Plantar Fasciitis and Foot Pain

Josh French, sports chiropractor at Pro Chiro in Surrey, performing a chiropractic adjustment of the foot

What is Plantar Fasciitis? 

This condition is caused by an overuse and overloading of the muscles in the sole of the foot. It can cause pain on the first step after waking up and the first step after resting, but this pain normally improves with more movement and further walking. It is one of the most common causes of heel pain in adults.

What is the Plantar Fascia?

The plantar fascia is a thick, fibrous band of connective tissue starting from the bottom of the heel bone and extending along the sole of the foot. The plantar fascia stops the arch of your foot from over-flattening. It does this by acting as a shock absorber, supporting the inner arch of the foot during the push-off phase of walking, jumping, running.

How Does Plantar Fasciitis Develop?

When the plantar fascia develops micro tears or becomes irritated and inflamed, it is known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis simply means an inflammation of the muscles and soft tissues of the base of the foot.

Most patients with heel pain present without the presence of inflammation. Therefore, a more accurate term to describe their problem would be plantar fasciosis. Plantar fasciosis may involve short or long term stretching, tearing, degeneration of the fascia at its attachment site. Plantar fasciitis involves all of the above plus the presence of inflammation. Plantar fasciitis / fasciosis can occur on one or both sides at the same time.

What Does Plantar Fasciitis Cause?

Symptoms are generally worsened with activity and prolonged weight bearing. Due to pain being present while walking, patients often present with secondary conditions related to gait alterations or altered positions while standing.

What Are the Risk Factors For Developing Plantar Fasciitis?

Risk factors for the development of plantar fasciitis include excessive running or a sudden increase in the running distance, wearing faulty running shoes, running on unyielding surfaces, having a shortened achilles tendon, having a high or low arch, decreased motion of the joints in the midfoot.
Loss of flexibility and strength of the plantar flexor muscles has also been found in athletes with plantar fasciitis. Rehab exercises (such as the ones below) should aim to restore proper strength and flexibility of these muscles.

How Can Plantar Fasciitis Be Treated?

At Pro Chiro, we have great success with patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. As it can be caused by a stiffness of the joints in the foot and ankle as well as tightness and weakness of the muscles in these areas, plantar fasciitis responds very well ti hands on therapy. Some of the common treatment techniques we use with plantar fasciitis include adjustments of the stiff ankle and foot joints. We also use various forms of soft tissue treatment including instrument assisted soft tissue release and certain stretches. For certain patients with plantar fasciitis we also use a particular type of taping called low dye taping which can be very successful at reducing the pain. 

How Can You Help Plantar Fasciitis At Home?

In addition to the hands on therapy techniques mentioned above, there are certain exercises and stretches that can be done at home to help reduce the pain and prevent the problem from returning. 

The above exercise is a great way to improve the strength of the muscles in the base of the foot, which should help to take pressure away from the plantar fascia and allow it to recover. On top of this, building up the strength in these muscles will stop plantar fasciitis from returning. 

At home you can also use a tennis ball like in the above video to help reduce the tension within the muscles in the base of the foot. This is another way you can reduce the strain on the plantar fascia and encourage it to relax and recover.