Plantar fasciitis (PF) affects approximately two-million people in the US, of both athletic and non-athletic populations. This condition can be debilitating and significantly affect one's quality of life in a very negative way. There are few high quality studies on this condition and the most successful treatments. Treatments range from chiropractic care, physical therapy, injections and surgeries. Fortunately this condition can typically be resolved with conservative treatment and lifestyle modifications that can prevent going under the knife. Simply put, plantar fasciitis is a strain with subsequent inflammation of the thick tissue (plantar fascia) and muscles on the bottom of the foot causing heel pain. Plantar fasciitis (PF) is characterized by biting heel / mid arch pain when first bearing weight in the morning, or after long periods of rest. The pain typically subsides within 5 minutes of walking or running, then worsens with long term activity or weight bearing. It is also associated with tired, achy feet at the end of the day and foot cramps. PF is seen in both active and inactive people, and is rarely the result of an acute injury. PF can be the result of several different factors: repetitive overuse injuries, poor fitting footwear, overtraining, structural abnormalities of the foot and improper gait mechanics. PF often becomes a chronic and / or recurring problem if not given the appropriate treatment and follow up care.
Some contributing factors to the development of plantar fasciitis:
Structural abnormalities: Plantar fasciitis is very commonly seen with pes planus (pictured left), or flat footed individuals. As you can see, this individual's medial arch is almost flush with the ground. This can create strain on the plantar fascia. Severe injuries resulting in the need for surgical fusion of the foot can also create strain on the plantar fascia. In these cases of severe structural abnormalities, orthotics are typically indicated. Rehabilitation including foot strengthening exercises, chiropractic manipulation and soft tissue techniques can relieve pain and help to alleviate strain on the tissues and resolve flair ups. We use custom orthotics from Foot Levelers in our office. Using a 3-D scanner, we can have custom orthotics made to support the full structure of your foot.
Poorly fitting footwear : Wearing improper footwear over time can lead to PF. If a shoe does not fit your foot properly, your gait is altered during any weight bearing activity. This has an effect on the entire kinetic chain and can ultimately cause strain on the plantar fascia. The strength and flexibility of your foot will determine your best type of footwear.
Overtraining : Can be a huge contributor to PF. What many athletes, weekend warriors and the like tend to overlook is the importance of recovery in their training regimens. If your tissues don't have optimal nutrition, rest and repair time they start DEgenerate rather than REgenerate. Especially when it comes to long distance running, or quick sprints, the feet have a lot of demand.
Nerve Impingement : Plantar fasciitis can be a symptom of sciatic …