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Posted on 09-23-2014

Plantar fasciitis, also known as "heel pain syndrome" is the most common cause of heel pain, resulting from a gradual degeneration of the plantar fascia or sudden trauma to the area. Patients may describe the sensation as sharp stab or deep ache in the middle of the heel or along the arch that typically occurs during walking or standing. Often, pain occurs early in the morning, when patients are taking their first few steps out of bed, or after other long periods of sitting/lying down/non-activity. As the foot naturally tightens at night, the fascia may gain new tears in the morning, initiating a painful cycle. Appearing in one heel or both, the condition tends to be chronic and can be difficult to heal without a combination of aggressive, conservative treatments and total patient compliance.

The plantar fascia is the connective tissue that runs from the calcaneal tubercle (heel) to the base of the toes, with five slips of tissue that form a bridge to each toe. Conditions like calcaneal fat pad atrophy, calcaneal stress fracture, nerve entrapment, and rheumatoid arthritis can exist alongside plantar fasciitis and may also cause pain.

Improper footwear, strenuous activity, even obesity can bring on plantar fasciitis. Over-pronation, high arches or flat feet, and poor shock absorption in shoes can also put excessive stress on the foot's soft tissues. Plantar fasciitis is commonly seen in middle-ages patients, but the young can be affected as well. We see it often in those who place a great deal of stress on their feet like runners, athletes and soldiers.

Plantar fasciitis affects approximately 2 million people in the United States annually. Treatment in office would consist of: Chiropractic manipulation to restore normal joint mechanics, reduce tension. Progressive resistance exercises, and functional orthotics for pain reduction and to position the foot for healing. Treatment at home: At first sign of soreness, patients should apply ice and massage the area, perhaps by rolling a bottle of frozen water beneath afflicted foot. You can also use a golf ball if the frozen water bottle is too much.

Recovery can be slow, with 90% of patients recovering in 6 to 9 months.

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