Plantar fasciitis is the result of repeated abnormal biomechanical stresses placed on the plantar fascia. Determining “why” plantar fasciitis is present will better determine how it should be treated. One of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis is pronation of the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. If your arches pronate with walking or running this “flattening” causes a repeated stretch of the plantar fascia as it now becomes a main stabilizer of the foot. Walking places 3-5x bodyweight while running places 7-10x bodyweight through the arches of the foot. This repetitive motion combined with chronic instability of the arch leads to tissue overload over time.
Over time this can lead to irritation of the plantar fascia and the formation of a heel spur as it continuously pulls on its bony attachment. Plantar fasciitis is typically diagnosed subjectively by the individual who has localized heel pain with the first few steps in the morning. Some causes of plantar fasciitis are long periods of standing, walking, running, sudden increases in activity level, obesity, improper footwear, and pronation of the arches of the feet. Diagnosis should encompass not only the pain generator, but also the underling dysfunction.
A common reason for pronation is dysfunctional muscles that support the medial longitudinal arch of the foot: tibialis posterior, flexor hallicus longus, and flexor digitorum longus. The tendons of these muscles provide support to the medial arch of the foot.
Basic at-home therapy can include self-myofascial release by rolling the plantar fascia over a golf ball, deep tissue massage, ART®, and basic strengthening exercises. Ankle mobility exercises will work all of the major muscles of the foot. Stand on one foot and draw the alphabet with the other. Repeat on the other side. Additionally, to help control pain and inflammation after activity roll the bottom of the foot over a frozen water bottle for 3-5 minutes.
Active Performance Chiropractic focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic-related injuries. Treatment is a unique blend of Active Release Techniques, traditional chiropractic therapy, and physical rehabilitation designed to match each patient’s goals and lifestyle.