What is Plantar Fascitis and how can a chiropractor help?

What is Plantar Fascitis and how can a chiropractor help?The biomechanics of the foot play a significant role in the development and control of plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is often associated with abnormal foot biomechanics, which can lead to excessive strain on the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot. Here are some key aspects of biomechanics related to plantar fasciitis:
  1. Overpronation: Overpronation is a common biomechanical issue where the foot rolls inward excessively during the gait cycle. This can cause the arch of the foot to collapse, leading to increased tension on the plantar fascia. Overpronation is a common contributing factor to plantar fasciitis.
  2. High Arches: High-arched feet (cavus foot) can also contribute to plantar fasciitis. High arches can lead to poor shock absorption and less flexibility in the foot, resulting in increased stress on the plantar fascia.
  3. Tight Calf Muscles: Tight calf muscles, especially the Achilles tendon, can alter the biomechanics of the foot and place extra strain on the plantar fascia. When the calf muscles are tight, it limits the range of motion in the ankle and can lead to excessive tension in the fascia.
  4. Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes with inadequate support or cushioning, or shoes that don’t match your foot type, can disrupt normal foot biomechanics and contribute to plantar fasciitis.
  5. Gait Abnormalities: Abnormal walking or running patterns, including overstriding, can increase the risk of plantar fasciitis. These abnormal patterns can lead to excessive force on the plantar fascia with each step.
  6. Biomechanical Assessment: A thorough biomechanical assessment is important in understanding how your foot functions during movement. This assessment may include gait analysis and examination of foot structure to identify any issues that could contribute to plantar fasciitis.
Controlling plantar fasciitis often involves addressing these biomechanical factors. Treatment strategies may include:
  • Orthotics: Custom orthotic insoles or shoe inserts can provide support and help correct abnormal foot mechanics.
  • Stretching and Strengthening: Stretching exercises for the calf muscles and plantar fascia can be beneficial. Strengthening exercises for the muscles of the foot and lower leg can help stabilize the foot.
  • Footwear Modifications: Choosing supportive and well-fitting shoes can make a significant difference in managing and preventing plantar fasciitis.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapists can provide targeted exercises and therapies to improve foot biomechanics.
Some treatments you may receive in a chiropractic office who specializes in the treatment of extremity conditions and biomechanical analysis may include:
  1. Feet Adjustments: Chiropractic adjustments or manual manipulations of the feet and ankle joints can potentially help improve foot biomechanics.
  2. Soft Tissue Mobilization with Muscle Scraping: Soft tissue mobilization, including techniques like myofascial release or Graston therapy (muscle scraping), can be useful for relieving muscle tension and improving circulation in the affected area. They can complement treatment by targeting tight or inflamed muscles and connective tissues.
  3. KT Tape: Kinesiology tape (KT tape) can provide support, reduce tension, and promote blood flow in the affected area. It is often used to help manage the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
  4. Cupping: Cupping therapy involves placing cups on the skin to create a vacuum, which can increase blood flow to the treated area and potentially relieve muscle tension. While some individuals find cupping helpful for various musculoskeletal conditions, its specific efficacy for plantar fasciitis is not well-established.
  5. Heat Therapy: Heat therapy can help relax tight muscles and alleviate pain. It can be useful for soothing the discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis, especially when applied before gentle stretching exercises.
  6. If you have any questions in regards to your condition, please seek out a consultation with a provider who is specialized in the treatment of extremity conditions. Multidisciplinary approaches may be necessary to treat and assess your condition properly. Always inform your other providers when beginning with any additional therapists or healthcare providers.
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