The Longer But Better Road to Treating Plantar Fasciitis

The Longer But Better Road to Treating Plantar Fasciitis

As one of the most common causes of heel pain, Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the tough, fibrous band of tissue running along the sole of the foot. This band of tissue attaches to the heel bone and base of the toes, supporting the foot’s arch and playing an important role in normal foot mechanics while walking. Inflammation to this area can inhibit normal and routine daily activities, so it is important to seek treatment, one of which is chiropractic care.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis can develop from other medical conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, but more commonly it is caused by increased activity level, issues with the foot’s structure or shape, excess weight, or even the shoes you wear or the surfaces on which you stand, walk, or run.

Although foot pain also can happen from nerve compression, stress fractures, or diminished fatty tissue pads under the heel, plantar fasciitis is diagnosed with a supportive medical history and physician’s examination.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

The pain from this condition usually increases gradually, typically near the heel. The pain can be sudden (perhaps after a misstep or jump from a height), but usually it is chronic, feeling worse in the morning or after inactive periods. The discomfort can lessen with activity or warming up, but vigorous or lengthy activity also can make it worse.

The tension or stress with plantar fasciitis increases with putting weight on the foot (standing) or when pushing off on the ball of the foot and toes (normal walking or running). Over time, the band of tissue loses elasticity and resilience, making it easily irritated even during routine daily activities.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

The best treatment for plantar fasciitis depends on the condition’s severity, but options include home remedies, physical therapy, medications, and surgery. Patients typically experience pain relief with three to six months of consistent treatment, but the longer the symptoms have been present and the more severe the pain, the longer treatment may take. 

“Plantar fasciitis tends to take a little longer and through more types of treatment to really be effective,” notes Dr. Rick Gross of Quality Care Chiropractic. “We have noticed greater improvement in patients with a treatment plan of 2–3 visits each week for several weeks, including therapies like chiropractic foot adjustments, MLS Laser to reduce pain and inflammation, deep tissue massage, and physical therapy exercises.”

Following are some of the most common treatments.

  • Rest or Activity Modification: Keep weight and stress off your foot as much as you can and avoid activities that increase pain. If that’s not possible, change the activity routine (e.g., run on a more shock-absorbing surface, avoid hills, decrease distance or duration). Perhaps switch from jumping or running to swimming or cycling.
  • Icing: Applying ice to the sore spot several times a day (for 20 minutes) can reduce pain and inflammation. You can even freeze a golf ball or water bottle and roll it along the sole of your foot.
  • Stretching and Physical Therapy: One of the best treatments is calf and ankle stretches that focus on the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. This helps maintain or increase range of motion and tissue flexibility. Stretching exercises can be done at home several times a day. Other physical therapies include lower-leg strengthening exercises that stabilize the ankle as well as joint mobilization, massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and light therapy.
  • Orthotics and Support: Avoid walking barefoot, and switch to shoes with arch support and/or heel cushioning. To avoid buying new shoes, use shoe inserts for additional support. Also consider using athletic tape to support your muscles and ligaments, using a night splint to keeps the fascia stretched while you sleep, or wearing a walking boot that controls ankle motion.
  • Medications: If home remedies don’t work, you can try medications like Tylenol and NSAIDs for pain relief. Prescription medications may include oral corticosteroids or even cortisone injections (with side effects) and platelet-rich plasma injections (expensive and not typically covered by insurance).
  • Wave Therapies: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) delivers shock waves to an area to create microscopic trauma that triggers the body’s healing response. Radio frequency nerve ablation (RFNA) breaks up the scar tissue that can form with radio frequencies.
  • Surgery: Only recommend if patients have not responded to other treatments, surgery carries a long recovery with a walking boot and physical therapy, and surgical options do not cure all cases of plantar fasciitis. Up to 25% of people still have pain after the procedure.

Why Is Chiropractic Care Recommended?

Complementary and alternative medicine treatments, which include acupuncture or chiropractic care, typically help decrease the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

“One of the unique treatments we provide is foot adjustments,” offers Dr. Gross. “It has been a real game changer in terms of faster, longer lasting results. Because of our advanced training in adjusting feet, we are seeing better results in treating plantar fasciitis than ever.”

If you or anyone you know is suffering from plantar fasciitis, please contact Quality Care Chiropractic in Aurora, IL, at (630) 499-2225 to asks questions and learn about the next steps for getting you back to whole-body health. 

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