What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Also known as “heel pain syndrome,” plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, resulting from a gradual degeneration of the plantar fascia or sudden trauma to the area. Patients may describe the sensation as sharp stab or deep ache in the middle of the heel or along the bottom of the foot that typically occurs during walking or standing.

Pain often occurs early in the morning, when patients are taking their first few steps out of bed, or after other long periods of sitting/lying down/non-activity. As the foot naturally tightens at night, the fascia may gain new tears in the morning, initiating a painful cycle. Appearing in one heel or both, the condition tends to be chronic and can be difficult to heal without a combination of conservative treatments and persistance.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

  • Improper footwear
  • Strenuous activity
  • Obesity
  • Over-pronation
  • High arches or flat feet
  • Poor shock absorption in shoes

Plantar fasciitis is commonly seen in middle-aged patients, but the young can be affected as well. We also see it often in those who place a great deal of stress on their feet like runners, athletes and soldiers. Plantar fasciitis affects approximately 2 million people in the United States annually.

Treatment

In the Office

  • Chiropractic adjustments to restore normal joint mechanics and reduce tension
  • Custom-made orthotics to hold the adjustments and position the foot for healing; use in all shoes for best results
  • Rehabilitative exercises


At Home:

  • Ice and massage on the sore area using a FootWheel® or a golf ball
  • Running and walking on soft surfaces
  • Stretching the feet—the fascia—before activity
  • Rest

Prevention

Stretching before activity, maintaining a healthy weight and wearing supportive footwear all help with prevention. Custom-made functional orthotics are recommended to keep the foot in proper alignment and reduce stress on the plantar fascia.

Recovery

Recovery can be slow and requires patience, with 90% of patients recovering in 6–9 months. A combination of therapies as described above is the most effective approach.

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