What is plantar fasciitis and how do I know if I have it?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when too much pressure on the feet damages the plantar fascia (a soft band of tissue connecting the heel bones to the toes). 1 out of every 10 individuals will experience plantar fasciitis at some point in their life. The condition is most common among people aged 40 to 60. Plantar fasciitis can be debilitating and may take a long time to get better.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
Most people with plantar fasciitis report experiencing pain at the bottom of their heel or occasionally at the bottom of the midfoot region. While plantar fasciitis typically impacts one foot, it can sometimes affect both feet.
Pain from plantar fasciitis can range from dull to sharp and builds up gradually. Some individuals experience a burning sensation or an ache that radiates from the heel and spreads across the bottom of the foot. It can intensify after prolonged activity due to increased irritation or inflammation. Typically, individuals with plantar fasciitis don’t experience pain during an activity but once they stop.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs due to frequent overextension or excessive strain on the fascia tissue. Sometimes, minor tears in this tissue or unusual foot structure can lead to the ailment. Other causes of plantar fasciitis include wearing shoes that don’t fit well, not stretching the calves adequately before exercising, and frequently walking or working out on hard or irregular surfaces. Long-distance runners, overweight people, and people who have jobs that require them to stand for a long time are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis.
What Does Plantar Fasciitis Pain Feel Like?
Plantar fasciitis causes a sharp, stabbing heel pain, which tends to be most intense when you take your first steps after waking up in the morning or try to stand up after sitting for a long time. Some individuals may occasionally experience a sharp, piercing pain in the heel while standing or walking.
Consequences of Untreated Plantar Fasciitis
Ignoring plantar fasciitis can exacerbate the condition. Continuous stress can lead to several small tears in the plantar fascia, compromising its strength and stability. Without treatment, the ongoing tearing increases the risk of further damage. Over time, plantar tears or heel spurs could develop and you may need surgery.
If you have plantar fasciitis, the sooner you see a doctor the better. Many individuals ignore the signs of plantar fasciitis until the pain gets so intense that it starts interfering with daily activities, affecting their ability to navigate everyday life and overall well-being. By the time they decide to seek medical care, they develop severe disability.
Even if you stop exercising, your symptoms may not improve as merely standing or walking places strain on your feet, which can exacerbate the injury to the ligament and potentially lead to tears in the plantar fascia.
Plantar fasciitis can affect the strength and stability of your heel. As a result, you might inadvertently adjust your posture and walking pattern to avoid pain flare-ups. This can alter the biomechanics of not only the feet but also the knees, hips, and potentially your back and you may develop knee, hip, or back problems over time.
How Long Does Plantar Fasciitis Last?
Plantar fasciitis can take 3-12 months to improve. The speed of recovery is influenced by your activity level and how diligently you follow your doctor’s instructions.
Chiropractic Care for Plantar Fasciitis
If you are seeking plantar fasciitis treatment near you in Des Moines, give chiropractic care a try. A chiropractor uses either their hands or a specialized tool to exert controlled force on the affected joint to realign the spine. This method, referred to as spinal manipulation, can help reduce pain, improve flexibility, and increase range of motion.
Research indicates that chiropractic care can help manage the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Chiropractors conduct adjustments on the foot, ankle, knee, hip, and spine to reduce strain on the foot’s sole. A chiropractor can also teach you stretches that reduce tension and stress on the bottom of the foot, so the plantar fascia can relax.
Stretching exercises can help reduce pain and inflammation and improve foot strength and flexibility. Additionally, your chiropractor might suggest lifestyle changes to better manage the condition. They can help you make ergonomic changes to ensure your body weight is evenly distributed across the weight-bearing parts of your feet while you’re standing, sitting, and walking.
Individuals with plantar fasciitis frequently modify their gait to lessen pain. They fail to realize that the wrong walking pattern can lead to extra pressure on different body parts, resulting in problems such as back pain, joint aches, and muscle tension. Chiropractic care can assist in realigning the body and improving posture during standing and walking, thus reducing the risk of potential complications.
Ice reduces swelling and inflammation by constricting blood vessels. Use an ice pack or put two or three ice cubes in a towel, then place it on the arch and heel of the affected foot. Apply this cold compress multiple times for up to 20 minutes daily.
Heat can also be utilized to manage plantar fasciitis symptoms. Heat therapy expands blood vessels, promoting better circulation to prevent muscle cramps and stiffness. However, excessive heat might lead to increased swelling and discomfort. You can use heated packs or hot packs or take hot foot baths to prevent or reduce inflammation.
Contrast therapy involves switching between cold and heat treatments. Fill two buckets (one with hot water and the other with ice water). Immerse your foot in the ice water for two minutes, and then in the warm water for 30 – 60 seconds. Repeat this process for approximately 15 minutes.
At Ascent Chiropractic, we use a whole-body approach to care. Our chiropractic techniques are designed to balance and strengthen the body structure. Speak with our experts today and call 206-241-3836.