Can Physiotherapy Help with Plantar Fasciitis During Pregnancy

Can Physiotherapy Help with Plantar Fasciitis During Pregnancy

Physiotherapy can be a helpful treatment option for managing plantar fasciitis during pregnancy. Plantar fasciitis is a prevalent condition that causes inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of soft tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Pregnancy can exacerbate this condition due to weight gain, hormonal changes, and changes in gait.

We at Proremedy Physio in Mississauga offer specialized physiotherapy services for pregnant women with plantar fasciitis. Our team of trained professionals can provide individualized treatment plans and support to help manage the symptoms of plantar fasciitis during pregnancy.

But can physiotherapy help? This article delves into the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for plantar fasciitis during pregnancy.

What is plantar fasciitis?

First of all, let’s understand what plantar fasciitis is. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia plays a crucial role in supporting the arch of the foot and absorbing shock during activities like walking, running, and standing. When the plantar fascia becomes overstressed or damaged, it can lead to the development of plantar fasciitis.

physiotherapy for plantar fasciitis during pregnancy

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis During Pregnancy

Plantar fasciitis typically manifests as a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel or arch of the foot. The symptom of plantar fasciitis is often more severe in the morning and gradually lessens throughout the day. This can be disruptive to daily activities, making it challenging to walk or stand for extended periods. Foot cramps may also occur, further impacting the feet during pregnancy.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis during pregnancy:

  • Weight Gain: Increasing body weight puts excess pressure on the feet.
  • Flat Feet: Pregnant women often experience changes in foot structure, such as flattening of the feet, which can stress the plantar fascia. 
  • Physical Activity: While physical activity is generally healthy, intense or improper exercise can strain the plantar fascia. 
  • Body During Pregnancy: Hormonal changes can affect ligament elasticity, which may contribute to foot pain during pregnancy.  
physiotherapy for plantar fasciitis

Physical Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Physical therapy is a widely recognized treatment modality for musculoskeletal conditions, including plantar fasciitis. Characterized by inflammation and pain in the plantar fascia—the thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes—plantar fasciitis can significantly disrupt daily activities and diminish the quality of life. Fortunately, a well-planned physical therapy program can offer substantial relief. 

The Physical Therapy Program

A well-designed physical therapy program can provide relief for plantar fasciitis. The treatment program typically involves:

  • Fascia Stretch: Stretching the plantar fascia is key to alleviating tension. Plantar fascia stretching can be done several times per day to help improve flexibility.
  • Advanced Foot & Ankle Exercises: These target the plantar fascia and other supportive structures in the foot and ankle.
  • Gastrocnemius Muscle Work: Specific exercises can also help stretch the gastrocnemius muscle in the calf, which is often tight in people with plantar fasciitis.

Physical Therapy Treatment Modalities

Physical therapy employs various treatment modalities to address various musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. These techniques are used to help patients in relieving pain, restore function and improving mobility with physiotherapy. Here are some commonly used physical therapy treatment modalities:

  • Night Splints: These keep the foot in a dorsiflexed position overnight, stretching the plantar fascia and providing relief. 
  • Motion-Control Shoes: Motion-control shoes can support flat feet and help alleviate excess pressure on the plantar fascia. 
  • Manual Therapy: Physiotherapists may use hands-on techniques, such as circular motions, to massage and stretch the symptomatic foot. 

 Additional Remedies 

  1. Foot Cramps: Magnesium supplements may be recommended for foot cramps during pregnancy. 
  2. Shoe Size: Women often experience a change in shoe size during pregnancy. Wearing shoes that fit well can alleviate foot pain.
  3. Curl Exercise: This involves curling your toes around a towel on the floor, which can be incorporated into an exercise program.
  4. Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: Additional medical treatments such as corticosteroid injections may be considered for more severe cases, although these are often avoided during pregnancy.
  5. Plantar Fascia Rupture: In extreme cases, the plantar fascia may rupture. This requires immediate medical intervention.

Conclusion

Plantar fasciitis can be a significant source of pain during pregnancy. A combination of weight gain, changes in physical activity, and other body changes during pregnancy increase the risk factors for this condition. However, a targeted physical therapy program can offer effective treatment. Techniques such as fascia stretch, wearing motion-control shoes, and specific exercises like the curl exercise can significantly help. 

A well-rounded physical therapy treatment program can significantly relieve plantar fasciitis, making daily activities more manageable. Pregnant women suffering from this condition should consult healthcare providers to develop a tailored exercise program and discuss other treatment options. Plantar fasciitis during pregnancy can be effectively managed with appropriate care, allowing for a more comfortable and happier pregnancy experience.

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Arpan has been practicing as a physiotherapist since 2010, starting her career in a trauma center in India where she worked with post-traumatic and post-operative cases. She moved to Canada and continued her independent practice, specializing in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic issues, sports injuries, and pelvic health physiotherapy. She has experience dealing with MVA and WSIB clients and has been working in the Mississauga community since 2015.

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Physiotherapist Arpan Hundal

Arpan has been practicing as a physiotherapist since 2010, starting her career in a trauma center in India where she worked with post-traumatic and post-operative cases. She moved to Canada and continued her independent practice, specializing in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic issues, sports injuries, and pelvic health physiotherapy. She has experience dealing with MVA and WSIB clients and has been working in the Mississauga community since 2015.

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