Have you ever experienced a sharp burning pain in your feet when taking your first steps in the morning? If you have experienced this before, you might have a condition known as plantar fasciitis. According to the American Chiropractic Association, around 2 million people in the United States experience this condition each year.
How do I know if I have plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is characterized by a sharp pain near the inside front part of the heel, and usually affects only one foot, but can be both feet. The pain is usually the worst when taking the first few steps in the morning or after resting for prolonged periods. The American Chiropractic Association states that with conservative care most patients find relief within 6 months.
Who’s at risk?
Plantar fasciitis can develop slowly over time or with a single injury to the bottom of the foot. You may be at risk if your day involves standing on a hard surface for several hours without the proper footwear or a cushioned floor mat. Women and people that are overweight are affected more commonly. Another group that can be affected are those folks with high arches or flat feet. Plantar fasciitis can even be due to over training in various sports and activities.
What is the root cause?
As a chiropractor, I like to know the mechanisms that actually cause the problems, and I look to correct the problem. Under normal circumstances the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot known as the plantar fascia, acts like a shock absorbing bowstring. When stresses are too much for it to handle, the plantar fascia develops microscopic tears which eventually become inflamed. As mentioned above, this can be caused by repetitive stress or a single trauma. Understanding your daily activities and figuring out which activities are causing the injury to the foot are very important in limiting even more injury to the plantar fascia.
How can it be treated?
There are several different methods to treating plantar fasciitis and I prefer to take a conservative approach in my treatment of this condition. Listed below are a few of the conservative treatment options available
- Orthotics – Customized orthotics can help stabilize the foot and minimize further injury to the plantar fascia. In our office we use a special device to scan the feet and assess the arches that support the structure of the foot.
- Physical Therapy – The simplest solution is to stretch the calf and hamstring of the affected leg. The plantar fascia is connected to the fascia covering the achilles tendon, calf and hamstring. Stretching these areas will give the plantar fascia some wiggle room.
- Soft Tissue Manipulation – Handheld tools are used to break up any adhesions in the plantar fascia. This works by releasing areas that are bound or stuck together. The stimulation of the tissue also aids in the body’s healing response.
- Ultrasound uses sound waves to stimulate the tissue of the plantar fascia. The increased stimulation increases blood flow to the treated area and this also allows waste products to be removed quickly decreasing inflammation.
- Inontophoresis is a patch that contains an anti-inflammatory substance and is applied to the surface of the skin and electronic charges are used to push the substance through the skin and into the tissue.
- Lifestyle Changes – weight loss and a decrease in the intensity of the offending activity are also suggested.
As with any injury or medical issue, treating signs of plantar fascia early on can minimize long term affects.
– Dr Adam Gingras, DC
Senara Health and Healing Center, located in Peoria, Illinois, offers a multidimensional approach to chiropractic and wellness care. Using the latest advancements in spinal and holistic health, they advance their mantra, Live Life Well, to their guests. Established as Kramer Chiropractic in 2002, the facility moved and expanded it’s services in late 2011 to Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa.