Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that is due to inflammation of the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot. While 75% of the population experiences foot pain at some point in their life, only 10% experiences plantar fasciitis and the discomfort that it brings. To better understand the condition itself, it is important to first understand the anatomy of the foot and how that plays a role. The bottom of the foot contains 3 arches: the medial, the lateral longitudinal, and the transverse. The 3 of these form a triangle of sorts, and their purpose is to provide shock absorption for the body to protect against the force that is transmitted through the feet with each movement. After all, the average American takes about 4000 steps per day, with people who are more active taking 7000-10,000 steps per day. That’s a lot of force for the feet to handle!
There are many different risk factors that predispose people to developing plantar fasciitis. First and foremost is weight. If you are overweight and have a BMI over 30, you are 6 times more likely to develop plantar fasciitis than if you were at a healthy BMI. Age is also a risk factor, with people 40-60 the most likely to develop this painful condition. Other risk factors are more activity or work-dependent, meaning populations are on their feet a lot, repeatedly stressing the heel pad and plantar fascia. Finally, foot mechanics can play a role in whether or not someone develops plantar fasciitis. For example, if your heel pronates inward naturally, you are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis due to a gradual breakdown of the arches on the bottom of the foot. These risk factors are taken into consideration by your healthcare provider when they are diagnosing your heel or foot pain.
If plantar fasciitis goes untreated, not only can the condition become very painful, but it can also cause problems in other areas such as the knees, hips, and back. Naturally, when there is pain in the feet it will make you want to change how you walk in order to feel less discomfort, but the problem is that changing your movement pattern creates stress on other parts of the body. For this reason, it is crucial to address your plantar fasciitis problem as quickly as possible. Chiropractors have gotten excellent results by combining chiropractic adjustments to the feet with soft tissue work and other treatment modalities to heal the source of the problem and restore optimum function.
How We Treat Plantar Fasciitis in Springfield, IL
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
At the Springfield Wellness Center, we have helped countless people with their plantar fasciitis problems. Before that journey begins, though, our doctors must perform a detailed consultation and exam. In the consultation, our doctors want to hear YOUR story and how your problem has gotten to this point. They also want to hear what impact this has had on your life, and what aspects of life it has interfered with. Knowing this information can help them set goals with you so you and your provider can be aligned in your mission and set you up for success.
During the exam, the doctor will assess your foot through palpation and motion testing. These are designed to help them identify the cause of your problem in your foot. They will also check your spine to make sure it is balanced and in alignment. All of the information gathered will be utilized to come up with the best recommendations for care available to ensure that you get the best results possible. The Springfield Wellness Center is well-equipped to provide the highest standard of care for plantar fasciitis, and we are eagerly waiting to serve you.
Specific Chiropractic Care in Springfield, IL
With plantar fasciitis, it is important to first identify what is causing the plantar fascia to be irritated and inflamed. Is it a gait issue? A health issue? An alignment issue? In many cases, misalignments in the bones of the feet (tarsal bones) cause the arches to shift and ultimately drop. When this happens, it can put stress on the tissue and over time become inflamed. For this reason, our chiropractors use chiropractic adjustments to the feet as part of the treatment process. Chiropractic adjustments feel great on the feet, and help restore motion and function to the joints of the foot. This can help restore proper foot mechanics, which can ease the pressure being placed on the plantar fascia and heel. When utilized in conjunction with other treatment modalities, foot adjustments can prove very effective in helping to combat plantar fasciitis.
Soft Tissue Work and Graston Technique
When the plantar fascia is irritated and inflamed, it tends to develop more adhesions, or knots, in the tissue itself. These knots can be painful when tension is applied to the plantar fascia, which happens to occur with every step that we take! This is why this condition can be so painful and debilitating for people. Addressing the soft tissue itself is a major component to fully and properly treating plantar fasciitis.
At The Springfield Wellness Center, the primary way in which this is done is through Graston technique. This soft tissue technique involves using a metal tool to ‘scrape’ along the tissue to help release the adhesions and kickstart the healing process. Not only is it effective in breaking up adhesions, but it also provides the blueprint for the direction in which we want the new tissue to regrow. This helps to ensure that adhesions are less likely to develop in the future. Sometimes this technique can cause some discomfort during treatment due to sensitivity in the feet, but the results that it gets for people are outstanding. In fact, it is common for people to get off the table and instantly feel relief!
Deep Tissue Laser
Perhaps the most important treatment modality used for plantar fasciitis at the Springfield Wellness Center is Deep Tissue Laser. This hi-tech device uses red light energy to penetrate deep into the plantar fascia tissue all the way down to the cellular level. At this level, it stimulates energy production in the cells, which is put towards healing the tissue more rapidly, as well as combating any excessive inflammation in the body. This process is known as photobiomodulation, and it is extremely effective for soft tissue injuries like plantar fasciitis.
Deep Tissue Laser does not only get fantastic results for patients, but it is also extremely patient-friendly. It is a quick treatment, with sessions usually lasting only 3-5 minutes long. It is completely painless, and at times can feel soothing as it provides gentle warmth to the area being treated. All of this contributes to a very positive patient experience that above all gets results. When combined with chiropractic and Graston technique, the problem gets addressed from a 360º angle.
Another element of treatment at the Springfield Wellness Center that is commonly utilized is corrective exercise. For plantar fasciitis, it is common to go through various stretches for the bottom of the foot, the Achilles tendon, and the calf and soleus muscles. Decreasing the tension in these muscles and tissues can help improve ankle mobility and decrease pressure on the heel and plantar fascia. This can provide pain relief and improved function in the long run.
The other important aspect of corrective exercise is improving our posture. By improving posture, we create more balance in the spine and, therefore, the body. This means that weight will be more evenly distributed into our feet so they can equally share the load and not lose function as a result of one side being overloaded with stress. Achieving better posture can also help with other aches and pains that can stem from plantar fasciitis such as lower back or hip problems. In all, exercise has an important role to play in the long-term well-being of the plantar fasciitis patient.