Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tar Fa-she-i-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It can be a debilitating problem that leads to a loss of quality of life. Plantar fasciitis involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes (plantar fascia). The plantar fascia supports the arch of the foot and absorbs shock when walking. After all, the average American takes about 4000 steps per day, with people who are more active taking 7000-10,000 steps per day. That’s a lot of force for your feet to handle!
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain on the bottom of the heel that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. The pain normally decreases as you get up and move, but it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting. It also generally improves with exercising, such as running, but worsens after rest, post-exercise.
Many different risk factors predispose people to develop plantar fasciitis. First and foremost is weight. If you are overweight and have a BMI over 30, you are six times more likely to develop plantar fasciitis than if you were at a healthy BMI. Age is also a risk factor, with people 40-60 the most likely to develop this painful condition due to decreased tissue elasticity. Other risk factors are more activity or work-dependent, meaning populations are often on their feet, repeatedly stressing the heel pad and plantar fascia. Finally, foot mechanics and the types of shoes we wear can play a role in whether someone develops plantar fasciitis. For example, if your heel pronates inward naturally, you are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis due to a gradual breakdown of the arches on the bottom of the foot. These risk factors are taken into consideration by your healthcare provider when they are diagnosing your heel or foot pain.
If plantar fasciitis goes untreated, the condition can become very painful and cause problems in other areas, such as the knees, hips, and back. Naturally, when there is pain in your feet, it will make you want to change how you walk to feel less discomfort, but the problem is that changing your movement pattern creates stress on other parts of the body. For this reason, it is crucial to address your plantar fasciitis problem as quickly as possible. Chiropractors have gotten excellent results by combining chiropractic adjustments to the feet with soft tissue work and other treatment modalities to heal the source of the problem and restore optimum function.
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How Our Plantar Fasciitis Care Plan Works
We Will Tell You If We Can Help
A chiropractor will also let you know if we can’t help and advise or refer you to a health care provider that can. We do a thorough complimentary consultation and, if we can help, a comprehensive examination that may include x-rays or other diagnostics.
A Customized Treatment Plan
We use the data collected from our consultation and examination and provide you with a written Report of Findings that your chiropractor explains. We will design a customized care plan that reflects your unique body and situation.
Get Back to Your Life
We initially expect your pain to subside quickly and your overall function and health to undergo correction. A chiropractor works to correct the underlying cause of the problem to fix that “leaky” roof, rather than just place buckets to collect the water.
How We Treat Plantar Fasciitis at Barley Wellness
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
At Barley Wellness, we have helped countless people with their plantar fasciitis problems. Before that journey begins, though, our doctors must perform a detailed consultation and exam. During the consultation, our doctors want to hear YOUR story and how your problem has gotten to this point. They also want to hear what impact this has had on your life and what aspects of life it has interfered with. Knowing this information can help them set goals with you so you and your provider can be aligned in your mission and set you up for success.
During the exam, the doctor will assess your foot through palpation and motion testing. These are designed to help them identify the cause of the problem with your foot. They will also check your spine to ensure it is balanced, aligned, and functioning at its neurological best. All the information gathered will be utilized to develop the best recommendations for care available to ensure you get the best results possible. We are well-equipped to provide you with the highest standard of care for plantar fasciitis, and we are eagerly waiting to serve you.
Specific Chiropractic Care in Fairhaven, MA
With plantar fasciitis, it is essential to identify what is causing the plantar fascia to be irritated and inflamed. Is it a gait issue? A health issue? An alignment or lower back nerve issue? In many cases, misalignments in the bones of the feet (tarsal bones) cause the arches to shift and ultimately drop. When this happens, it can stress the tissue and become inflamed over time.
For this reason, our chiropractors use chiropractic adjustments as part of the treatment process. Chiropractic adjustments feel great on the feet and help restore motion and function to the joints of the foot. This can help restore proper foot mechanics, easing the pressure on the plantar fascia and heel. When used with other treatment modalities, foot adjustments can prove very effective in helping combat plantar fasciitis.
Instrument Assisted and Non-Instrument Soft Tissue Mobilization
Using a metal soft tissue tool is helpful with plantar fasciitis. The fascia and musculature on the bottom of the foot, Achilles tendon, and calf muscle require improved circulation, decreased spasticity, decreased adhesions, and improved mobility. Both instrument-assisted and non-instrument-assisted soft tissue work can help.
Ultrasound use may be instrumental in decreasing adhesions, spasms, and inflammation.
Night splints take both the muscles of the calf – the gastrocnemius and soleus – and keep them stretched during the night. These muscles attach to the Achilles tendon, which overlaps with the plantar fascia. If they are tight, they will increase pressure on the plantar fascia. If we keep an overnight stretch on these muscles, it will alleviate stress on the fascia post-usage.
Many times, our feet and arches are not optimal. An orthotic placed in the shoe can improve arch support and alleviate plantar fascial pressure. At Barley Wellness, if necessary, our doctors will take a mold of your foot and have an orthotic custom-made to improve foot/arch issues.
In the past, shoe salespersons measured your foot on a sliding scale. A Brannock device measured the length and width of your foot. Shoes used to come not just in lengths but in widths too. Today that is not the case, and we are often wrongly sized and placed in ill-fitting shoes. The doctors at Barley Wellness will assess whether you are in the correct shoe size and refer you to a specialist who can let you know your correct shoe length and width.
Stretching exercises at first, and then strengthening exercises will be demonstrated and administered for your plantar fasciitis. Exercises are always a part of our care when dealing with any condition we treat at Barley Wellness.
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Who Plantar Fasciitis Affects in Fairhaven, MA
Perhaps it’s obvious, but runners are among the most likely to develop plantar fasciitis. This is simply due to the amount of repetitive stress they put on their feet with the frequency and distance at which they run. The more miles they clock, the more stress and tension are applied to the bones, joints, and tissues of the feet. For this reason, it is imperative to have good running mechanics to ensure the likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis is as low as possible. For example, landing on the balls of your feet instead of your heels (heel strike) can ensure that the heel doesn’t take as much weight load and lead to heel pain over time.
Mild to moderate cases of plantar fasciitis should not keep someone from running. These can be properly managed with appropriate footwear that provides proper support for the heel, as well as dedicated stretching and appropriate treatment therapies such as those listed above. If you have a severe case that is impacting your ability to walk, it goes without saying that running must be paused until healing has had a chance to occur.
Overweight and Obese Individuals
It is estimated that 60-70% of Americans are overweight. While this is indeed an alarming statistic, the reality is most of our population is at risk for many different types of musculoskeletal conditions in addition to the various general health conditions that this can lead to. One of these musculoskeletal conditions is plantar fasciitis. In a person of average weight, a great deal of stress is already applied to the feet with everyday movements, but this force is greatly amplified in an overweight person. Exercise and stretching are certainly beneficial for plantar fasciitis, but with increased weight, these movements can sometimes cause even more stress that can prevent the problem from being corrected.
Ultimately, losing weight is one of the best ways to improve the problem. This decreases the amount of pressure on the feet and allows for healing to occur. It is recommended that you seek treatment at Barley Wellness not only for plantar fasciitis but for our proven weight loss plan. We can provide as much relief as possible from your plantar fasciitis pain while making lifestyle changes to help you lose weight and prevent the problem from happening again.
Another group of people affected by plantar fasciitis due to weight gain is pregnant women. This primarily occurs in the 3rd trimester when weight gain is most rapid. It can also be caused gradually throughout the pregnancy as the walking mechanics slowly shift due to increased size in the mother and a change in pelvic mechanics. For these people, chiropractic care, soft tissue work, and deep tissue soft tissue work can effectively provide relief. It is also important that expecting mothers rest and relax their feet as time allows. For pregnant women, it is imperative to have any kind of foot pain evaluated by a medical professional. Foot pain, especially when present with swelling, can also be a sign of a medical condition in the late stages of pregnancy.
Like runners, people on their feet a lot for work have an increased chance of developing plantar fasciitis. Being on your feet simply means putting more stress on and having more force transmitted through your feet. This is what develops into irritation of this tissue over time. Occupations such as waiters and waitresses, factory workers, laborers, hospital workers, etc., are typical jobs that require a lot of time on their feet, and there are countless others as well.
One of the best ways to combat plantar fasciitis in the workplace is wearing supportive footwear. Correct sizing is crucial to finding the best footwear support. Today we are rarely, if ever, measured for the correct shoe size. Correct shoe size is all about where your forefoot sits in the shoe’s toe box and not simply that your toes don’t touch the end of the shoe. At Barley Wellness, we will assess for toe box adequacy and refer you to a professional adept at shoe sizing. This ensures that your feet have enough support to handle the stress on them without suffering damage over time.
If plantar fasciitis develops, treatment must be sought as soon as possible. By pursuing treatment earlier on, the problem can be more quickly resolved, and it can help keep your productivity high and the amount of missed work time very low.
People with Certain Foot Structures
A simple reality is that many different types of foot structures out there can all lead to plantar fasciitis occurring in one way or another. For example, people with flat feet don’t absorb force and pressure as well because the arches have dropped. This means that the foot transmits A LOT more force through its joints and tissues, making it very easy for plantar fasciitis to develop. Another example would be people whose arches are too high, which means that more pressure is being placed on the joints, which can be uncomfortable and cause tension to develop more in the heel. Regardless of the type of foot structure, chiropractic adjustments, modalities like ultrasound, deep tissue and soft tissue mobilization, and exercise can help alleviate your pain and improve your function.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can chiropractors in Fairhaven, MA help with plantar fasciitis?
Yes! The chiropractors at Barley Wellness have helped many patients overcome plantar fasciitis, even severe cases that were keeping individuals from being able to walk. Having the right balance of treatment methods is key, and Barley Wellness has several treatments available to ensure you get the care you need.
What exercises can you do when you have plantar fasciitis?
One of the best things you can do is calf stretches. This will stretch the calf muscles, the Achilles tendon, and the tissue wrapping around the heel into the plantar fascia. It decreases the pressure and tension on these tissues, contributing to the pain and why the condition can sometimes persist.
Is a foot massage good for plantar fasciitis?
It certainly can be! Soft tissue works such as massage, soft tissue mobilization, and ice massage are good for eliminating knots and decreasing inflammation that can develop in the fascia, leading to pain and discomfort with movements like walking, running, and going up or down stairs. Our doctors and massage therapist will happily work with you to help eliminate your plantar fasciitis pain.
Is walking safe with plantar fasciitis?
Yes, walking is safe with plantar fasciitis, but it could hurt depending on the severity of your case. In reality, we need to walk for many reasons in everyday life. It is best to receive prompt treatment for your plantar fasciitis so you can return to walking as much as you want with little to no pain.
Are cortisone shots good for plantar fasciitis?
Cortisone shots are steroid medicine shots designed to help with inflammation that causes pain in plantar fasciitis. They can certainly be effective in accomplishing their goal, but they do nothing to address the actual cause of the problem in the first place. Once the shot wears off, it is common for the pain and inflammation to persist. It is better to pursue treatment methods that will address the root cause of the problem so that it can be fixed.