Every year, about two million people seek professional help for plantar fasciitis (PF), a painful but treatable form of foot pain. The good news is that chiropractors are especially adept at helping people get long-term, drug-free relief from PF. Anyone who has foot pain should have it check out immediately. Even if it’s not PF, any type of foot pain can get worse, and it can lead to further complications with the knees, hips, and back.
Our feet are unique in that they are the only part of our bodies that are in contact with the ground almost 24 hours per day. They take a lot of punishment, are constantly under pressure, and are often the first body part to suffer injury when we don’t get enough rest, wear ill-fitting shoes, or exercise too much.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Simply put, plantar fasciitis is an irritation or pain in the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects our heel bones to our toes. The irritation can come about for a number of reasons, but when it does, it can cause minor, medium, or major pain. How do you know you have plantar fasciitis?
There are lots of signs and symptoms, but the most common ones include one or more of the following:
- An intense stabbing pain near the heel or somewhere else on the bottom of the foot
- Foot pain first thing in the morning that gradually subsides afterward
- Noticeable pain when you press on or touch the arch of your foot
- Dull bottom-of-the-foot pain that starts off mild but slowly grows in intensity
- Foot pain immediately after working out, walking, or running
- Pain when the foot is stretched
What are the Most Common Causes?
Plantar fasciitis results from all sorts of activities, but often shows up in people who run or walk many miles per week, stand for long periods each day, wear shoes that lack good arch support, have flat feet, are over the age of 40, or are overweight.
It’s important for patients to understand that sometimes PF sneaks up on a person over a period of weeks, months, or years. In other cases, it can happen quickly, usually as the direct result of an injury while walking, running, or exercising. Many long-distance runners get PF one or more times in their lives. Lack of rest between exercise sessions, wearing old shoes, or running on uneven surfaces can all contribute to serious cases of plantar fasciitis.
How Chiropractors Treat Plantar Fasciitis
After your chiropractor gives you a thorough evaluation, it’s time for a more focused look at your foot pain to see if it indeed is plantar fasciitis. To be sure, the doctor might order an MRI or X-ray to get a definitive view of the tissue and rule out other problems like bone fractures or various kinds of arthritis.
One of the core components of a treatment plan will likely be rest. It can take a few weeks for the thick plantar tissue to heal after it becomes torn or damaged in any way. Your chiropractor will usually advise you to walk as little as possible, stop jogging, and avoid all activities that involve using your feet. The good news is that it’s typically okay to do extremely low-intensity things like bicycling or swimming.
Another common treatment regimen your chiropractor might suggest is ice. An easy way to ice the bottom of your foot is to crush several cubes, put them in a sealed plastic bag or thin cloth, and then hold them against your foot for about 20 or 30 minutes, several times per day. Some people buy small ice therapy bags that can be re-frozen after each use.
Chiropractic is a drug-free form of medical treatment, so you won’t have to worry about taking pain-killers or other kinds of drugs. That’s not really a type of treatment, anyway. It’s simply a way to mask the symptoms and can eventually make it difficult for you to recognize pain. Some of the most common drugs people take are known to cause kidney damage and severe stomach problems.
Lifestyle, Shoes, Exercise, and More
Expect your chiropractor to make some suggestions about shoes and lifestyle. For example, if you tend to go barefoot at home a lot, wear slippers for several hours per day, or sometimes wear shoes that are a bit tight, then you’ll want to change your ways immediately.
Chiropractic physicians often advise their patients to buy shoes with good arch supports, stop going barefoot, and avoid wearing slippers. Not only is this a good way to help relieve plantar fasciitis, it’s also an effective way to prevent a recurrence of the problem.
After your PF begins to subside, your chiropractor might give you some strengthening and stretching exercises to do. Be sure to follow the directions to the letter. Exercises are ideal for stretching the fascia as well as the Achilles tendon. After a week or so of exercises, you’ll probably begin to feel even better. In all, anything that helps stabilize your heel and ankle will work to your advantage.
The doctor can also show you how to put a splint or tape on your foot. Wearing either while you sleep at night can speed up the healing process by gently stretching the entire musculature of the injured foot. Sometimes, chiropractors will perform adjustments to the foot using their hands. In other situations, they might massage the sore area in order to bring immediate relief.
Here’s a summary of what patients should know about chiropractic treatment for plantar fasciitis:
- Treatment can begin after other possible causes are ruled out
- The doctor might order an X-ray or MRI
- You might have to put ice on your sore foot several times per day
- Rest is the most common treatment component
- You won’t have to take any drugs, and thus need not worry about side-effects
- The chiropractor might show you stretching and strengthening exercises to do at home
- Massage and adjustment of the foot is a typical part of treatment in the chiropractic office
- Some patients wear a splint or athletic tape during sleep to speed up the healing process
Don’t Wait. Get Help For PF ASAP
It’s important to seek professional help if you have pain in your feet. Whether it turns our that you have plantar fasciitis or not, foot problems can be trouble if your don’t attend to them quickly. At Delaware Integrative Healthcare, our chiropractic physicians treat foot conditions like PF every day, as well as a wide range of back, neck, hip, knee, and shoulder problems, both minor and serious.
Feel free to contact our Middletown office at 302-376-5830, or our Dover location at 302-744-8650 to schedule an appointment. We’re always glad to help new or current patients with plantar fasciitis or any other medical condition. Don’t let PF stop you in the middle of an active lifestyle. Get back into the swing of things the smart, drug-free, surgery-free way with chiropractic treatment. We look forward to hearing from you.