Physical Therapy Tucson: Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

Written for Bodycentral Physical Therapy

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition of the thick band of ligamentous tissue band that runs along the sole of the foot. This condition is treated at physical therapy Tucson Bodycentral Physical Therapy. Often, the patient will experience sharp pain on the heel or arch of the foot, particularly during standing or walking after prolonged sitting or lying down.  A sharp pain in the bottom of the foot that becomes more intense with walking is consistent with a diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.  There is no gold standard diagnostic test that is used to rule-in this condition.  A physician, nurse, or physical therapist will usually be able to determine whether or not a patient is suffering from plantar fasciitis from the patient’s description of their symptom behavior. Call 520-325-4002 or visit

Plantar fasciitis is caused by repetitive micro tearing to the ligament which attaches proximal phalanges of the toes to the medial calcaneal tuberosity of the heel.  The ligament has a medial, central, and lateral component.  Each part of the ligament is comprised of collagen fibers.  When we stand, walk, or run, we put the full weight of our body onto these fibers.  This is called a tensile load.  Tensile loading results on strain to the fibers.  Excessive strain on these fibers will cause the body to initiate an inflammatory cascade.  It is necessary to understand the relevant anatomy and what factors may contribute to excessive strain on the plantar fascia.  Physical Therapy Tucson experts can help you to do so.

What are some factors that may predispose patients to Plantar Fasciitis?  Poor footwear, obesity, aberrant gait mechanics, nutritional deficiency, are all contributing factors and may be addressed in Physical Therapy Tucson has hard, rocky ground with frequent elevation changes.  Floors are frequently made from concrete, which puts more strain on the plantar fascia than wood or carpet.  Flip flops and sandals with poor arch support are common because of the hot climate.  Tucson is also home to many older adults who maintain a very athletic lifestyle. All these factors contribute to the prevalence of plantar fasciitis in Tucson.

Physical Therapy experts may recommend that people experiencing plantar foot pain begin to address their symptoms with rest, icing, and gentle stretching to the foot region.  Over the counter orthotics which support the arch and deepen the heel cup may provide support.  Alternatively, a night splint such as the popular Strasburg sock can keep the calf musculature and plantar fascia on stretch to avoid shortening of the collagen fibers.  Frequent gentle stretching and activation exercises targeting the muscles around the ankle including the gastrocnemius, soleus, anterior tibialis, and peroneals can help increase circulation to speed up tissue healing.

For Athletes, Physical Therapy Tucson therapists may perform a gait analysis to help understand what muscle groups can be activated and strengthened, or alternatively, inhibited to unload the fibers of the plantar fascia.  Strengthening to the stabilizers of the ankle and consistent stretching to the gastrocneus, soleus, and hamstrings are shown to decrease tensile forces on the plantar fascia.  Soft tissue mobilization or dry needling can frequently stimulate the bodies’ natural healing processes.  In addition, taping to the foot and ankle can help avoid excessive strain from occurring.  Conservative treatment including Physical Therapy Tucson at Bodycentral Physical Therapy can help patients avoid more serious medical intervention such as casting, injections, and surgery. Call 520-325-4002 or visit