Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common and often debilitating condition that affects the foot, causing pain and discomfort in the heel and sole of the foot. We tend to see plantar fasciitis quite often in the clinical setting so I thought it would be wise to provide some insight into the condition.

Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connect from the heel bone to the toes. The condition typically arises from repetitive micro trauma, several macro traumas, biomechanical imbalances, overuse, poor foot mechanics or a combination of the aforementioned. Common risk factors include excessive standing or walking, being overweight, tight calf muscles and improper footwear.

The primary symptom of plantar fasciitis is sharp, stabbing pain in the heel or bottom of the foot, which is usually more pronounced in the morning or after periods of inactivity. Pain can also be triggered by prolonged standing or intense physical activity. The diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is typically made through detailed history taking, a thorough physical examination and often imaging studies, such as ultrasound to confirm.

Management strategies for Plantar Fasciitis

Chiropractors and other manual therapists manage plantar fasciitis by addressing the underlying causes and utilising various manual techniques which may include:

a) Joint manipulation, mobilisation and soft tissue therapies to the structures of the foot, lower leg, knee, hip and up the chain into the lower back to aid in pain reduction, improve joint function and restore proper foot mechanics. Ultrasound, laser therapy, shockwave therapy and electrical stimulation may be additional modalities used in the management of plantar fasciitis.

b) Customized exercises and take-home rehabilitation can be prescribed to strengthen and stretch the muscles of the foot, lower leg and hip, improving flexibility and supporting the healing process.

Use of ice foot baths, ice packs, rolling the plantar fascia out with a frozen bottle or golf ball may aid in reducing inflammation and relieving pain.

c) Co-Management with a podiatrist for customs orthotics or foot insoles are often successful strategies to provide arch support, correct foot alignment and alleviate pressure on the plantar fascia while also trying to normalise walking pattern to help unload other structures like the knee, hip and the lower back. You may also ask the podiatrist for advice on the most suitable footwear. Generally speaking, one should avoid high heels, worn out shoes and shoes with improper arch support to help reduce strain on the plantar fascia.

d) Lifestyle modifications can be made around weight management and activity modifications to minimise strain on the plantar fascia.

As chiropractors, we play a valuable role in the management of plantar fasciitis with our primary goals being alleviation of pain, functional improvements and enhancement of patient’s quality of life. By utilising a combination of manual therapies, implementing self-care strategies and promoting long-term prevention, we can effectively manage this condition and help patients regain their mobility and well-being. If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, consider booking an appointment in with us.

– Aret Chiropractic