Best Treatment For Plantar Fascia Tear

What is a Plantar Fascia Tear and How is it Treated?

By: Ehren Allen, PT/Certified Manual Therapist

This article will focus on explaining what a plantar fascia tear is, what this injury means to you and most importantly what effective treatment options are. Before we look at tackling the problem of a plantar fasciitis tear lets look at exactly what the plantar fascia is.

Plantar Fascia The Structure

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 band of tissue 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 Fasciitis AnatomyAnatomy of the Plantar Fascia

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

Basically, the quick answer is plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the bands of tissue and a tear is actually damage or small breaks in the fibers of the fascia plane.

What Symptoms are Associated with a Plantar Fascia Tear?

The primary symptom of Plantar Fasciitis tear is heel pain.  There may be 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 also after getting up from sitting for awhile. 

In a more acute stage there may actually be swelling at the bottom of the foot.

What Causes Heel Pain or a Plantar Fascia Tear?

  • High Impact exercises
  • Overuse
  • Improper foot wear
  • Flat feet or High Arched foot that change walking mechanics.
  • Obesity
  • Normal Aging Process
  • Bone Spurs

Image of Plantar FasciitisPlantar Fasciitis

How is a Plantar Fascia Tear Diagnosed?

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

What Kind of Treatment Can Be Done for a Plantar Fascia Tear?

Your first step is to reduce pain and inflammation. Initially, ice should be applied daily during this phase of recovery. Physical therapy offers a vast array of treatment intervention to calm down the inflammation. 

These modalities are Ultrasound and medical laser which are clinically proved effective. The Graston Technique which 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 that you walk over to get a custom orthotic image of your biomechanics.  To learn more about the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis, please read this article:

Pain at the bottom of my footPlantar Fasciitis 

What Happens After my Pain and Inflammation Are Gone?

Now the focus on your Rehabilitation is to address flexibility and strength.  Clinicians, in conjunction with our foot specialists, have developed specific treatment protocols to progress both the soft tissue /plantar fascia of the foot and also the lower leg. The muscles and tendons of your calf play a big part in the success of your recovery.

Will I be Able to Get Back to My Normal Activity?

Once your flexibility and basic strength are restored, your therapist can devise a progressive exercise regimen to appropriately advance you back to your normal activity. Since many causes of plantar fasciitis tears are biomechanical in nature.

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 which is 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 in your recovery from this condition.  Your therapist can use a computer footplate to order custom orthotics specific to your foot.

PRP Injections

Currently, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections are providing some patients pain relief but most insurances do not recognize this as a reimbursable treatment. 

If you want to learn more about Plantar Fasciitis, you can also read this article:

 JOI Physicians and JOI Rehab are now offering Telehealth or Virtual Visits.  To learn more go to: Telemedicine.

If you want to schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist, call JOI-2000 for an appointment or clinic below.  You can also schedule your MD appointment online.



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