Plantar Fasciitis Explained

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A common complaint of patients with plantar fasciitis is heel or arch pain. Plantar fasciitis can cause extreme pain when standing or walking. It is often worse in the mornings or when moving from a seated position or non weight-bearing position. People often think a heel spur is the cause of this type of foot pain, however recent research supports that heel spurs do not cause pain.  It is the swelling of the soft band of tissues on the under surface of the heel and the arch that cause pain. This swelling and inflammation is known as plantar fasciitis.

Causes and risk factors included with plantar fasciitis are as follows:

  • problems with arches
  • obesity or sudden weight gain
  • pounding from long distance running particularly on uneven surfaces
  • tight muscles in the calf
  • arthritis
  • wearing high heels or shoes without proper support.

As with all conditions, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Plantar fasciitis is caused and exacerbated by many factors. To minimize your risk of plantar fasciitis try to not walk in bare or stocking feet on hard surfaces. The quality of your foot wear is also important. Choose high quality footwear made of shock absorbing material in the sole of the shoe. Stretch the lower leg and foot musculature using the following two stretches–the Plantar fascia stretch (above) and the gastrocnemius stretch (below).

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If you do have plantar fasciitis, you can reduce your pain with simple and effective treatments. Conservative medicine provides the most effective treatment. Custom made orthotics and better footwear is the first line of defense for both the treatments and prevention of plantar fasciitis. They will help provide adequate support for the musculature of the foot. Chiropractic manipulation of the joints of the foot and ankle can also provide relief for those suffering from heel pain. Other therapies may also be prescribed including myofascial release, therapeutic ultrasound and cryotherapy. NSAIDs can also provide pain relief. I like to accompany use of NSAIDs with a warning that long-term use of NSAIDs can have serious health consequences and should only be used under the supervision of a physician.  In addition, you will want to follow the preventative measure outlined above.

One can expect to experience some relief of plantar fasciial pain in as little as one treatment, but often treatment time can vary depending on the severity of the condition, compliance of the patient to home care and therapy regimen, as well as how long an individual has been suffering from pain prior to seeking care.  Incidence of recurrence is inversely proportional to the patients compliance to home based preventive measures.



Vijay Patel (77 Posts)

Dr. Vijay Patel earned his doctoral degree in Chiropractic from National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois. Dr. Patel is board certified in electrodiagnostics by the American Chiropractic Neurology Board. Dr. Patel has recently received training in Manipulation under Anesthsia (MUA). Constantly striving to give his patients the most up-to-date care possible, Dr. Patel attends many post-graduate seminars including such topics as neurology, research review, and sports performance enhancement. Dr. Patel has practiced medicine at Advanced Physical Medicine and Therapy in Mt. Prospect, Illinois since 1999. Dr. Patel currently serves as president of the Chicago chapter of the Illinois Chiropractic Society. He is also a member of both the National College of Chiropractic Alumni Association and the American Chiropractic Association. Dr. Patel is fluent in Gujarati. A lifelong runner, he has completed marathons and still competes in triathlons with his college mates.


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