leg.  Hold 30 seconds x 3 reps.

Man doing a calf stretch on the Right leg to stretch the gastrocnemius while leaning forward against a wall Wall calf stretch

Is There Any Thing I Can do to Stop A Plantar Fascia Tear From Reoccurring?

Once you have completed your rehab, you will have the best weapon to prevent re-occurrence, a home exercise program. This program will provide all the necessary exercises to facilitate maintaining your current functional level. Your therapist would address all the biomechanical causes that were problems in the first place. Remember, prevention is the key. Foot inserts or orthotics can be an important aspect of your recovery from this condition.  Your therapist can use a computer footplate to order custom orthotics specific to your foot.

Do PRP Injections Help with Plantar Fasciitis?

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections provide some patients with pain relief. Most insurances do not recognize this as a reimbursable treatment. 

If you want to learn more about Plantar Fasciitis, you can also read these articles:

foot pain in the morning, plantar fasciitis pain & home remedies for heel pain.

JOI and JOI Rehab Treat Plantar Fasciitis Learn more about Plantar Fasciitis Here 

JOI Physicians have 5 locations in the Jacksonville and North Florida Area.  To schedule for a New Patient Physician Appointment, please call 904-JOI-2000 or we have online scheduling on our home page.  

JOI Rehab has 12 locations in North Florida. To schedule with JOI Rehab, please call the location or call 904-858-7045. JOI Rehab is now hiring!  To find out about our current job openings, please follow this LINK.



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