Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition of the foot marked by a stabbing pain on the bottom of the foot, usually near the heel. It often resolves on its own with rest, and the application of ice, but some cases are more intractable. Chronic plantar fasciitis can be debilitating and can result in additional problems as the patient adjusts their gait and their daily activities to accommodate the injury.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs lengthwise along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the base of the toes. The purpose of the plantar fascia is to stabilize the foot and support the arch. It also acts as both a spring and a shock absorber, helping with push-off during walking and running and cushioning the foot when it strikes the ground.
When there is too much strain on the plantar fascia, small tears can develop. If those tears heal abnormally, it can result n scarring and tissue degeneration. The plantar fascia then loses elasticity and shock-absorption effectiveness, leading to a cycle of strain, damage, inflammation, pain, and loss of function.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The root of plantar fasciitis is excess stress on the plantar fascia, which can come from:
· Weight-bearing activities such as running, walking, and dancing.
· Thin-soled shoes, high-heeled shoes, or other footwear with little arch support or cushioning.
· Age: The facia becomes less flexible and loses its shock absorption capabilities as a person ages.
· Excess body weight.
· Work that requires a lot of standing or walking, especially on hard surfaces.
What Are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The hallmark symptom of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing, localized pain in the heel, particularly at the beginning of the day. The condition usually improves as the patient does more walking but can be exacerbated by standing, walking, or running, especially on hard surfaces. The pain may also return after the person has been sitting for a while.
What Are the Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis?
There are many ways to treat plantar fasciitis. Here are the most common ones currently in use.
· Rest and ice
Plantar fasciitis often resolves on its own with this simple treatment.
· Kinesio taping
Kinesio taping is the modern equivalent of stabilizing a joint by wrapping it with athletic tape. Modern kinesiology tape stretches and breathes, offering greater comfort, a complete range of movement, and broader applications than standard athletic tape. Kinesiology tape can be used to stabilize joints, improve muscle function, reduce pain and swelling, and decrease muscle spasms and other unwanted muscle contractions.
Although kinesiology tape is widely available, its proper application requires a comprehensive understanding of the musculoskeletal system, how muscles, joints, and fascia function, and how to determine the correct application of the tape.
Massage therapy can be targeted to relieve the inflammation and pain of plantar fasciitis. If you are considering massage, consult with the RMT to make sure they understand the condition and are familiar with the most effective techniques.
Active release technique (ART) is a type of massage that combines localized pressure and hand movements to assess and relieve tightness and stiffness. ART is a popular method of treating athletic injuries such as shin splints, tennis elbow, and golf elbow, and is also used to relieve the pain and tension of plantar fasciitis.
Stretching and strengthening in a physiotherapy setting can help relieve the problem. A skilled therapist can teach you the best stretching techniques and show you exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the area.
· Graston technique
Graston is a patented treatment that uses specially designed stainless-steel instruments to reduce inflammation and break down scar tissue, restoring functionality and range of motion.
· Night splints
Splints specifically designed for plantar fasciitis hold your foot at a90-degree angle to your shin. This keeps the plantar fascia in an extended position overnight, similar to stretching.
Custom-fitted orthotics give the affected foot extra cushioning and support. By spreading your body weight over the entire sole of your foot, orthotics relieve the pressure on the heel and balance your weight in a more adaptive way.
· Shockwave Therapy
Also called extracorporeal shockwave therapy or ESWT, this innovative, non-invasive procedure uses shockwaves to accelerate the healing process. It is administered by a trained therapist and does not involve any downtime, although a break from high-impact activities is required for proper healing.
· Corticosteroid Injections
In some cases, corticosteroids are injected into the affected area to reduce inflammation. This treatment is used sparingly and cannot be repeated because there is a risk of weakening and even rupturing the fascia.
· Ultrasonic Therapy
Also known as percutaneous ultrasonic fasciotomy or the Tenex Procedure, this minimally invasive technique breaks down the damaged tissue in the fascia using ultrasonic energy that is delivered through a small incision in the skin. This procedure is performed by a physician but does not require hospitalization.
· Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
This treatment involves injecting the patient’s own platelets into the injured area, which is believed to reduce inflammation and stimulate the healing process.
Surgical intervention is only used when all other methods have failed. There are several surgical options, including partially or completely cutting the fascia to relieve tension.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful, often debilitating condition that can become chronic. Intractable cases require professional intervention, which can range from massage and physiotherapy all the way to surgical solutions.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, Chiro-Med Rehab Centre offers a range of non-invasive treatments including:
· Kinesio taping,
· Custom Orthotics
· Massage(active release technique),
· Graston Technique, and
· Shockwave Therapy
Our dedicated team includes specialists in each of these areas, along with diagnostic and rehabilitation professionals, to assess your condition and coordinate your treatment. We are known for designing treatment programs that are specific to your injury, your lifestyle, and your activity level. Let us help you get back on your feet: contact us today for questions, guidance, or to make an appointment!