There are many diagnoses regarding the causes of heel and foot pain; however, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause for which professional care is sought.
Approximately 10% of the United States population experiences bouts of foot or heel pain, which results in 1 million visits per year to medical professionals for treatment of plantar fasciitis.
To understand this condition, we need to understand the anatomy of the foot first.
There are 7 ankle bones, 5 midfoot bones and 14 smaller toe bones. The plantar fascia is a ligament that extends from the heel to the toes on the bottom of the foot.
For the foot and plantar fascia to be used correctly, it needs proper support.
There are actually three arches on the bottom of the foot and each is needed for long-term support to prevent foot dysfunction and pain.
The first arch is the big one that most people know, which is on the inside called the medial arch. When people say they are flat-footed, they’re typically referring to this arch to make that assessment.
The second arch is the transverse arch, which is the arch that runs across the ball of your foot.
Finally, there is the arch on the outside of your foot, known as the lateral arch.
Together, these three arches form a triangle on the bottom of your foot, which is what provides your body with balance and support.
When you lose proper function of the foot you can get plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is the pain caused by degenerative irritation at the insertion of the plantar fascia on the calcaneus or heel bone.
This can even result in part of this ligament changing to bone causing a heel spur.
The pain may be substantial, resulting in the alteration of how you normally use your foot, causing you to limp.
“Plantar fasciitis most commonly occurs with the first few steps in the morning or after sitting for a long time. Morning pain is from the sudden tension of the plantar fascia as it gets stretched after shortening overnight.”
You can also have pain towards the end of the day from prolonged standing
The good news is you can get help naturally through chiropractic care.
The first step is a thorough examination of the foot including orthopedic testing, range of motion assessment, a 3D computerized scan of the feet and x-rays if medically necessary.
Adjustments to the foot and ankle can be performed to improve alignment which decreases pain and reduces the stiffness of the foot.
Custom orthotics can be prepared through computerized analysis and specific home exercises are often recommended.
In fact research has demonstrated chiropractic adjustments of the joints of the ankle and foot along with a daily foot stretching program and custom orthotics showed significant improvement.