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Can Chiropractic help with plantar fasciitis?

October 3rd, 2021 by
Category: Chiropractic Care Dr. Kodie Smith Foot pain Pain Posture

overhead photo of person's feet - one foot wearing runners, the other barefoot

What is plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick, web-like tissue that is located at the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. It provides support to the arch of your foot and absorbs pressure/shock through your feet as you move every day. When this thick tissue becomes inflamed it can cause intense heel pain which is referred to as Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is one of the leading common causes of heel pain, with 48% of the population experiencing it at least once in their lifetime.

There is not one clear common cause of Plantar Fasciitis, but research has shown that there are numerous risk factors for developing Plantar Fasciitis, including:

  • Women aged 40-70yrs
  • Leading an active lifestyle – for example, lots of running or walking
  • Structural foot issues – high arches or flat feet
  • Poor shoe support
  • Hereditary or genetic properties
  • Obesity or overweight
  • PregnancyIf you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, it may be a sign you are potentially suffering from Plantar Fasciitis:
  • Foot or heel pain
  • Limping
  • Swollen feet
  • Tenderness under the foot
  • Pain worse in the morning

How may Chiropractic help with Plantar Fasciitis?

Chiropractic care may be able to help people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis in numerous ways, including:

1. Foot/ankle adjustments

The Chiropractor will check for misalignments of the foot/ankle joints and correct these dysfunctions with specific adjustments, reducing pain and improving function.

2. Surrounding joint adjustments

Checking for misalignments or dysfunctional areas throughout the surrounding joints and spine is important as every bone and joint is connected. Therefore, it is likely that the Plantar Fasciitis you are experiencing is being influenced not only by the foot/ankle complex itself, but by the joint movement throughout the lower extremity and spinal region. A whole-body approach helps to re-establish good overall health but also to avoid further injury and combat discomfort.

3. Muscle relaxation

Chiropractors, when applicable, will provide soft tissue release not only to the foot/ankle musculature, but also the surrounding ligaments and tissues in leg/pelvis region.

4. Postural or gait issues

On top of all these, the Chiropractor will also identify and treat any underlying postural related or walking gait issues that could have an impact on the foot/ankle joint itself or the recovery/management of Plantar Fasciitis.

5. Lifestyle advice

Chiropractors understand that our joints, ligaments, muscles and tissues are all influenced by the habits and choices we make every day. Therefore, Chiropractors will provide you with lifestyle advice about nutrition, exercise, posture and footwear to maintain good foot function and prevent future flare ups.

Tips to help with Plantar Fasciitis from home

If you are unable to get into your local Chiropractor, here are 3 simple things you can do at home to help manage Plantar Fasciitis pain:

1. Use ice or a cold pack

Applying ice or a cold pack will help to relax the tissues surrounding the foot/ankle complex. Cold packs are most useful when applied to the sole of the foot area or over the painful site for 10-15 minutes, repeating 3-4 times per day. I recommend freezing some water in a plastic bottle. Once frozen, place the botte on the ground and roll the sole of your foot back and forth over the frozen, cool surface. This can be used to not only reduce inflammation, but also as an arch stretch exercise.

2. Stretch your arches

Stretches are always a helpful tool to improve joint function and relax muscles/tissues. You can perform simple arch stretches, including rolling your foot on a ball or standing on tippy toes. We recommend holding the tippy toes stance for 5-10 seconds and repeating 2-3 times over. When performing the ball rolling, aim to perform 8-10 repetitions, covering the entire sole of your foot.

3. Supportive footwear

Our footwear has a major impact on our foot/ankle complex. It is important to choose a good pair of supportive shoes with a low to moderate heel, thick soles and a good arch support cushioning. You can speak to a podiatrist or shoe shop like Athlete’s Foot to find the most suitable pair of footwear for your foot. It is also important to replace your shoes regularly as wear and tear on our footwear reduces their supportive nature around our feet, eventually causing more harm than good.

If you require further assistance with your foot pain or Plantar Fasciitis, please reach out to your local health professional or Chiropractor for tailored advice.

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