Have you ever experienced pain at the bottom of your heel or bottom of the mid-foot area? It may have been plantar fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a long thick band of tissue that lies beneath the skin on the bottom of your foot. It connects your heel to the front of your foot. Not only does it protect the muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves of your foot, but also allows your foot to function properly with every step you take.
Your plantar fascia is designed to absorb the high stress and strains we put on our feet in everyday life. Sometimes injury, too much pressure on your feet or overuse can damage or tear the tissues. The body’s natural response to injury is inflammation. When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, this can cause heel pain and stiffness.
The term plantar fasciitis is typically used to describe pain in the heel and sole, but it does not tell you what causes the issue.
What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The most common complaint of plantar fasciitis is pain at the bottom of the heel or sometimes at the bottom mid-foot area.
Pain from plantar fasciitis normally develops gradually over time. Some people describe the pain as dull, stabbing or sharp, others describe the pain as a burning or ache at the bottom of the foot extending outwards from the heel.
Plantar fasciitis pain is usually worse in the morning when you first get out of bed or if you have been sitting or lying down for a while. Climbing stairs can be uncomfortable due to heel stiffness. It can feel better with activity but worsen again afterwards.
Although many people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, spurs are the result – not the cause – of plantar fasciitis. Heel spurs often cause no symptoms.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
There are many things that could cause plantar fasciitis. Your fascia supports the muscles and arch of your foot. When it is overly stretched, you can get micro tears in its surface. This can bring on pain and inflammation.
Our experience tells us that in the vast majority of the cases we see, the plantar fascia is not the problem but is a compensation for another area in the body. A twist or misalignment elsewhere causes the body to use the foot to compensate by overstretching and over time that leads to inflammation and pain.
You are at greater risk of plantar fasciitis if you:
- Are an active man and woman between the age of 40 and 70
- Are a woman
- Are overweight or obese
- Are a long distance runner
- Are in a job that requires you to be on your feet often
- Have flat feet or high arches
- Have tight Achilles tendons
- Have an unusual walk or foot pattern
- Often wear high-heeled shoes
- Wear ill-fitting shoes
What is the Solution?
They key to rapid relief and long-term resolution is to identify what the ‘problem behind the problem’ is and to address that, allowing your body to stop compensating and to heal the inflammation in your foot.
Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Once pain in your foot from this condition rears its head, you may start to further compensate in the way you walk to reduce pain which can lead to dis-function in other areas of your body too. Ignoring the pain could cause further injury to your legs, knees, hips and back.
While things like icing, splints, physio and stretching, rest, supportive shoes, painkillers and anti-inflammatories or steroid injections may provide temporary relief, the often don’t addresses the root cause of the problem.
Surgery would be a dramatic option which should only be considered after all non-surgical treatment methods have been exhausted. The common complications of surgery include chronic pain and nerve damage. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort.
A Chiropractor would do a thorough medical history, perform a series of Chiropractic, neurological and orthopaedic tests, posture scans and (when necessary) X-ray imaging, to examine reasons for your pain and present a non-surgical, medication-free solution.
Everything in the body is controlled by the nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments may:
- Correct the underlying problem
- Reduce the stress on the fascia
- Provide effective pain management
- Reduce the risk of further injuries
A Chiropractor may also give you advice on sitting, sleeping and standing habits and other lifestyle factors that can help you to avoid any future injury or unnecessary pain.