Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis causes pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot, becomes inflamed or strained.

Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis
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Your Guide to Understanding Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes pain and discomfort in the heel and the bottom of the foot. It is primarily characterized by inflammation or irritation of the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, providing support to the arch of the foot.

The main cause of plantar fasciitis is excessive strain or tension on the plantar fascia. This can occur due to various factors, such as overuse, repetitive activities, high-impact sports, improper footwear, obesity, or structural abnormalities in the foot. When the plantar fascia undergoes excessive stress, small tears and inflammation can develop, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Individuals with plantar fasciitis typically experience a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel, especially when taking the first few steps in the morning or after periods of rest. The pain may also worsen after prolonged standing, walking, or running. In some cases, the pain may radiate along the arch of the foot. Swelling and tenderness may be present in the affected area, and the pain may subside with rest but return with activity.

Diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is usually based on a physical examination and a review of the individual's medical history and symptoms. In some cases, imaging tests like X-rays or ultrasound may be used to rule out other potential causes of heel pain.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis aims to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. It often involves a combination of conservative measures, including rest, ice therapy, stretching exercises to improve flexibility, using supportive footwear or orthotic inserts, and taking over-the-counter pain medications. Physical therapy, such as ultrasound therapy or extracorporeal shockwave therapy, may be recommended in more severe cases that do not respond to conservative treatments.

How can Chiropractic help treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Chiropractic services provide a comprehensive approach to alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. By focusing on the function of the foot and ankle, chiropractors aim to reduce inflammation and promote healing of the plantar fascia.

They may use techniques such as manual adjustments, stretching exercises, and soft tissue manipulation to improve joint mobility and reduce tension in the affected area. Custom orthotics and footwear recommendations may also be provided to provide support and distribute pressure evenly. With chiropractic care, individuals with plantar fasciitis can experience reduced pain, improved flexibility, and enhanced overall foot function.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is typically caused by excessive strain or tension on the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Several factors can contribute to the development of this condition.

One common cause is overuse or repetitive activities that put too much stress on the plantar fascia. This can happen from activities like running, jumping, or standing for long periods. Another factor is wearing improper footwear, such as shoes without proper arch support or cushioning, which can add strain to the plantar fascia.

Obesity or being overweight can also increase the risk of plantar fasciitis as the extra weight puts more pressure on the feet. Structural abnormalities in the foot, such as high arches or flat feet, can also contribute to the condition. These foot structures can alter the distribution of weight and impact how the plantar fascia functions.

It's worth noting that some individuals may be more prone to developing plantar fasciitis due to genetic factors or certain medical conditions like arthritis or diabetes. However, the primary cause of plantar fasciitis is usually related to excessive strain on the plantar fascia.

What treatments might help Plantar Fasciitis?

The treatment for plantar fasciitis aims to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. Here are some straightforward ways in which treatment can help improve plantar fasciitis:

  • Stretching exercises: Performing specific stretching exercises, focusing on the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, can help improve flexibility and relieve tension in the affected area.
  • Physical therapy: Working with a physical therapist can provide guidance on proper stretching techniques, as well as strengthening exercises for the lower leg muscles. Physical therapy can help improve mobility and reduce pain.
  • Rest and activity modification: Giving the foot sufficient rest and avoiding activities that exacerbate the condition can help reduce inflammation and provide the foot with an opportunity to heal.
  • Ice application: Applying ice to the bottom of the foot near the heel can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. It is recommended to apply ice for about 20 minutes several times a day.
  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to manage pain and reduce inflammation in the plantar fascia.
  • Supportive footwear: Wearing shoes with proper arch support and cushioning can help distribute pressure evenly and reduce strain on the plantar fascia.
  • Orthotic devices: Custom-made shoe inserts or orthotic devices can provide additional support and help correct foot mechanics, reducing stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Night splints: Using night splints can help stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon while sleeping, promoting healing and reducing morning pain and stiffness.
  • Injections or shock wave therapy: In some cases, corticosteroid injections or platelet-rich plasma injections may be recommended to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Shock wave therapy may also be considered to stimulate tissue repair.

Signs of Plantar Fasciitis:

Plantar fasciitis can be recognized by several common signs and symptoms. Here are some straightforward indications that you may be experiencing plantar fasciitis:

  • Heel pain: The most prominent symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel. It is typically felt on the bottom of the foot, near the front of the heel. The pain can range from mild to severe and is often described as a sharp, stabbing sensation or a dull ache.
  • Pain after rest: People with plantar fasciitis often experience increased pain after periods of rest, such as waking up in the morning or after sitting for a while. The pain may subside with movement but can return after prolonged periods of activity.
  • Stiffness and discomfort in the morning: Many individuals with plantar fasciitis report feeling stiffness and discomfort in the foot when they first get out of bed in the morning or when they stand up after sitting for a long time. This is because the plantar fascia tightens during periods of inactivity.
  • Pain during activities: Plantar fasciitis pain may worsen during certain activities that involve standing, walking, or running. It is common to feel increased discomfort during the initial steps or when engaging in prolonged physical activity.
  • Tenderness and swelling: The affected area of the foot may be tender to touch, and some individuals may experience mild swelling around the heel.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis:

Plantar fasciitis is characterized by specific symptoms that can help identify the condition. Here are straightforward indications of plantar fasciitis:

  • Heel pain: The most noticeable symptom is pain in the heel, typically felt on the underside of the foot near the front of the heel. The pain can vary from a sharp, stabbing sensation to a dull ache.
  • Pain after rest: Many individuals experience increased pain after periods of rest, such as when first getting out of bed in the morning or standing up after sitting for a while. This is due to the tightening of the plantar fascia during periods of inactivity.
  • Morning stiffness: People with plantar fasciitis often feel stiffness and discomfort in the foot when they take their first steps in the morning or after long periods of inactivity. The stiffness tends to improve with movement.
  • Pain during activity: Engaging in activities that involve standing, walking, or running can exacerbate the pain. Some individuals may experience increased discomfort during the initial steps or after prolonged physical activity.
  • Tenderness and swelling: The affected area of the foot may be sensitive to touch, and mild swelling can sometimes occur around the heel.
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When is the right time to see a Chiropractor for Plantar Fasciitis?

It is advisable to see a chiropractor if you are experiencing persistent or worsening symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Here are some indicators that it may be the right time to seek professional help:

  • Pain that lasts for more than a few weeks: If you have been experiencing foot pain, particularly in the heel or bottom of the foot, for more than a few weeks without any improvement, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional.
  • Difficulty with daily activities: If your plantar fasciitis is impacting your ability to perform regular activities such as walking, running, or standing, seeking professional assistance can help alleviate the pain and restore functionality.
  • Pain affecting quality of life: If the pain from plantar fasciitis is interfering with your sleep, work, or overall quality of life, it's a good idea to seek treatment to address the underlying causes and manage the discomfort.
  • Conservative measures haven't provided relief: If you have already tried self-care measures like rest, ice, stretching exercises, and wearing supportive footwear, but have not experienced significant relief, it may be beneficial to consult a healthcare professional.
  • Recurrence of symptoms: If you have previously experienced plantar fasciitis and it has returned, it is wise to seek professional guidance to understand why the condition is recurring and to implement effective preventive strategies.

Meet our Lead Chiropractor

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Chiropractor

Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Brett enjoys working with active individuals looking to reach the next level and also anyone who is trying to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

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