What is plantar fasciitis?
Standing, running or jumping can cause a repetitive stress injury to the plantar fascia, which runs from the heel toward the toes on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia helps support body weight, and these repetitive motions can increase the force and strain on the plantar fascia, causing injury.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
The first step out of bed in the morning can often cause a sharp, stabbing pain on the bottom of the foot when the plantar fascia is injured. The pain can decrease after several minutes, but will usually return after standing or sitting for long periods of time. Pain characterized by tenderness on the inside of the heel and swelling on the bottom of the foot can disappear during activity, but return afterwards.
Because everyday movements like standing and walking aggravate plantar fasciitis, it can take months for the injury to heal. Those with professions requiring hours of standing tend to have a slow recovery and the likelihood of long-term problems (as long as 3 to 9 months) with the plantar fascia.
What are the causes and risk factors of plantar fasciitis?
Physically active people like runner or joggers, or those who spend a lot of time on their feet are prone to plantar fasciitis. An increase in running mileage or intensity, and worn out or poor quality shoes can result in increased physical stress on the plantar fascia, leading to injury.
As we age and put on extra weight, the wear and tear on the plantar fascia can lead to increased stress and injury. Other physical factors such as improper foot or walking mechanics, over-pronation, high arches or flat feet can lead to damage and continued aggravation of the condition.
What are the treatments for plantar fasciitis?
Treatment for plantar fasciitis encourages proper healing of the fascia through decreasing the chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia. Rest and ice are recommended as the initial home treatments, along with stretching tight muscles. The arch and fascia can be supported during treatment by using night splints and orthotics, as well.
During active treatment, your healthcare provider may prescribe proprioceptive and foot strengthening exercises, along with stretching of the calves and hamstrings to reduce stress and improve walking mechanics. Electrical stimulation and ultrasound therapy may be recommended to decrease inflammation of the plantar fascia.
Cycles of stress and rest can often produce improper scar tissue formation on the plantar fascia. This scar tissue develops as a temporary patch while the area heals. Because everyday activities aggravate the condition and injure the scar tissue repeatedly, plantar fasciitis can be difficult to treat successfully. Continued cycles of inflammation and healing can cause plantar fasciitis to continue for month or even years.
The Graston Technique, used by Alpha Chiropractic, is a treatment that successfully breaks up scar tissue and allows the plantar fascia to heal correctly. This technique involves instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, which treats soft tissue fibrosis and repeated cycles of inflammation. The Graston Technique reduces pain and increases the speed of healing.
If you are experiencing symptoms of plantar fasciitis, seek treatment early on, before the condition is allowed to become chronic and more difficult to treat. An experienced provider can prevent plantar fasciitis from becoming an injury that lasts for months or years. Call Alpha Chiropractic today to resolve your plantar fasciitis at (480) 812-1800.
Further information on the Graston Technique can be found at www.grastontechnique.com