Dr. WildePlantar Fasciitis: It will stop you in your tracks

Written by Dr. Jordan Wilde, DC

About Plantar Fasciitis

A barking dog is annoying, but when your feet hurt… those barking dogs will stop you in your tracks. We generally take our feet for granted, until they start to hurt. A common injury of the foot is plantar fasciitis. This pain is on the bottom of your foot, makes it difficult to walk, and is due to inflammation or irritation of the fascia located near the medial arch of your foot. Fascia is a bundle of connective tissue that wraps and connects different muscles and bones to each other. On the “plantar” aspect or bottom of the foot, this fascia starts at your heel and inserts into your forefoot, and is known as your “plantar fascia.” The following article will teach you about the structure of the foot, what causes irritation, pain, and the effective treatments for plantar fasciitis.

Wearing the Right Shoes

Our feet are strong structures with each made of 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 different muscles and ligaments. Did you know that our feet can change even long after we finish puberty and stop growing? It has been my experience, that most people are wearing the wrong shoe size. The size of our feet often change with weight gain, loss, or pregnancy. Very small changes in the size of our feet correspond to dramatic changes in shoe size. The common problem is that shoes are worn too tight for our feet, and this does not give enough room for the pads of our foot or the forefoot to spread out and evenly distribute the forces of our weight throughout our gait. Multiple aspects like their size, shape, and pressure points change throughout our lives even into adulthood. It is important to continually have your feet evaluated by a trained professional in order to ensure that you have the necessary support you need from your footwear.

The Shape of Your foot

The shape of our foot usually refers to the arch type, there are 7 different arches in the foot but people almost always talk about the medial longitudinal arch. You can have a low arch (flat feet), medium arch (biomechanically efficient), or a high arch. Each different arch shape requires a different level of support from your footwear to control overpronation, cushion shock, relieve forefoot pressure, and promote proper foot alignment.

Wearing shoes that do not fit or support your foot properly will promote improper movement of the foot leading to irritation the plantar fascia and foot pain. The severity of pain tends to correlate directly to the amount of inflammation in the plantar fascia itself. When having foot pain of any kind, it is a good idea to reconsider your footwear and make a change. Activities such as hiking, running, and jumping increase the forces and pressure on the foot, predisposing such an athlete to this condition.

Other Options

If changing your footwear is not enough to get rid of your pain. Do not worry, this does not mean that you are destined for a lifelong of foot pain or even that you need to have surgery. However, it is indication that you need more aggressive of an intervention to relieve your condition. Many chiropractic and physical therapy physicians, especially those with a sport focus, are trained in specialized soft tissue techniques (eg Active Release Technique and Graston), joint mobilization/manipulations, customized orthotic fitting, and rehabilitative exercises that are used to relieve the tension from the lower leg muscles and joints. Removing this tension will lead to a decrease in the irritation of the plantar fascia, an increased ability to walk, and no more pain!