Many people mistakenly correlate any type of foot and heel pain with plantar fasciitis or “PF”. So first off-getting a proper diagnosis is key. A variety of other injuries can result in foot pain, such as tendinitis of the 'stirrup' muscles which help to support the arch of the foot. Fat pad bruising over the calcaneus can also be misconstrued as plantar fasciitis pain. Other less common injuries such as stress reactions, stress fracture and seasmoiditis can may be misdiagnosed for PF if not evaluated correctly.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is when the connective tissue of the foot called ‘fascia’ becomes inflamed at its attachment point on the heel or calcaneus. Typically, it can start as a dull ache, and if not treated properly, can transform into a sharp pain. This can affect your walking gait, and completing any athletics involving running, walking, or jumping can become extremely difficult.
Why rest and ice are not enough:
Rest and ice are hardly ever sufficient in treating plantar fasciitis. “Taking a break” from your poor biomechanics and movements patterns, may provide temporary relief, but is hardly considered a fix once you dive back into your daily routine. It’s like renovating a dilapidated house, only to rebuild it with the same crummy materials that you just removed and expecting your renovation to turn out differently that what you had initially started with. It is important to replace your poor movement habits with newly created, durable and functional movement patterns.
Road to rehab:
Step 1: Decrease inflammation. Ice is quickly becoming an outdated form of injury recovery that many health care practitioners now argue actually delays tissue healing. Even Dr. Gabe Mirkin who first coined the term R.I.C.E in 1978 no longer recommends ice to decrease inflammation, and also suggests it can prolong the healing process. Better yet, inflammation can be decreased by many non-pharmaceutical options such as trigger point dry needling, laser therapy, active release technique, Graston therapy, acupuncture, nutritional supplements and dietary changes. Inflammation can also be decreased by using heel cups, toe spacers, and an array of temporary orthotics to help take the pressure off of the injury site during the healing process. Lastly, avoid those pointy shoes and heels as they disrupt proper foot mechanics.
Step 2: Build a better foundation for your house. Corrective exercises are fundamental for treating foot pain and preventing foot pain from returning in the future. Faulty foot mechanics, especially those who exhibit any bunion formation or great toe deviation towards the midline of the foot are at higher risk for PF and other foot injuries. Physical therapy and rehab will often consist of more than “short foot” or arch exercises. Take a peek at Thomas Myers’ Anatomy Trains deep posterior line. Muscles throughout the backside of the body including neck extensors, and low back musculature can have a dramatic effect on the tension being exerted on the plantar fascia attachment point as well. Long story short, look at the big picture rather than spotlighting the foot. If you have been struggling with plantar fasciitis or foot pain, make an appointment at our office to get evaluated with one of our certified chiropractic sport practitioners.
At Boulder Sports Chiropractic, we use functional movement assessments to biomechanically evaluate your movement, allowing us to address the root of your problem, rather than treating the symptoms. We use the best techniques to address your source of pain and dysfunction including Active Release Technique, Graston, Class IV Laser Therapy, Trigger Point Dry Needling, and exercise therapy. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.