All You Need To Know About Plantar Fasciitis
We know what you’re thinking – you’ve probably never even heard about plantar fasciitis. Well, we’re here to provide you with all the things you need to know about it!
What is Plantar Fasciitis and what causes it?
Have you experienced foot pain at the bottom of your heel? That pain may come from the inflammation of the plantar fascia which is a thick band of tissue that runs across the arch of your foot that connects your heel to your toes. The plantar fascia absorbs shock and provides support to the arch of the foot that allows us to walk.
Because we rely on our feet to get us from point A to B, it is very common for our feet to experience pain due to the amount of pressure that can lead to heel inflammation and wear and tear of the plantar fascia ligament.
DID YOU KNOW?: About 10% of the world’s population actually suffer from plantar fasciitis!
What Are The Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The most obvious one would be heel pain. Though usually just affecting one foot (usually the dominant one), it can also affect both feet at the same time. People with plantar fasciitis may feel dull or sharp pain after waking up, standing for too long and when you stand on your feet after sitting. The worst pain that can be felt is usually after doing exercise due to the large amounts of stress on the bottom of the feet, causing the plantar fascia to be more inflamed or irritated.
What Causes Plantar Fascia To Be Inflamed?
Believe it or not, there’s no certain way to determine what causes the plantar fascia to be inflamed, but it is usually found on people who are on their feet a lot. When the plantar fascia is torn and stretched too much, chronic pain is felt because it’s unable to absorb shock and provide sufficient support to the heel.
There are a number of risk factors that cause plantar fasciitis such as:
- Age – Adults between the ages of 40 to 70 years old are at greater risk of plantar fasciitis.
- Obesity – Gaining excessive weight can put lots of stress and pressure on your plantar fascia, causing them to stretch more than usual.
- Active lifestyle – Athletes like long-distance runners, ballerina and aerobic dancers who are always on their feet for long hours are more likely to get plantar fasciitis due to the amount of pressure placed on their heels.
- Occupations – People who have jobs (teachers, factory and construction workers, etc) that require them to walk and stand for long hours can also develop plantar fasciitis.
- Foot structures – If you have very high-arched or flat feet, you can also have plantar fasciitis, because of the unbalanced weight distribution and change of gait when walking or standing.
- Lower back, hips and knees alignment – The pain experienced in the feet can be a result of other areas of the body not functioning correctly due to change of biomechanics of how they walk and stand. Over time, this can cause uneven weight distribution, putting more pressure on one foot than the others, causing the inflammation.
DID YOU KNOW?: Improper shoes with not enough cushioning can also cause plantar fasciitis. When you wear shoes that are already worn out or do not have enough arch support, your plantar fascia can injure easily which contributes to the causes of heel pain.
If you think you’re showing signs of having plantar fasciitis, take the first few steps and seek professional advice immediately from your doctor or chiropractor. The risk of developing more chronic heel pain can lead to other problems such as hip, knee, foot and back problems if left untreated!
What Exercises Can Help With Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis can be prevented with gentle exercises that can help to stretch the ligaments from tensing up as well as reduce pain and inflammation on your plantar fascia.
The Rolling Method
The first method would be sitting down on a chair and placing a frozen water bottle or foam roller and roll it with the arch of your foot for a minute before switching to the other foot.
The Big Toe Method
Cross your leg over the other and reach down to touch your toes with your hand. Grab your big toe and pull it gently towards your direction and hold in that position for about 15-30 seconds, and do the same to the other foot. Doing it thrice is recommended.
The Towel Strap Method
Lying on your back, take a towel and fold it lengthwise to put it under the arch of the foot. With both hands holding the ends of the towel, gently pull the towel towards you so that your towel becomes an exercise strap. Stay in the position for 15-30 seconds and repeat thrice for the other foot.
Other exercises like cycling or swimming can also prevent plantar fasciitis due to less pressure on the plantar fascia. Doing calf stretches and stretching your Achilles tendons before working out can also relieve heel pain and prevent plantar fasciitis as a whole when you make it a habit to do it religiously!
Is There Any Heel Pain Treatment Available?
Of course! There are many options that are easy to do at home to relieve pain on your heels, such as resting your feet, icing and using night splints that take the pressure off your plantar fascia and provide additional arch support. But if the pain doesn’t go away, then it’s time to go and see a doctor, physical therapist or a doctor of chiropractic for professional advice.
To ensure that your condition is indeed plantar fasciitis, your doctor may conduct additional tests such as pressing on the plantar fascia while you stretch your foot to see the level of pain in the area. Doctors will also look out for any visible signs of swelling or numbness, and check the reflexes of your leg. If it is not too severe, your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injections to provide instant pain relief.
Nevertheless, relying on drugs and steroids can be detrimental to your health in the long term, and luckily, there are non-invasive options to treat plantar fasciitis such as sports massage, physical therapy, doctor of chiropractic and shockwave therapy.
a) Sports Massage
Sports massage is not just like any regular massage that you get at the spa – rather it is meant to treat targeted soft tissue problems. Using manual techniques to break down the fibrous tissue adhesions and release tension in the tendons and ligaments. Sports massage provides pain relief to those who have accumulated stress in their bodies and help improve flexibility as well as improve blood circulation.
b) Physical therapy and Doctor of Chiropractic
Although physical therapy can seem similar to sports massage, there are also distinct differences between the two. Doing physical therapy or seeing a doctor of chiropractic can help to stretch out your tensed Achilles tendons in your foot to help with minimising the imbalance of weight on your feet.
A doctor of Chiropractic can also help with restoring proper joint biomechanics, increasing flexibility and mobility within the joints of your feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back which will help correcting how you walk, stand and exercise.
c) Shockwave therapy
Shockwave therapy is another option that effectively helps with pain management, where a series of rapid impulses will be generated to penetrate beyond the skin and help with the reversal of chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia. This helps to create a healing environment for the tissues that have lost their ability to recover on their own. Patients who have received shockwave therapy have reportedly felt instant relief, and it also helps with repairing tissues and improving blood circulation.
Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis At Elite Spine Centres
Now that you know what plantar fasciitis is, what causes it and what treatment options are available, you’re one step closer to achieving success in relieving your heel pain! No more blindly taking medication that doesn’t seem to work or facing needles that you’re so deathly afraid of.
Treating your plantar fasciitis should be taken as a serious matter, though. If you’ve done all those exercises that we’ve listed above and nothing seems to relieve you of your pain, then it’s a better idea to seek a chiropractor. Fortunately, our chiropractors at Elite Spine Centres are well equipped with the knowledge to resolve your plantar fasciitis.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help, feel free to contact us and schedule an appointment.
Dr. Michael Bryant, doctor of chiropractic and member of the Alliance of Chiropractic (AOC) Singapore, graduated summa cum laude from Life University in Atlanta and received several distinctions, as well as completing additional coursework and NBCE certification in physiotherapy. Michael Bryant is the founder of Elite Spine Centers. Read more about Dr. Mike here.