“My foot is killing me!”
“Can you heal my aching heel?” It’s a question I hear at least weekly from new patients coming into my office looking for relief from the pain in their feet. Many of those dealing with plantar fasciitis begin every morning with wincing and a few choice words as they suffer through the sensation of walking on glass shards. The chronic pain of plantar fasciitis is a condition that’s hard to ignore, and the fact that it normally doesn’t respond well to traditional treatment methods doesn’t help.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick band of connective tissue on the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel bone to the base of the toes and forms the longitudinal arch of the foot. Irritation to the plantar aponeurosis tendon, along with the quadratus plantae and the flexor digitorum brevis muscles, also frequently contributes to the problem.
The classic symptom is sharp localized pain on the bottom of the foot radiating to the front of the heel, making it very difficult to place any weight on the foot. Generally, the first few steps in the morning after getting out of bed are the most painful, and physical activities like running and jumping are often out of the question.
You’re Not Alone
Sound familiar? If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, you’re not alone. Two million Americans are affected by the condition every year, and over 85% of patients diagnosed by medical doctors were told there was no identifiable cause for their misery. Frustrating, right?
After successfully treating hundreds of gynmasts, triathletes and cyclists who have tried other forms of treatment for their plantar fasciitis with limited or no success, I wanted to take the time to discuss a chiropractic approach to the problem.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
There are a number of precipitating factors that can lead to inflammation of the plantar fasciia, including over-pronating, having flat feet (or, conversely, high-arched feet), standing for long periods of time in poor shoes, and tight achilles tendons. A sudden increase in repetitive stress activities, such as running or cycling, can also bring on plantar fasciitis.
So what actually causes the pain? Misalignment between the bones in the heel and foot due to the precipitating factors listed above put torsion on the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the foot. When a soft tissue’s length and position is altered, it becomes more susceptible to damage and irritation, producing pain in the bottom of the foot.
If these misalignments are not correctly treated, the body often responds by depositing calcium in the long tendons on the bottom of your foot, forming heel spurs or other severe problems and further complicating the condition.
A Chiropractic Approach
With the lack of success in traditional medical treatments, chiropractic care has become a leading option for those suffering with the condition. At Ascent Chiropractic, we use a gentle, low-force adjusting technique to correct the misalignments in the foot that are the root cause of plantar fasciitis. Though there is no single treatment protocol for any injury that works 100% of the time, most patients experience relief from their pain beginning with their first chiropractic visit.
In addition, we’re one of the only clinics in the Brookfield area providing both myofascial soft tissue therapy and physiotaping techniques, which we often combine with chiropractic care to provide continued relief of stress on the muscles and ligaments and promote healing in the soft tissues.
Based on the specifics of your condition, we may suggest additional treatment include stretching of the calf muscles, custom orthotics, arch or heel supports, cryotherapy, anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections, modifying activities or losing weight.
It is important to be active in the treatment of your foot problem. Those who delay seeking treatment are more likely to prolong the road to recovery. If you, a friend or family member in the Brookfield, New Berlin or Wauwatosa area is suffering from the pain and disability of plantar fasciitis, we appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing us as your healthcare provider and look forward to serving you and your family. To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.