The Plantar Fascia is a foot stabilizer during the gait cycle. It spans from the heel and spans out to the distal attachments of the five digits. It is important to keep the foot limber and loose so this fascial band does not tighten up.
This can be done simply by doing at home stretches, wearing proper footwear, or coming in to see your chiropractor!
What is the Plantar Fasciitis?
The Plantar Fascia is located on the bottom of the foot and sometimes referred to as the “arch” even though it is just one of the supporting structures. Just like any muscle or fascia in the body this band of fascia can tighten due to repetitive stress and microtrauma.
The discomfort is felt in the heel primarily where most of the involved muscles attach near the calcaneus or pass over/around the heel. During heel strike of the gait cycle the calcaneus takes the brunt of the force which begins the microtraumas to the plantar fascial band.
Signs and Symptoms
Frequent walkers and runners, or individuals who are on their feet all day, are the typical patients we see who are experiencing Plantar Fasciitis. Others who frequently experience such symptoms are those who have been sedentary for extended periods of time.
During these scenarios the gastrocnemius and solus are the primary muscles that tighten and adds additional strain on the plantar fascia and limits dorsiflexion of the ankle. With limited dorsiflexion our gait patterns are altered and we can begin to develop a “flat foot”.
The most common symptoms are pins and needles on the arch of the foot first thing in the morning. This is also common after being sedentary for a long period of time. When the fascial tissue becomes tight, any load bearing activity creates external stress and pain is exacerbated
Can Chiropractors help?
Yes! The conservative treatment of plantar fasciitis, includes manual therapy, stretching, myofascial release, and orthotics. Once we are able to release the fascial tension strengthening exercises are most beneficial for long-term results.
Just like with any injury we want to build up the supporting muscles and ligaments in order to prevent re-injury.
We’ve put together an awesome list of exercises for you to get started or use as a reference:
1) Plantar fascia stretch, sitting
2) Plantar fascia stretch, rolling bottle of water, sitting
3) Soleus/plantar fascia stretch, toes against wall, standing
4) Gastrocnemius stretch, toes on ledge, standing
5) Plantar fascia stretch, figure 4 sitting
6) “Heel raises” Gastrocnemius strengthening, on step, toes extended, single leg stance
Hope you enjoy,
Dr Corey Idrogo