Plantar fasciitis (pronounced “plan-tar fash-ee-EYE-tis), also sometimes known as a heel spur, can be a debilitating condition that makes walking even a short distance a painful prospect. The pain, ranging from mild to severe, is centered around the bottom of the heel, usually toward the front, though it may also extend across the entire bottom of the foot. It is most often noticeable first thing in the morning when you get out of bed and walk a few steps, or when you stand up after sitting for a length of time.
Healing usually takes time. However, there are some things you can do to help ease the pain and speed the healing process. These include making a visit to your chiropractor.
There are a number of causes that contribute to plantar fasciitis, the main ones being:
- Standing for long periods of time
- Wearing shoes with little support
- Having flat feet
- Having exceptionally high arches
- Being overweight
- A sudden increase in activity
- Repetitive stress
- Tight calf muscles
- Overpronation (walking on the outsides of your feet)
The plantar fascia extends from the heel bone to the base of the toes, and when it becomes inflamed due to one of the above conditions, pain and bone spurs can result. The muscles in the foot may also be involved, especially if the pain occurs after long periods of standing or from chronic overwork, which causes the muscles to shorten, making them less resilient and liable to tear.
There are a few things you can do yourself at home. The first thing is to rest the foot as much as possible. Applying ice to the area can help reduce the inflammation, as can taking an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. Many people with plantar fasciitis find it helpful to wear Birkenstocks or other shoes that have good arch support. In the long-term, however, you’ll want to address the cause of the problem, and your chiropractor can help in that regard.
Qualified chiropractors are experts at treating musculoskeletal problems. To treat plantar fasciitis your chiropractor may utilize a range of therapies, including manipulation, stretching, ultrasound and soft tissue work. They can also recommend orthotics and useful exercises you can do at home to gently stretch tight muscles and tendons. Since one common cause of plantar fasciitis is overpronation, a series of chiropractic adjustments can ensure your bones are properly aligned, allowing for greater range of motion and helping to take some of the strain off the overworked muscles in your feet.
Healing plantar fasciitis is a slow process that may take weeks or months, but with good chiropractic care and proper shoes, it does not have to become a chronic condition.