Atlantic Coast Chiropractic

Plantar Fasciitis

Also known as “heel pain syndrome,” plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, resulting from a gradual degeneration and inflammation of the plantar fascia. People describe the sensation as sharp stab or deep ache in the middle of the heel or along the arch that typically occurs during walking or standing.

Often, pain occurs early in the morning, when someone is taking their first few steps out of bed, or after other long periods of sitting and non-activity. As the foot naturally tightens at night, the fascia may gain new tears in the morning, initiating a painful cycle. Appearing in one heel or both, the condition tends to be chronic and can be difficult to heal without a combination of aggressive, conservative treatments and total patient complains.

The plantar fascia is the connective tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the toes, with five slips of tissue that form a bridge to each toe. Conditions like heel spurs, fracture, nerve entrapment, and rheumatoid arthritis can exist alongside plantar fasciitis and ay also cause pain.

Improper footwear, strenuous activity, even obesity can bring on plantar fasciitis. Over-pronation (see last month’s blog) high arches, flat feet, and poor shock absorption in shoes can also put excessive stress on the foot’s soft tissues.

Plantar fasciitis is commonly seen in the middle aged person, but the young can be affected as well. We see it often in those who place a great deal of stress on their feet like runners, athletes, and soldiers. Approximately 2 million people in the United States are affected annually.

Prevention of these foot ailments is vital. Stretching before and after activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and wearing supportive footwear if you have abnormalities all help with prevention of foot problems.    

Chiropractic treatment of plantar fasciitis in my office consists of utilizing Ultrasound to decrease inflammation, custom made orthotics when necessary and the Graston technique.

This technique utilizes stainless steel tools to help break up adhesions in the soft tissue of the foot. It promotes circulation and oxygen to the area and allows in restoration of normal function to the foot. For more information on this treatment visit the grastontechnique.com. 

Most patients usually respond well within six to eight weeks of the first treatment compared to nine months if left untreated or just utilizing home modalities. Once the patient is able to resume normal activities a comprehensive home rehabilitation program is given to prevent flair-ups in the future.

The key to a quick recovery is a quick diagnosis and action plan. The longer plantar fasciitis goes untreated the longer and harder it is to get better also causing other compensatory issues such as ankle pain, patella tendonitis and even sciatica!

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