Plantar Fasciitis

PLANTAR FASCIITIS – WHAT IS THAT?


Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammatory condition of the plantar fascia and is the most common cause of heel pain on the bottom of the foot.


The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue originating on the bottom surface of the calcaneus (heel bone) and extending along the sole of the foot towards the five toes.  Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining this ligament that supports the arch.  Tiny ligament tears result from repeatedly straining you arch and can lead to pain and swelling.  According to statistics, plantar fasciitis occurs in two million Americans a year and 10 percent of the population over a lifetime.


SYMPTOMS


Plantar fasciitis is most intense with the first steps after sitting or standing and the first steps of the day. The pain and stiffness may lessen after a few steps; however, the foot may hurt more as the day goes on.  A plantar fasciitis sufferer has difficulty bending the foot so that the toes are brought toward the shin and they can also have an increased probability of knee pains, especially among runners.


CAUSES


The cause of plantar fasciitis is often unknown, however, it is commonly associated with overuse during high-impact exercise and sports and accounts for up to 9% of all running injuries.


Plantar fasciitis is most likely to happen when you have:


  • Excess pronation exhibited by feet rolling inward too much when you walk.
  • Flat feet or high arches.
  • Stood, walked, or ran for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
  • Put on abundance of weight.
  • Shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out.
  • An Achilles tendon or calf muscles that are tight.


TREATMENT


Inflammation and pain is most commonly treated with ice and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen.  NSAIDs reduce pain and disability in people with plantar fasciitis when used with other techniques, such as night splints and stretching.


Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. An injection of a steroid plus a local anesthetic (such as Xylocaine) may provide relief in severe cases of plantar fasciitis.  (Steroid injections are not used for pain that is only due to heel spurs.)  For athletes or performers who need immediate relief, an effective method is to administer the steroid dexamethasone using a procedure called iontophoresis, which introduces the drug into the foot’s tissue using an electrical current.


Several non-drug approaches can relieve pressure on the heel.


If you suffer from plantar fascitis, call us for an evaluation appointment to see what chiropractic can do for you.