Synopsis: Article examines physical therapy and other options for feet and heel pain, including Plantar fasciitis.
Orthotics is defined as a specialty within the medical field concerned with the design, manufacture and application of orthoses. An Orthotic is a support, brace, or splint used to support, align, prevent, or correct the function of movable parts of the body. Shoe inserts are a type of orthotic intended to correct an abnormal or irregular walking pattern. Other orthotics include neck braces, lumbosacral supports, knee braces, and wrist supports.
In the physical therapy world, a person’s walking pattern is a window into their condition, it provides physical therapists with insight concerning the person’s current level of function and serves as a rather plain test to determine if treatments are being effective. Evaluating how a person walks is very valuable to the rehabilitation process. Often times, a person’s walking pattern or, ‘gait pattern,’ dramatically improves due to the treatments received from just one physical therapy session. Karen McCain, a physical therapist, describes walking speed as the, ‘sixth vital sign.’
In her article on the subject Karen stated, “It is important because walking speed depends on many factors, such as motor control, muscle strength, sensation, cognition, motivation, and overall health status.”
Along with these essential elements of treating people, therapists also pay very close attention to the position of the person’s foot and ankle as they walk. Pronation and supination are two very common foot and ankle conditions treated through physical therapy, which may lead to:
Painful heels are the number four concern that brings people into the offices of a number of family doctors, as well as the number one concern bringing people to the offices of podiatric physicians. Heel pain may have a number of causes, yet the vast majority is caused by plantar fasciitis. ‘Plantar,’ means, ‘bottom of the foot.’ ‘Fascia,’ is a ligament or bundle of ligaments. The plantar fascia is the thick ligament that helps a person to hold up their foot and provides, ‘spring,’ to the person’s step.
Plantar fasciitis involves an inflammation of the plantar fascia and causes more than 90% of heel pain among adults in America. The condition may be acute but is often chronic, remaining for months if not years. The reason this occurs is due to poor foot mechanics, the person’s foot sinking down too far to allow the plantar fascia to overstretch with every step the person takes. If the person’s plantar fasciitis is acute then it is basically treated as a sprain with: