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Plantar Fasciitis & Chiropractic Care

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

Start in a seated position with your legs extended.
Reach down and grab your toes.
Pull back on the toes, the big toe especially until you feel a stretch in the arch of
the foot.
Alternatively, if you are not so flexible, take your leg and cross it over your knee.
Grab onto your toes, pulling the big toe back towards you, feeling the stretch in the
arch of the foot.

2) Plantar fascia stretch, rolling bottle of water, sitting

Take a hard plastic bottle.
Place the bottle on the floor under the sole of your foot.
Slightly press your foot against the bottle and roll it forwards and backwards.

3) Soleus/plantar fascia stretch, toes against wall, standing

Place the toes of you affected leg up against a wall.
Keeping your heel in contact with the floor and your knee bent, push your knee
forwards towards the wall.
Hold this position, relax and repeat.
You will feel the stretch through the lower calf and sole of your foot

4) Gastrocnemius stretch, toes on ledge, standing

Place the toes of the leg to be stretched against a wall or ledge.
Keeping the heel down and the knee straight, move your body forwards, stretching
the calf and Achilles in this leg.

5) Plantar fascia stretch, figure 4 sitting

Sit up straight in a chair.
Place the ankle of your affected leg over the knee of your other leg.
Grasp the toes of your affected foot and pull your foot and toes up towards you.
You should feel a stretch in the sole of your foot.
Hold this position.

6) “Heel raises” Gastrocnemius strengthening, on step, toes extended, single leg stance

Stand up straight on a step facing a wall or supportive surface.
Position a rolled towel on the step.
Walk your feet back so that your heels hang off the edge of the step and the toes
of your affected foot are on the towel.
Stand on your affected leg and perform a calf raise, pushing up onto your toes.
Hold this position.
Control the movement as you slowly lower your heel back down over the edge of
the step.
Ensure you keep your knee straight throughout the movement.

Hope you enjoy,

Dr Corey Idrogo

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