- your feet roll inward too much when you walk or you have flat feet
- you walk, stand or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces
- you are overweight
- you wear shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out
- you have tight calf muscles and/or Achilles tendon (the tendon that attaches to the back of your heel bone)
Your plantar fascia is a collection of thick, high tensile strength bands of soft tissue that collect at the bottom of your foot and help support the inner arch of your foot. It also protects the underlying nerves and blood vessels of the foot.
Excessive strain in the plantar fascia develops when the ligaments and tendons/muscles holding the midfoot together are not as strong as they should be. This leads to a decrease in the arch of your foot (or flat feet), which creates excessive strain of the plantar fascia itself. The point of attachment of the plantar fascia onto the heel of your foot is very small. This, in combination with each step you take, will create a focal point of pulling onto the periosteum (the outer most layer of a bone). The combination of repetitive excessive strain placed on the plantar fascia and pulling on the periosteum will eventually cause inflammation in the area and heel pain will follow closely. If this persists, your body may create extra bone in the area known as a ‘heel spur’.
Since beginning my practice at Choice Chiropractic Health Centre in January 2015, I’ve come across four cases of plantar fasciitis. On our initial visits, I listened to their stories of heel pain. One gentleman had numbness and tingling in his heel, had previous occurrences of heel pain in the past, and had developed a heel spur (we found it on x-ray). All four patients had symptoms lasting more than 5 months, and had sought out help elsewhere. Collectively they had tried massage therapy, physiotherapy, acupuncture, and other chiropractors with partial, little or no results to speak of. After carefully assessing each case, I came up with individualized treatment plans for each patient. Treatment included orthotics to lift the arch of the foot, soft tissue techniques applied to the calf and bottom of the foot, and shockwave therapy.
I am happy to say three of the four of these patients have experienced significant improvements, such as noticeably reduced pain with walking and standing. My fourth patient has experienced complete symptom relief after 7 treatments spaced a week apart. This week Kathy says, “My plantar fasciitis was very painful before I met Dr. Brigitte. She suggested shockwave therapy a month ago. I had symptom relief after my first treatment. I’ve now had 4 more treatments and I sense my heel pain disappearing with each visit. It was a very conservative way of getting rid of my plantar fasciitis pain.”
If you suffer from this condition, let us take a look to determine if we can help.
by Dr. Brigitte MacPhail, DC