Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue (called the plantar fascia) that connects the front of your foot to your heel becomes overly stretched. This causes the tissue to become irritated and inflamed, leading to heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis pain is often more severe after a period of rest—for example, after a long car ride, or while taking your first few steps out of bed in the morning. The condition can make it difficult to exercise, play sports, and perform daily activities. It can also interfere with your ability to work, especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet.
Below we explore risk factors and treatments for plantar fasciitis, including alternatives to some of the more invasive standard treatments.
Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis
In many cases there is no identifiable cause of plantar fasciitis; however, factors that increase your risk for developing it include:
- Wearing improperly fitting or high-heeled shoes
- Having a high arch or flat feet
- Carrying extra weight; obesity increases your risk
- Activities or exercises that place excess stress on your heel, such as long-distance running, ballet dancing, or aerobic exercise
- Being on your feet for extended periods of time
- Age; people between the ages of 40 and 60 are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis
Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis
Doctors once thought bony growths called heel spurs caused plantar fasciitis pain. Today they know this is not the case. Many people have heel spurs, but only half of those who have heel spurs also have foot pain. Plantar fasciitis pain can be treated without removing heel spurs in those who have them.
Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis
Your doctor will perform a physical exam of your foot, checking for areas of tenderness. He or she may also order imaging tests, including X-rays or an MRI to rule out other causes of your heel pain, such as a pinched nerve or stress fracture.
Conservative treatments, including over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications like Motrin, icing the area, and stretching may be enough to resolve pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Night splints and orthotics may also help.
More invasive treatments include steroid injections, but these usually only provide temporary pain relief. Surgery to remove scar tissue on the plantar fascia (called a Tenex procedure) or to detach the plantar fascia from the heel are generally reserved only for the most severe cases.
Chiropractic therapy is an excellent alternative to more invasive treatment approaches like injections and surgery.
A qualified chiropractic doctor, like the experts at Chalmers Wellness, utilize a range of therapies to help ease plantar fasciitis pain. These include manual manipulation, soft tissue work, and therapeutic stretching.
Our specialists can help get to the root of your plantar fascia pain—whether it’s caused by your foot arch, certain activities or sports, or overpronation (or a combination of these). Chiropractic adjustments to realign your spine may also help, as spinal misalignment can alter your gait and foot pronation, stressing the muscles and tissues in your feet.