This condition has commonly been thrown around as a diagnosis for someone having foot pain at the bottom of his/her feet.  This condition can range from an irritating pain that occurs occasionally to a pain that prevents people from being on their feet for more than an hour. There are many different causes for this condition and each person must be treated based on their individual symptoms. This article will outline the anatomy of plantar fasciitis, its causes and the treatments available. 

What is this condition? Plantar fasciitis is a thick connective tissue made up of collagen fibers covering the muscles found under the skin of the feet. It attaches from the heel bone to the just below your toes. This thick fascial layer helps dissipate force and support the foot. When the plantar fascia gives off pain it is due to the fact that it cannot tolerate the force being placed on it any longer. The plantar fascia will start developing micro tears, which will cause inflammation and eventually pain. The micro tears are found most commonly at the attachment to the heel bone.  Most of the time plantar fasciitis occurs because there is some sort of abnormality of the foot.

From my clinical experience, I have noticed that people with plantar fasciitis almost always have flat feet. This means that the arch in a person’s foot is collapsing. When this occurs, the plantar fascia gets stretched a little more than usual, creating more tension than normal. If an individual with flat feet stands/walks a lot they are almost guaranteed to develop this condition. This condition tends to occur in people who generally have increased their exercise regimen, are obese, older in age and have an occupation that demands them to be on their feet for an extended period of time. 

The symptom that is most common with plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain at the bottom of the foot where the fascia attaches to the heel bone. The pain usually occurs in the first few steps in the morning and with long periods of standing/walking. 

The problem with plantar fascia is that if the person waits too long to seek treatment, then it will be very hard to correct this condition conservatively. This is said because once the ligaments in the foot are overstretched it is very hard to reverse. The great news is that if this condition is taken care of early it can be reversed and prevented. There are many different techniques to get rid of plantar fasciitis, but the cause must be addressed first. 

The following techniques can help treat this condition: 

1) Soft tissue release (hands or instrument-assisted): 

  • Break up scar tissue and promote blood flow to the area to reset the healing process. 

2) Joint mobilization:

  • Break up scar tissue and promote blood flow to the area to reset the healing process. 

3) Exercise rehabilitation of the intrinsic foot muscles:

  • Strengthen the intrinsic foot muscles to help improve the arch of the foot. 
  • A complete restoration of a medial foot may not occur, but improvement can be seen. 

4) Passive modalities (laser and/or ultrasound)

  • Promote blood flow and accelerate the healing process. 

6) Acupuncture:

  • Create an artificial arch and take the pressure off the overloaded plantar fascia.

5) Custom made foot orthotics:

  • Promote blood flow and reset the healing process.

Some techniques work better than others based on the severity of the condition, the patient and the way it is applied. As humans, we have reversed engineered the body, which means there is still much we don’t know. However, we do know one thing though, early detection is key to correct and prevent a condition from occurring. Plantar fasciitis can be a very troublesome condition to deal with; therefore, don’t wait until the pain is unbearable before getting it checked out.  

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Dr. Salim Mana

Chiropractor DC

Dr. Mana is our founder and head chiropractor here at Central Health. He graduated from New York Chiropractic College in 2017. He provides a variety of treatment options to help support the diverse needs of his patients.

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