Plantar Fasciitis

Understanding a Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis

Studies show that heel pain is the #1 foot problem in the United States and Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. Plantar Fasciitis is a form of an overuse/repetitive injury that affects the thick band at the bottom of the foot. This condition is usually characterized by pain and tenderness due to inflammation of the fibrous tissue on the underside of the foot. This tissue is called the plantar fascia and it connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot.   Plantar Fasciitis causes pain in your foot that can make walking more difficult.

85% of people with heel pain are active working adults between the ages of 25 and 65.

Although the pain associated with this condition stems from inflammation, the source of the inflammation must be addressed in order to achieve complete recovery and long-lasting benefit. The pain is generally worse in the morning upon waking and decreases with walking. However, prolonged standing can also increase the pain during the day.

How do I know if I have Plantar Fasciitis?

Many times patients think they have Plantar Fasciitis if they experiencing any type of foot pain in any location on the foot.  However, the plantar fascia is only one of the many structures on the bottom of the foot that can cause pain.  Usually foot pain does not come from the plantar fascia itself, but rather one of the other small muscles of the foot.  An example is someone who has pain on the middle arch of the foot.  This is not the plantar fascia and more commonly the foot pain is a spasm of one of the other muscles of the foot.

Classic Plantar Fasciitis is when the plantar fascia, the tough strip of tissue on the bottom of the foot, becomes inflamed from multiple tears and overuse.  The body will deposit scar tissue in these small tears in an effort to heal the soft tissue.  In turn, this scar tissue will cause the plantar fascia to become tight and less stretchy; which makes it more prone to future tears and inflammation.

Who gets Plantar Fasciitis?

Runners, Basketball players, Football players, Baseball players, Dancers, Students….Do you see a trend? Anyone who is on their feet much of the day can develop Plantar Fasciitis.  This includes workers at grocery store and factories as well.

95% of all Plantar Fasciitis patients find a resolution to their pain by the use of non-surgical methods; however, it is not uncommon for the condition to last upwards towards a year, even with treatment.

Plantar fasciitis most often affects active men ages 40 – 70. It is one of the most common orthopedic complaints relating to the foot. Plantar fasciitis is commonly thought of as being caused by a heel spur, but research has found that this is not the case. On x-ray, heel spurs are seen in people with and without plantar fasciitis.

How Can Chiropractic Care Help with Plantar Fasciitis?

DSM Spine+Sport of Urbandale, IA, can help you with plantar fasciitis pain and discomfort. Our chiropractic physicians are trained to evaluate foot alignment and to adjust the bones of your ankle, foot and toes. We will look at your feet, the shoes you are wearing, and how you stand, walk, and run. In addition to looking at the osseous structures of your feet, we utilize a variety of therapies to treat the soft tissues themselves.  Active Release Technique (ART) and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization are two examples of safe and effective treatment of plantar fasciitis.

The pain associated with plantar fasciitis may develop slowly over time, or suddenly after intense activity. Risk factors for plantar fasciitis include:

  • Foot arch problems (both flat feet and high arches)
  • Obesity or sudden weight gain
  • Long-distance running, especially running downhill or on uneven surfaces
  • Tight Achilles tendon (the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel)
  • Shoes with poor arch support or soft soles
The most common complaint is pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel. The heel pain may be dull or sharp. The bottom of the foot may also ache or burn. The pain is usually worse:

  • In the morning when you take your first steps
  • After standing or sitting for a while
  • When climbing stairs
  • After intense activity

Stretching your plantar fasciitis is something you can do at home to relieve pain and speed healing. Applying an ice massage a few times per day in 15 to 20 minute intervals is also a great way to reduce inflammation and pain. We would also recommend placing arch supports in your shoes to absorb shock and remove pressure on the plantar fascia.

In addition to adding these home therapies to help resolve your condition and maximize your results from the chiropractic care, there are even natural supplements that can help reduce pain and inflammation while the body is healing. We can advise you in all these adjunctive relieving approaches.

In a few patients, nonsurgical treatment does not work. Surgery to release the tight tissue becomes necessary, but making sure your ankle, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles are flexible can help prevent plantar fasciitis