Common Condition: Plantar Fasciitis

It's common conditions week here at Synergy and today it's plantar fasciitis, another health issue that many people see me for! Sometimes it is the primary complaint, and sometimes it is a problem that comes along with other complaints. In either case, I am always being asked if I can help with plantar fasciitis. Here's how I can!

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia, or connective tissue sheath, that runs from the heel bone to the bottom of the toes gets inflamed, taught, and painful. The patient will often feel sharp and uncomfortable pain along the bottom of the foot and at the heel bone upon waking and first walking in the morning. It can last throughout the day.

So the question is- why does the plantar fascia get inflamed and tight? As usual, there are a number of factors that play into this!

Let's start in the foot. Weakness in the tibialis posterior and/or gastroc (calf) muscles usually cause the arch to drop and tension to occur on the plantar fascia. Both muscles are related to the adrenal glands. This is super important. The adrenals handle the stress on the body- physical, chemical, and emotional. They also aid in controlling inflammation by modulating cortisol (stress hormone) output. Anytime you see a condition end in "itis" it simply=inflammation. Anytime you see inflammation- think adrenal glands! We can rehab the adrenal glands with chiropractic manipulation, reflex point work, nutritional supplements, stress reduction techniques, meditation, and more. Oftentimes, when patients seek medical care for plantar fasciitis, oral or injected steroids may be recommended. Did you know that your body produces its own endogenous steroids? This happens in-ta-da! The adrenal glands.

I can perform certain adjustments to help facilitate the weak muscles allowing the fascia to become painful. This often includes a manipulation to lift the arch of the foot, to lift the toes as they often drop, to move the heel bone aka calcaneus, and more. Oftentimes, there are misalignments at the knee, hip, and lower back/pelvis which cause uneven pressure and torque throughout the lower body, resulting in foot issues. The feet are the foundation of the body and must absorb all of these imbalances. Honestly, I check every patient head to toe for misalignments as everything is super connected, for example something off in the neck can cause a problem in the foot.

Other important factors for plantar fasciits- proper footwear! Improper footwear or unnecessary orthotics often cause problems. Wear good shoes with a wide toe box, no gel or springs. Whenever possible, do NOT wear shoes so that you can allow the muscles of the feet to strengthen, stabilize your foot, and do their job better. Wearing too much support can cause the muscles of your feet to get lazy. Also, a clean, anti-inflammatory diet is important. This generally means decreased gluten/grains, dairy, corn, soy, and sugar. Stress management is also paramount. At-home exercises and stretches can also be done.

This is just a glimpse into what we can do for this condition, but I hope it has been enlightening!