Plantar Fasciitis – Dr. Scott Fisher
Foot Pain – Plantar Fasciitis
There are many types and many causes of foot pain. One of the more common (and more frustrating) causes of foot pain is plantar fasciitis – up to 25% of all running injuries and 8% of sports injuries are plantar fasciitis and approximately 10% of the population will suffer from it at some point.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the heel bone up to the toes, especially the big toe. It is very important for the stability and support of the foot and the arches of the foot. Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of this tissue. In simple terms, it is caused by repetitive micro-tears that overcome the body’s ability to heal. As these tears build up there is more and more inflammation and pain.
The pain is usually at its worst first thing in the morning. This is because the fascia in the bottom of the foot shortens throughout the night and when weight is applied to the foot the tissue will tear and become inflamed. As the fascia stretches out during the day the pain will decrease – until it has the opportunity to shorten again (from sitting or sleeping) and the whole cycle repeats itself.
There are many factors that predispose someone to getting this injury such as increased time on feet, being overweight, running, tightness in the hamstrings and legs and altered leg alignment and biomechanics. One of the most common predisposing factors is called ‘over pronation’. This is when the ankle turns in and the foot flattens when someone is walking. This causes the arches of the foot to collapse and the foot to lengthen, thus over-stretching (and tearing) the plantar fascia with every step.
To treat this common condition it takes dedication and perseverance as it is a persistent injury… just ask anybody who has had it. Techniques like Active Release and Graston are utilized to breakdown the unhealthy fascia and stimulate the rebuilding of new and strong collagen (which makes up the fascia). Adjustments to the joints of the foot, ankle, knee and hip are also used to create proper alignment and mobility throughout the lower body. Laser therapy is also beneficial as it further stimulates the healing process. As these treatments are occurring, it is vital that the patient becomes active in their own recovery by consistently (daily!) doing specific stretches and exercises that are designed to strengthen the foot arches and restore normal leg biomechanics.
If you have plantar fasciitis it is recommended to get it treated as soon as possible. The longer it’s around for the longer it will take to heal and rehabilitate. As mentioned above, make sure you are willing to commit to being a dedicated and active participant in your own recovery process and slowly but surely we can get you back on your feet, active and pain-free once again.
Dr. Scott Fisher, DC