I’ve decided to transfer over my previous (and still relevant) blog posts from my original blog (https://drshrutisharma.wordpress.com/) to combine the two sources of information as I no longer maintain the original blog with regular updates as I had intended to. Please enjoy and pass along any of the links to those you know who may benefit from a quick and informative read.
So you have foot pain and go see your doctor. Your doctor tells you that you have plantar fasciitis, but what does that mean?
What is plantar fasciitis?
A condition where the plantar fascia (the connective tissue that travels from your heel to the base of your toes) is pulling on the periosteum (the connective tissue that covers your bones) of the calcaneus (your heel bone). This chronic pulling leads to inflammation and pain. This pain is what you feel in the arches of your feet, around your heel, or even along the whole bottom of your foot.
What are common symptoms and complaints of plantar fasciitis?
-pain is worse first thing in the morning and during your first few steps of the day
-pain can also occur after having rested your feet for a while and then getting back up
-tight calves and achy legs
How does plantar fasciitis occur?
A common reason for plantar fasciitis is over pronation of the forefoot, while the hindfoot remains stable. The torque on the plantar fascia due to the poor mechanics in your foot create a shearing force on the fascia, resulting in inflammation. The weakest part of this fascia is at the attachment of the calcaneal periosteum, particularly on the medial (inner) side. This repetitive torque pulls on the periosteum, causing pain and inflammation. This chronic irritation and inflammation is counteracted by the body laying down more bone in the area, which promotes the formation of heel spurs (to be discussed in a future post).
How can you treat plantar fasciitis?
Treatment can vary based on the severity of your condition and how soon you seek treatment to the onset of symptoms. In most cases, the pain will build up and eventually you’ll find yourself seeking a solution. As this time, the most common treatment suggestions are custom orthotics inserts, massage therapy or other soft tissue treatment, and/or home care.
Aggressive, rigid orthotic inserts will stabilize the forefoot and stop the forefoot torquing is helpful when over pronation and continuous forefoot torque is present. If the pain is mostly in the middle of the plantar fascia, aggressive rearfoot control is needed. If you think that orthotic inserts may help you, please book a consultation.
Instrument assisted soft tissue therapy is another well documented treatment for the this condition. The number of sessions may vary with your condition, but the average number suggested treatments is 8. If available, cold laser therapy following your soft tissue work can be performed to promote faster inflammation reduction and healing.
Home care suggestions include rolling your feet with a rolling device, such as a tennis or golf ball to loosen up the fascia and relive tension. Ice can also be used to reduce pain and inflammation in the area for 5-10 minutes. Lastly, stretching out the appropriate muscles on a regular basis can help reduce the tension on the plantar fascia and surrounding tissues to slow the progression of the condition.
If you suspect you have plantar fasciitis or know of someone who has recently been diagnosed with the condition, please refer them to a health care provider trained in instrument assisted soft tissue therapy, custom orthotic assessment and prescription, and who provides relevant home care for the condition. As it is a chronic condition that develops over time, treatment results can be seen either immediately or within a couple sessions. The regular use of orthotics and follow through on home care suggestions can help correct your condition.
Other treatment options can include nutritional support for your soft tissues, regular exercise and wearing footware that doesn’t promote plantar fascia tension. Sorry ladies but your high heels aren’t going to help if you have this condition.
If you have any questions or would like to book an consultation, please ask.
As always, the information provided is intended for educational purposes and not to act as assessment or treatment.
Helping your feet stay healthy,
Dr. Shruti Sharma
Chiropractor, Nutritional Consultant, Medical Acupuncture Provider