Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition of the feet in which the person feels a sharp pain on the bottom of the foot usually on the inside front of their heel. It commonly affects runners or people that are starting a new exercise program. Risk factors include running on uneven surfaces or wearing poor footwear. It also affects people who typically stand on a hard surface during the day. People most often affected tend to be middle-aged and it also commonly occurs among pregnant women and people who stand on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time.
Structure and function of the foot
The arch of the foot provides support and stability to the foot – the foundation of the body. Much like an arch bridge provides stable support, the arch of the foot supports the entire weight of our body. However, there are other supporting elements including the ligaments and tendons of the lower leg muscles. These are soft tissues that also provide tensile strength to the bony arch as well. Part of this ligamentous structure is the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot. When the arch is stressed repetitively it can suffer microtears and become painful and inflamed.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
It is important to remember that ultimately, the body heals itself – any provider is merely attempting to aid and facilitate this natural process. The question is whether they are focused on merely the pain of the problem or correction of the underlying problem itself. If the problem is biomechanical in nature, it follows then that the solution should be biomechanical or structural as well.
Medical providers may recommend antiiflammatory medications and rest as a first course of care. They may also recommend physical therapy procedures such as ice or stretching. In more severe cases, they may recommend cortizone injections or even surgery.
My approach as a chiropractor is to begin with a thorough history. Is this a relatively new condition or more chronic in nature? This will change how it is approached and the type of care needed.
Then an examination is needed to assess the severity and functional capability in the foot and ankle. Are there tight muscles? Where is the pain and tenderness? When is it worst? Is the range of motion limited? Are the joints mobile or restricted?
Many times there is joint restriction or subluxation of the foot and ankle. If this dysfunction is not corrected, stretching will not be as effective! Cross-friction fiber massage of the plantar fascia and myofascial release of the leg muscles may be necessary in order to release the tension. Kinesio elastic tape can be applied to ease the burden of the plantar fascia as it heals. Custom orthotics may be necessary in some cases to allow continued activity while the fascia heals as well.
Finally, stretching and exercises can be beneficial to the patient recuperating from plantar fascia. Commonly, the muscles on the rear of the calf are tight and benefit from stretching, but another method involves strengthening the opposing muscles on the front of the lower leg. This is a functional way of relaxing the rear muscles thereby easing the tension to the plantar fascia. Receive a copy of our common exercises/stretches for plantar fasciitis here…
If you or someone you know is suffering from plantar fasciitis – give us a call for a complimentary consult. Treatment, including stretches and exercises, can vary depending the stage and severity of the condition. A customized approach that is right for each individual yields the best results.
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