With nearly 2 million American’s dealing with plantar fasciitis, it’s a very common problem that requires attention. Sadly, though, many people ignore their symptoms and discomfort until it becomes debilitating or until they have more time to get treatment. But, treating and alleviating plantar fasciitis can be as simple as seeing a Chiropractor and you can even take steps (no pun intended) to help prevent it from returning.
The feet are the foundation of the body. Problems with your feet are akin to having a sinking or cracking foundation in your home. It’s a chain reaction that influences how the rest of the body operates, but discomfort can also cloud your mind and negatively impact your mood and productivity, too. So how can you tell whether you have plantar fasciitis?
This article breaks down nearly everything about plantar fasciitis and how to determine if you have it. However, there are some key characteristics and your Chiropractor can help you identify these and can then treat you accordingly. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the tissue in your foot. It’s a common misconception that plantar fasciitis only affects the heel of your foot. But, as Dr. Kevin Wong, a California-based Chiropractor explains, the foot actually has three arches, each of which needs long-term support to effectively treat and prevent plantar fasciitis and other foot discomforts. The first arch is the big one that most people know, which is the inside or medial arch. When people say they are flat-footed, they’re typically referring to this arch to make that assessment. The second arch is the lateral arch, which is the arch that runs across the ball of your foot. Finally, there is the arch on the outside of your foot, otherwise known as the transverse arch. Together, these three arches form a triangle on the bottom of your foot, which is what provides your body with balance and support.
Dr. Wong further explains that over the years, the arches of your feet start to naturally fall and for some people, there’s a tipping point where the fascia is pulled more than the body can handle causing discomfort like pain and achiness. While many people use insoles to try and treat their discomfort, Dr. Wong explains the issue stating, “rigid orthotics work because it makes your foot fall asleep from crunching the foot so badly and that’s why people stop feeling the pain.” Instead, he recommends custom orthotics that provide specific arch support tailored to each person’s body and arches. But, what’s most important, according to Dr. Wong, is that if someone is suffering from plantar fasciitis, they do not go naked in their shoes – custom orthotics are a must! Getting a quick foot scan by your chiropractor and receiving custom inserts for your specific arches can make your chiropractic adjustments last longer and help provide the support your foot needs to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Dr. Amanda Bledsoe, a chiropractor based in Arkansas, echoes the points made by Dr. Wong but also explains the importance of seeing a chiropractor for help with your feet. She explains that plantar fasciitis is caused by soft-tissue inflammation and soft tissue do not have a brain. The tissue in your feet is informed by the nerves in your spine, specifically those in your lower back. In fact, she says that it’s rare she diagnoses plantar fasciitis since the symptoms of plantar fasciitis are usually due to a restriction in the lower back, instead. Getting a chiropractic adjustment is sometimes enough to remedy the symptoms of plantar fasciitis because it resets the communication between the nerves and the tissue in the body.
Dr. Bledsoe also emphasizes the importance of wearing custom orthotics to hold your adjustments twice as long, but also because orthotics are “spinal-pelvic stabilizers so inserts are used to change the arch and kinetic chain, which stabilizes alignment to keep nerve flow going as it should.” She maintains that plantar fasciitis is merely a symptom of a blockage in the lower back, which explains why she uses various methods to alleviate the discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis. Of course, getting adjusted regularly is an important part of treatment, as regular adjustments can help keep your body operating optimally. But, Dr. Bledsoe also uses laser therapy to help reduce inflammation, as well as asking about previous issues and injuries.
She also says that although most people who experience the symptoms of plantar fasciitis are between the ages of 40 – 60, age can be irrelevant for some people, even kids, especially those who might have scoliosis. Although many people seem to think it’s normal to have foot pain or soreness, she says that’s a fallacy. In addition to adjustments and laser therapy, she says people should be mindful about their movement. According to Dr. Bledsoe, being overly cautious because of foot pain can actually amplify the pain, but then people tend to move too much and too quickly, once the pain is relieved which can cause more long-term problems. Your chiropractor can help you figure out an appropriate strategy for movement, but you should aim to stand and walk a little bit at least once an hour throughout your workday.
Sleep is another area people should pay attention to if they’re having foot pain, according to Dr. Bledsoe. The way you lay aligns your spine while you sleep. So, if you’re sleeping on your stomach, you’re inverting your spine and essentially erasing the positive effects of a Chiropractic adjustment. But sleeping on your back or on your side puts your spine in a better position, which can help prevent future foot pain. The number one thing people experiencing the symptoms of plantar fasciitis should do according to Dr. Bledsoe? “Get orthotics immediately! You cannot resolve the issues in the lower back until someone is wearing orthotics because it will not provide the proper support for the patient.”
In summary, if you’re experiencing any foot pain or discomfort, call your Chiropractor and make an appointment for an adjustment and a quick (less than five minutes) foot scan. At a minimum, you will be able to understand what is going on and reset the communication in your spine. The best-case scenario is that you’ll fix the foundation of your body so you can live your life pain-free.