Plantar fasciitis is characterized by sharp medial heel pain that may also extend through the entire foot into the toes. It is typically most painful after getting out of bed or after a period of inactivity. The discomfort often improves after walking and moving throughout the day with pain returning in the evening. Symptoms can also increase after long periods standing, walking, running, hiking, or especially when using the stairs. Contributing factors include muscle tightness in the calves and achilles tendons, weakness or instability of the ankles, and trauma to the feet resulting in scar tissue or a dropped arch. In addition, a low back or sacral misalignment can also contribute. Degeneration of the plantar fascia may also increase with age. The causes vary from person to person, it is best to discuss symptoms with a health care provider trained in musculoskeletal disorders and syndromes to determine the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Additional Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis Include:
- Obesity – Substantial weight can increase pressure exerted on the planter fascia of the foot, which can damage the fascia – resulting in plantar fasciitis.
- Heel spurs are often a reaction to chronic plantar fascia tension.
- Instability of the ankle and foot.
- Flat feet or loss of arch height.
- Decreased flexibility of the muscles in the foot.
- Decreased range of motion of the foot and ankle.
- Improper footwear – including flip flops, high heels or worn out shoes/boots.
- Foot trauma resulting in scar tissue.
- Repetitive movement.
Chiropractic Care is a Successful Treatment for Foot Pain
Conservative care, such as chiropractic care, has been shown to be successful with 95 percent of patients. Resolution time of plantar fasciitis is typically about 6-18 months; however, early recognition and treatment of plantar fasciitis is best as this can lead to a shorter recovery time. Furthermore, in addition to at-home care, treatment by a chiropractor can assist with recovery from plantar fasciitis. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to have a favorable response by increasing the mobility of joints with decreased or altered motion. Adjustments specifically to the foot and ankle, combined with daily stretches have been shown to decrease foot pain.
Customized Shoe Orthotics
Customized shoe orthotics may also be recommended to help support the fascia, arch and heel. While it is tempting to grab the “one size fits all” orthotics off of the shelf, customized orthotics that are based on your feet, weight distribution, and leg length provide the best support for your body.
Conservative care treatment may also include the following:
• Myofascial Release – This therapy utilizes movement, manual contacts and sometimes instruments to break down scar tissue and adhesions allowing the muscles and fascia to stretch and heal correctly.
• Ultrasound, muscle stimulation and other therapeutic techniques may be effective in the reduction of pain and inflammation.
• Kinesiology taping of foot and calves to support the arch and reduce inflammation, resulting in reduced strain on the fascia.
• Night splints holds the foot in a flexed position at night to stretch the fascia. It also prevents the fascia from healing in a shortened, non-functional state.