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What You Need to Know About Plantar Fasciitis

By Dr. Molly Casey

Plantar Fascitis

Feet are an important part of your body, right? They get you where you are going. Their health affects the quality of your life in a big way -- just try having some foot issues and you’ll learn quickly how much their health and function matter. Plantar fasciitis is one common foot issue that can wreak havoc on your mobility and quality of life.

Anatomy

The foot has 26 bones, 30 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Fascia is a thin wrapping of connective tissue found in blood vessels, bones, nerve fibers and muscles. Plantar refers to what you call the bottom your foot. The plantar fascia wraps the bottom of your foot from your heel to toes.

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms and Causes

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. This is diagnosed through examination and a patient symptomatology report. The most common symptom is a stabbing pain in the foot near the heel, particularly when first placing the foot on the ground after sleeping. The pain will often decrease and then return if standing for long periods of time or on particularly hard surfaces.

Plantar fasciitis is also more common in runners or those who are obese or stand for long periods of time for work. This can also occur with feet that have poor biomechanics. The fascia itself can be tight because of tight attaching muscles. It is common that small tears may be present and then the tissue becomes inflamed. The fascia withstands a great deal of shock and pressure because of walking and foot movement, so continued use with no care causes the issue to get worse.

Conservative Care

Can chiropractic care help you if you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis? Possibly, yes. The best conservative treatment protocol I have found throughout the years includes stretching, splints, and chiropractic.

While the issue is inflammation within the connective tissue, there is often underlying tightness or shortening of muscles of the calf pulling on this tissue. Therefore, it is imperative that the patient stretch the calf muscle. Two easy stretches, both a variation of the other, is stepping off the back of a stair, dropping the heel down while keeping the knee straight. Most will feel the pull in the calf immediately. The other option is taking the ball of the foot and putting it up against a wall. The heel is on the floor and the bottom of the foot stretches against the wall. Hold these stretches for 45-60 seconds and repeat multiple times throughout the day. Icing after stretching can offer some relief.

Although some say they find them uncomfortable, night splints are a great treatment option. These are rather inexpensive and found on retail sites. The splints keep the foot at a 90-degree angle while sleeping. What this does is keeps the calf muscle stretched and helps lengthen the fascia as well. It is common that patients will find great relief with these splints.

Chiropractic manipulation of the ankle and foot joints is helpful for restoration of proper joint mechanics. When the foot and ankle are properly functioning in terms of how the joints are operating and moving the muscles, then the tendons, ligaments and connective tissue are not under any undue pressure and are thus able to function at their highest possible level. This will contribute to the decrease of any inflammatory processes caused by improper function.

Plantar fasciitis can be debilitating depending on the severity and your lifestyle. There are conservative treatments that can be of great help in healing from this. Check in with your doctor at The Joint Chiropractic if you have foot pain and think this may be something you’re suffering with.

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