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One Small Step: Plantar Fasciitis

A common disorder that is presented to health care practices that routinely treat the foot and ankle is Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis, though commonly encountered, is not so easily resolved. This disorder can be symptomatic for long periods of time and can reoccur showing no signs of going away.

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis can present itself suddenly or gradually over time. A sudden onset of plantar fasciitis is usually due to a forceful upward motion of the foot combined with extension of the toes. When plantar fasciitis has a gradual onset of occurring, repetitive stresses such as poor foot alignment, faulty footwear, and excessive body weight are to blame. Pain along the bottom of the foot when walking barefoot or on the toes is the general signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis. With this condition tightness of the Achilles tendon is also present. An increase of pain experienced by patients is usually due to when they stand or walk after long periods of rest. The first steps in the morning as you can imagine can be excruciating.

Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosis

Patients with suspected plantar fasciitis that come into Atlantic Wellness Center are evaluated to rule out other possible conditions such as tarsal tunnel syndrome, calcaneal stress fractures, and gout. Inspecting the patient’s gait for excessive pronation of the foot and/or repetitive heel walking because during the toeing off phase of gait is too painful. Chiropractors also manually palpate the bony structures of the foot for malalignment as well as tautness of the soft tissues surrounding the foot. Plain film imaging in the form of x-rays can be used to identify heel spurs that accompany plantar fasciitis. Literature has stated that only 50% of patients experiencing plantar fasciitis have heel spurs and heel spurs occur in 20% of the population without plantar fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

Promising statistics have found that 70-80% of patients with plantar fasciitis have improved over a 12-month period with or without treatment. Those that seek treatment in the medical field usually experience anti-inflammatories and pain medications. Orthotics with improved footwear are incorporated as well.

Stretching of the Achilles tendon is introduced and if all else has failed corticosteroids are injected into the plantar fascia. The later is not initially introduced as it has been associated with rupture of the plantar fascia. Chiropractic treatment consists of adjusting of the foot and ankle, ultrasound, low-Dye taping, improvements in footwear, stretching of the Achilles tendon, and myofascial release techniques. Personally, I have seen promising results with Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation that utilizes stainless steel instruments to break up adhesions surrounding the calcaneus. With treatment altering the patient’s activities needs to be addressed which allows for healing.

To yours in better health

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