Can chiropractic play a role in helping to relieve plantar fasciitis?
Let’s talk about plantar fasciitis! What is it? How does it occur? And can chiropractors play a role in helping people with this chronic foot complaint?
Chiropractic is often misunderstood as a treatment just for people suffering from low back pain and neck stiffness. Many people are unaware that chiropractors can also restore motion and proper alignment to all joints of the body, including the foot!
People suffering from plantar fasciitis often complain of point tenderness at the heel. This pain is often described as a sharp pain occurring during the first steps of the day. It can be difficult condition to treat and has a high chance of reoccurrence. However, 95 percent of people with this condition have been shown to improve with conservative care.
Most people complaining of this condition are runners. Plantar fasciitis stems from chronic irritation or stress to the plantar fascia which is a band of connective tissue that runs from your heel to your toes. The plantar fascia suffers micro tears from repetitive movements and stresses, and these microscopic tears lead to inflammation and pain in the bottom of the foot as the tension in the fascia increases. Although running is the most common tension overload to the plantar fascia, plantar fasciitis can also be caused due to one’s improper biomechanics. A foot that pronates or supinates to an abnormal degree during gait can increase tension and stress to the fascia. Another cause is an abnormal arch in the foot. Both a collapsed arch/flat foot or abnormally high arch can also put you at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Proper orthotics to support a collapsed arch in the foot is a necessary starting point. Shoes or orthotics that help counteract over pronation or supination during gait help relieve tension on the plantar fascia. Chiropractors can assess your foot biomechanics and help you find an orthotic that is right for your foot.
Lastly, abnormal movement or fixation of the bones that make up the foot and ankle joints can be a causing factor. This is where chiropractic plays a huge role in managing this condition! Joint mobilization to the bones in your feet, specifically the navicular and first MTP bone are crucial to keeping the foot mobilized and free from irritation. Chiropractic adjustments are an effective treatment in order to improve motion to the joints of the foot and ankle while restore proper biomechanics. Greater mobility of the foot and ankle joints decreases compensation by the plantar fascia and allows for a more even distribution of forces.
Other therapies used for the treatment of plantar fasciitis include soft tissue mobilization techniques, cryotherapy, therapeutic ultrasound have also been very useful modalities. Some chiropractors can also use taping procedures. Elastic sports tape can be applied to the foot and ankle in a way that supports the arch and adds strength to the plantar fascia. The tape will bear some of the weight and stress on the plantar fascia allowing healing and strengthening to take place.
So, if you or someone you know is suffering from this foot complaint. Tell them to go see a chiropractor! They can help restore proper biomechanical dysfunction and help relieve tension along with so much more!
Source: Souza, T. A. (2018). Differential diagnosis and management for the chiropractor (5th ed.). Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Ppg: 467-468