Plantar Fasciitis

Overview

Plantar fasciitis affects approximately 2 million Americans each year and is the number one cause of heel pain.  Plantar fasciitis can affect anyone, but it most often affects those who are often on their feet, those who wear improper shoes, or those who are overweight.

The condition results from the inward rolling (over-pronation) of the foot and ankle, which in turn causes increased weight over the medial arch of the foot.  When the arch is stressed from increased weight, the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot (the plantar fascia) becomes stretched, and over time causes the development of scar tissue.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Many patients with plantar fasciitis will also have bunions, calluses, and/or heel spurs on the affected foot.  Most often, pain from plantar fasciitis is most severe with the first few steps of the day. It is a good idea to periodically check the wear patterns on the bottom of your shoes.  If there is an uneven wear pattern, it is an indication of improper biomechanics. Also, try flexing your toes back towards you while observing the bottom of your foot.  If the fascia seems taught and band like or if there are tender palpable nodules in the soft tissue on the bottom of your foot, it is a good indication plantar fasciitis is developing.

Medical Treatment

Although medications do not treat the underlying problem, NSAIDs, such as Advil as well as corticosteroids are often used to ease pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. However, these medications are stressful to the rest of your body and come with a list of possible side effects.  Furthermore, multiple injections of corticosteroids can actually weaken the plantar fascia, rupture it, or cause the fat pad covering the heel to shrink.

Another medical treatment option is extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which uses sound waves to stimulate healing. This treatment is usually only utilized on plantar fasciitis cases that have not responded to conservative treatment and it may cause swelling, bruises, numbness, pain, and/or tingling. More importantly, it is not always effective at treating plantar fasciitis. 

When symptoms are severe and other treatment options haven't worked, surgery may be an option to treat plantar fasciitis. Side effects of plantar fasciitis surgery include weakening of the arch of the foot, risk of nerve damage, infection, rupture of the plantar fascia. Furthermore, like other medical treatment options, there are times when surgery actually fails to improve the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. 

How We Can Help

90% of people affected by plantar fasciitis could have a full recovery with conservative treatment in less than one year. 

Our treatment for plantar fasciitis has immediate results and is successful in eliminating most cases of plantar fasciitis in approximately three visits, however it can be very painful.  The level of pain of the treatment depends on the severity of the plantar fasciitis as well as your personal tolerance of pain.  Some patients do not complain of pain at all during treatment, but we would rather warn you of the potential rather than surprise you later.  

Our plantar fasciitis treatment consists of specific ankle and foot adjustments and intense soft tissue work to break up the adhesions in your foot.  You will also be given at-home exercises to perform for a few minutes each day, which will help speed up the healing time.  As with any condition, we always address the cause of the problem.  In many cases of plantar fasciitis, patients are in need of brain balancing and/or other chiropractic adjustments.