Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that affects over three million people in the U.S. each year. This condition is caused by inflammation of the thick band of tissue under the heel and foot, and it can sometimes cause difficulty standing or walking. Plantar fasciitis often responds well to chiropractic care.
Anatomy of the Plantar Fascia
The plantar fascia is a thick ligament that is actually a continuation of your Achilles tendon, connecting your heel bone (calcaneus) to your toes. This important supportive structure keeps the arch of the foot intact. Without the support of the plantar fascia, standing and walking can be difficult and painful.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the heel, though some people also feel pain in the center of the foot. This pain, which some describe as “walking on broken glass,” is generally worse in the morning when getting out of bed or after prolonged resting. Of course, people experience pain differently, and the intensity and type of pain can vary from mild, dull pain to severe sharp or burning pain. It usually improves after a few steps and may not be felt during activity. It may, however, return shortly after activity.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by a number of different things, some related to your body's anatomy and others that aren't related to the body. One cause of plantar fasciitis is a tight Achilles tendon. Remember, the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon are connected, and a problem with one can cause trouble with the other. Rapid weight gain, including that which sometimes accompanies later stages of pregnancy, can strain the ligament and cause plantar fasciitis as well.
If you are a long-distance runner or have a job that involves being on your feet for long periods of time, you may have a greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Poor footwear that does not support your foot well may also be to blame for the development of plantar fasciitis. Both high arches and flat feet can cause plantar fasciitis, too, as they put additional stresses on the plantar fascia.
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
There are a number of treatments that may provide relief from plantar fasciitis pain. The goal of these treatments is to relieve your pain, and also to restore proper motion to your affected joints and improve flexibility and stability of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
Some therapies we might use to treat your plantar fasciitis include manipulation of the joints of your back, leg, foot and ankle, working on stretching the plantar fascia through exercises and home care (such as a home exercise plan, rest and/or ice), and relieving muscle and ligament tension with massage therapy or myofascial release. We can also review your footwear options and provide recommendations if support is required in your footwear. These and other treatments can be beneficial if you are struggling with plantar fasciitis.
There are other causes for heel and foot pain besides plantar fasciitis. We will work with you to determine what that cause is and create a custom treatment program suitable for your condition.