Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects the calcaneus (the heel bone) and the toes along the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia serves to absorb shock and support the arch of the foot, and the calling card of plantar fasciitis is pain in the bottom of the heel or the base of the midfoot area. It is a fairly common complaint, affecting millions of people in the United States per year.
For experienced chiropractic treatment of plantar fasciitis, contact us at Rock Creek Spine and Rehabilitation.
The true cause of plantar fasciitis is unknown, though tension and stress cause tears in the plantar fascia, and there are several risk factors that contribute to the condition:
Age. Plantar fasciitis is common in individuals between 40-70 years old.
Obesity. A high percentage of those with plantar fasciitis also struggle with obesity.
Tight Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon connects the calf to the heel, and tension can put a strain on the plantar fascia.
Flat feet or high arches. These natural conditions can weaken the plantar fascia.
Heavy wear on the feet. Standing-heavy occupations, high-impact exercise, and even new or increased activity can put a strain on the plantar fascia.
Wearing ill-supporting shoes. Wearing shoes that do not properly support the feet, either high heels or shoes with worn-out soles may lead to plantar fasciitis.
It used to be believed that heel spurs cause plantar fasciitis, but this is an old school of thought, unsupported by data.
Diagnosis is generally made on the basis of an evaluation in which a healthcare provider applies pressure to the plantar fascia and asks the patient to flex the foot in question. If pain increases when the foot is flexed, the physician might recommend X-rays or an MRI scan to make sure the problem is not bone-related (i.e. fractures or spurs).
Pain in the bottom of the foot, either sharp or dull, could be the result of plantar fasciitis. The area tends to feel better with activity and worse after periods of rest, but too much time or too rigorous strain on one’s feet will exacerbate pain. Sometimes swelling in the heel can also result.
Pain in the toes or ankle is uncommon but not unheard of. Pain in the calf is more likely an associative cause of plantar fasciitis than an effect. Ignoring plantar fasciitis can lead to chronic heel pain, and the change in how one places weight on the foot to avoid pain can even adjust hips and knees adversely.
If you have plantar fasciitis, we at Rock Creek Spine and Rehabilitation are here to get you back on your feet. There are several recommendations for the treatment of the condition:
Rest. This may involve doing less or changing the kind of activities you perform on your feet.
Chiropractic adjustments. Getting adjusted can mitigate the effects of plantar fasciitis as it stores proper communication between the body’s nerves and tissues. Adjustments specific to feet and ankles can relieve pressure in the troubled areas, minimizing pain.
Low-impact exercise. Stretches and strengthening exercises for the calves and plantar fascia can fortify the trouble areas.
Ice. Ice can help to mitigate swelling and inflammation.
Supportive shoes. Good shoes can prevent the problem from getting worse.
Night splints. Night splints stretch the calf during sleep.
Treatments recommended by your general practitioner. Your GP may recommend other treatments, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain or injections of platelet-rich plasma to quell inflammation. In very rare cases, surgery may be called for only if an extended period of other treatments is unsuccessful.