Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel and arch pain. If you’ve experienced plantar fasciitis (PF) or know someone who has, you are aware of the amount of pain and discomfort it can cause. If this is something new to you, let’s break down what plantar fasciitis is and some of the factors that may contribute to the condition.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The Plantar Fascia is the fibrous/connective tissue band that travels from your heel to your toes. When this tissue is irritated, it can lead to inflammation (-itis). This inflammation can be the result of a traumatic injury such as a tear, or the cumulative effect of a repetitive strain injury, often referred to as overuse syndrome. For most people, it starts as pain in the heel or heel pain. Some people may experience this heel pain while running.
Most common causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Many factors contribute to one’s PF and the one that stands out the most is the presentation of abnormal biomechanics in the joints of the foot, knee and or hip. Breakdown of normal joint motion in any one of these areas can alter your gait/movement leading to increased stress on the soft tissues in the plantar surface. As I mentioned above, trauma can cause PF, but most of the time this condition develops over a more extended period.
Other common causes of PF that I often see in my clinic include:
- Occupational constraints that involve standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time and repetitive motion(s) in the lower extremities.
- Muscular imbalances from the lower back down to toes.
- Shoes that provide little to no support as well as shoes that increase the stress on these structures such as a narrow toe box, increasing the risk of bunions and deviation of the great toe. This tends to pull on the plantar fascia ultimately leading to inflammation.
- High heels will shorten the calf muscles and Achilles’ tendon, again, leading to unnecessary pull/tension on the heel.
- Increasing your physical activity when you have been inactive for some time. Being active has its benefits; however, you must build up slowly for your muscular and nervous systems to adapt at a rate that is healthy for you. Too much or too little of anything can be counterproductive. Key is moderation.
- Lastly, if someone’s ankle is showing a limited range of motion, the body will make up for it somewhere else, such as the adjacent joints, knee or metatarsals. This hypermobility can lead to abnormal mobility, in turn causing pain in the plantar surface.
Keep in mind; there are additional causes of PF not listed above. I wanted to mention the most common ones that I see on a weekly basis.
What can be done to help with your plantar fasciitis?
I utilize a variety of treatments to resolve this condition. There is massage and exercise for sure, that I teach my patients. But depending on how long you’ve been experiencing the pain as well as how severe your condition is, our starting point for treatment may vary.
My go-to technique to resolve Plantar Fasciitis:
An excellent, non-invasive method to resolve PF, often quickly and permanently, is with Active Release Techniques (ART). ART is a hands-on therapy that can help pinpoint the soft tissue adhesions, or areas of dysfunction, which are the main contributors to PF. The treatment can be uncomfortable but no worse than the actual condition itself.
What types of results are patients experience? Can I really help your Plantar Fasciitis using ART?
I’ve had many (100s of) patients come in with this condition and have seen excellent results utilizing ART over the past ten years. Some patients are free of pain after 1-2 sessions and others can sometimes expect 6-8 visits to see improvement.
Dont let your Plantar Fasciitis go untreated.
Please remember, doing nothing will not help the problem. There is massage for Plantar fasciitis, Exercises that I can recommend for Plantar Fasciitis and also if need be use techniques like ART.
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