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Plantar Fasciitis: A basic overview

| By Dr Debbie Tan (Chiropractor)

Plantar faciitis involves the inflammation and pain of the plantar fascia. It occurs when sudden damage to, or prolonged pressures on, the plantar fascia causes it to degenerate.1,2,3 The plantar fascia  is a wide connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. It runs from the heel to the base of each toe.4

Plantar fasciitis occurs in 1 in 10 of the middle aged population.3 It is more common in females and young male athletes, and is more prevalent in the athletic population although not all cases need treatment.2,5 Having an increased body weight is strongly associated with this condition. 2,3,6 Some other causes of plantar fasciitis are standing for long periods of time, having foot arches that are too high or too flat and wearing shoes that are hard-soled and not supportive.3

Plantar fasciitis is also common in people who walk a lot on hard surfaces.2 In addition, athletes who compete on harder surfaces are at a higher risk of developing the condition than those, like footballers, who play on softer spaces such as grass.5 It is also important to note that although patients with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, the condition does not cause heel spurs.3

The most common sufferers of plantar fasciitis are  plantar fasciitis are active individuals, particularly runners, basketballers, people that are on their feet lots of time during the day. The pain is worse when first standing after rest, typically early in the morning. Once the patient starts walking, the pain tends to recede. The pain eases but never fully resolves throughout the course of the day and is exacerbated by activities such as prolonged walking or exercise, particularly on hard surfaces 4

Most times, pain will be present when the foot is planted on the ground, worse in mornings. This is due to the lengthening of the shortened plantar fascia. If the fascia is inflamed, the fascia will stiffen and may elicit pain. Pain is often described as knife-like, sharp and often burning in nature.

Treatment would involve rest from activity and anti-inflammatories initially (we recommend natural anti-inflammatories such as tumeric tablets).3,4 Taping may also help with the pain.6 Night splints may also help reduce the pain in the morning (pre-stretching the fascia at night to prevent morning pain).4,6 Soft tissue techniques (such as Graston technique) may be successful in treating plantar fasciitis, and can be provided by chiropractors.7 Chiropractic treatment also involves manipulative therapy and home rehabilitation exercises.7 In addition, using tools that help stretch and release the plantar fascia is highly recommended – such as rolling the foot on a glass bottle or golf ball.

For more information, seek your allied health professional.

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. Diseases and conditions: Plantar fasciitis [article on the Internet]. Mayo Clinic; 2014 [2016 Aug 8]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/basics/definition/con-20025664
  2. Watkins J. Plantar fasciitis. Pract Nurs. 2012;23(12):623-4. doi:
    10.12968/pnur.2012.23.12.623
  3. Torpy JM, Lynm C, Golub RM. Plantar Fasciitis. JAMA: J Am Med Assoc. 2011;306(17):1940. doi: 10.1001/jama.306.17.1940
  4. Cutts S, Obi N, Pasapula C, Chan W. Plantar fasciitis. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2012;94(8):539-42. doi: 10.1308/003588412X13171221592456
  5. Tahririan MA, Motififard M, Tahmasebi MN, Siavashi B. Plantar fasciitis. J Res Med Sci [serial Online]. 2012;17(8):799-804. Available from: ProQuest. http://search.proquest.com
  6. Orchard J. Plantar fasciitis. BMJ: Br Med J [serial on the Internet]. 2012 [2016 Aug 10];345(7878):35-40. Available from: http://0-www.jstor.org.prospero.murdoch.edu.au/stable/23278994
  1. Daniels CJ, Morrell AP. Chiropractic management of pediatric plantar fasciitis: a case report. J Chiropr Med. 2012;11(1):58-63. doi:  1016/j.jcm.2011.06.009

 

Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should contact your own physician or other qualified health can provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on information from this content. Relying on information provided by this content is done at your own risk. Although the authors have made every effort to provide the most up-to-date evidence-based health information, this content should not necessarily be considered the standard of care and may not reflect individual practices in other geographic locations.

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