Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is caused from inflammation in the thick band of tissue running across the bottom of your foot. This tissue, which is called the plantar fascia, connects your heel bone to your toes.
If you experience stabbing pains along the bottom of your feet when taking your first steps in the morning, then you may have plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis pain may decrease with more steps. However, it may return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting.
Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. It’s also common in people who or overweight and people who wear shoes with inadequate support.
Today, we’re explaining what you need to know about plantar fasciitis, including what it is, its symptoms, and its treatment options.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel.
Most plantar fasciitis sufferers notice the issue primarily during the first few steps of the day – say, just after getting out of bed. However, you may also notice it after long periods of inactivity, like if you were sitting at your desk for 2-3 hours with minimal movement.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation in the plantar fascia, which is the thick band of tissue that runs from your toes to your heel across the bottom of your foot.
When this tissue becomes irritated or inflamed, it causes pain.
The plantar fascia is in the shape of a bowstring. The tissue supports your foot and absorbs shock as you walk and run.
A healthy plantar fascia can absorb tension and stress. When tension becomes too great, however, it can cause small tears in the tissue. When you repeatedly stretch and tear the plantar fascia, it can lead to irritation and inflammation.
We know that plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation and irritation in the plantar fascia. However, the cause of this inflammation isn’t always clear.
Risk Factors of Plantar Fasciitis
Some people develop plantar fasciitis due to excessive wear and tear in the region – like too much running or walking, improper shoe support, and obesity, or a combination of all three.
For others, however, the cause of plantar fasciitis remains unclear.
We do know, however, that certain factors put you more at risk of developing plantar fasciitis, including:
- Age: Plantar fasciitis is most common between ages 40 and 60.
- Certain Types of Exercise: Some types of exercise place stress on your heel and attached tissue. Long-distance running, ballet dancing, aerobic dance, and similar foot-intensive activities can all increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.
- Foot Mechanics: Having flat feet, a high arch, or an abnormal walking pattern can affect the way weight is distributed when standing, putting added stress on the plantar fascia tissue and increasing the chance of developing plantar fasciitis.
- Obesity: People who are obese or overweight naturally put more pressure on their feet during normal activities, increasing the risk of plantar fasciitis.
- Occupational Hazards: Some people spend all day on their feet during work. People in certain professions – like cashiers or factory workers – may have increased risk of plantar fasciitis.
How to Diagnose Plantar Fasciitis
A doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor can diagnose plantar fasciitis with a physical examination and other tests.
The specialist may ask about your medical history, for example, and check areas of tenderness in your foot.
If your foot is tender in certain areas but not others, then it’s a sign you have plantar fasciitis.
Typically, specialists can diagnose plantar fasciitis without an imaging test. However, some may recommend an X-ray or MRI to verify a diagnosis.
How Do Chiropractors Treat Plantar Fasciitis?
Chiropractors, physical therapists, and physicians may treat plantar fasciitis using medications, therapies, manipulations, or injections. Severe cases of plantar fasciitis may require surgery, although surgery is rare.
Common treatments for plantar fasciitis include:
- Pain Relief Drugs: Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) may reduce the pain and inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapists can stretch the plantar fascia tendon and Achilles, reducing the risk of injury, strengthening the leg muscles, and supporting the bottom of your feet.
- Night Splints: A splint may stretch your calf and the arch of your foot, holding your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight to stretch it.
- Orthotics: Doctors might prescribe arch supports (orthotics) to reduce symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Some can treat their condition with on-the-shelf orthotics, while others with more serious cases may want to buy custom-fitted orthotics.
- Steroid Injections: Injecting steroid medication into the tender area of the foot can provide temporary pain relief from plantar fasciitis.
- Plasma Injections: Some specialists also recommend platelet-rich plasma injections, which can promote tissue healing in the region.
- Shock Wave Therapy: Shock wave therapy directs sound waves at the affected area to stimulate healing.
- Ultrasonic Tissue Repair: Ultrasonic tissue repair is a minimally invasive procedure where doctors use ultrasound imaging to guide a needle-like probe into the damaged plantar fascia tissue. This probe vibrates rapidly, breaking up damaged tissue and suctioning it out, kickstarting your body’s natural healing processes.
- Surgery: Most plantar fasciitis cases can be addressed with the treatment methods above, and few people require surgery. However, if pain is severe and all other treatments have failed, then a doctor may recommend surgery. During plantar fasciitis surgery, the plantar fascia tissue is detached from the heel bone.
Home Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis
A chiropractor or other plantar fasciitis specialist may recommend home treatments to supplement care. Popular home remedies for plantar fasciitis include:
- Lose Weight: Losing weight puts less strain on your feet and plantar fascia tendon.
- Buying Better Shoes: Supportive shoes with a low to moderate heel, thick soles, good arch support, and extra cushioning can reduce inflammation in the plantar fascia tendon.
- Replace Old Running Shoes: If you run or walk using an old, worn-out pair of shoes, then you may be at-risk for developing plantar fasciitis.
- Reduce High-Impact Physical Activity: Take a break from high-impact sports or contact sports. Try low-impact exercises like swimming or biking instead.
- Apply Ice: Applying ice to the bottom of your feet can reduce pain and inflammation.
- Stretch your Arches: Ask your chiropractor about at-home exercises to stretch your plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles.
Schedule a Free Chiropractic Plantar Fasciitis Appointment in Lakewood, Colorado Today
Dr. Jason Jumper and the team at Renew Chiropractic can treat symptoms of plantar fasciitis, putting patients on the path towards recovery.
With decades of proven chiropractic experience, Dr. Jumper is one of the most-trusted chiropractors in the greater Denver area.
Schedule a free plantar fasciitis consultation with Renew Chiropractic in Lakewood, Colorado today.