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Plantar Fasciitis: Learn About Causes, Treatment & Prevention

November 23, 2022
Last Updated: May 2nd, 2024 at 12:46 pm
Read Time: 9 Minutes

Plantar fasciitis is a widespread condition that affects more than 3 million people in the United States each year, which leads many people to wonder what helps plantar fasciitis and the resulting symptoms. Luckily, when examining how to treat plantar fasciitis, there are various options. Many of these options are self-treatable. Once you receive a diagnosis and see a professional to develop a treatment plan, you can continue the healing journey and find plantar fasciitis relief at home.

Here at ChiroCare of Florida, we've been helping patients find plantar fasciitis relief for years. With our vast knowledge of the body's muscle, ligament, tendon, and bone structure, we can identify the painful condition and create a customized plan to get you on the path to recovery.

Keep reading to learn more about what plantar fasciitis is, the causes of the condition, the most common symptoms, how chiropractic treatment can help you, and how to prevent it from re-developing in the future.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

The first step in learning what helps plantar fasciitis is understanding the condition. A thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia connects the back of your heel to your toes. The plantar fascia runs under the entirety of your foot.

This band helps stabilize your foot and provides a good range of motion, supporting the arch. When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed or irritated, you will likely experience pain in the area. However, it can be challenging to recognize that plantar fasciitis is the cause of your foot and heel pain without a professional diagnosis.

Sometimes, medical imaging is required to ensure you're suffering from the condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan. However, a trained professional can usually identify plantar fasciitis by examining your foot, reviewing your symptoms, and asking a few questions about your lifestyle and everyday activity.

You may also hear this condition called "policemen's heel."

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

While plantar fasciitis is extremely common, many people aren't familiar with the condition or what causes the tissue under their foot to become inflamed. Doctors often see several common causes when diagnosing a patient with plantar fasciitis.

Common causes and risk factors of plantar fasciitis include:

  • New or increased activity that requires you to stand on your feet for extended periods.
  • Sports that put high pressure on your feet and heels, such as running (particularly on uneven surfaces), gymnastics, soccer, basketball, football, and more.
  • Prolonged standing on hard floors. This is common in professions such as teaching, nursing, those who work in factories, retail jobs, and more.
  • Having naturally flat feet or a high arch.
  • Having tight calf muscles.
  • Being significantly overweight.
  • The condition is most common among those aged 40 to 60 years old.
  • Men are more prone to developing the condition than women.
  • Have prior issues with your Achilles tendon.

Your chiropractor will review these causes and risk factors with you, identify which are likely contributing to the condition, and then provide tips on finding plantar fasciitis relief.

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

You may be suffering from plantar fasciitis without realizing the condition's name. Once you recognize the symptoms, you can seek treatment and relieve the pain you feel in your feet. Many people believe that heel and foot pain is simply a part of life. However, if the pain is chronic and doesn't resolve on its own after a short time, that indicates a more significant problem.

After learning more about the symptoms, knowing how to treat plantar fasciitis is the first step to starting your journey to a life free of foot pain.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Pain on the bottom of your foot, particularly near the heel.
  • Foot pain that begins within your first few steps in the morning after getting out of bed.
  • Foot pain upon standing after resting for an extended period, such as watching a movie, taking a long car ride, or flight. The pain may subside after a few minutes but return after another period of rest.
  • Pain that increases after exercise or work but is not present during the activity.
  • Swelling or redness in your feet.
  • Stiffness or tightness in the arch of your foot, with possible loss of range of motion.

What Helps Plantar Fasciitis?

Finding plantar fasciitis relief is possible after a correct diagnosis and a review of your lifestyle and activities. The chiropractors at ChiroCare of Florida can help you learn what helps plantar fasciitis so you can start feeling better.

There are several common treatment options for plantar fasciitis relief. Many patients are relieved to know that these options are non-invasive and don't require surgery. Many are natural and holistic.

The statistics show that more than 90% of patients find plantar fasciitis relief without surgical intervention. Surgery is generally only recommended for those who don't see an improvement in symptoms after one year of intense nonsurgical treatment.

Often, seeing a chiropractor will help you find the right treatment plan and course of treatment for your unique condition.

Rest

A professional will first recommend rest and staying off your feet for treating plantar fasciitis. This is easier said than done for many, especially if the condition's cause is your job.

If you're an athlete, your chiropractor may recommend that you take a break from the activity and switch to low-impact sports such as cycling or swimming for a while. Here at ChiroCare of Florida, we have experienced sports chiropractors on staff that can help evaluate your specific condition and advise you on what helps plantar fasciitis while allowing you to get back to the game as quickly as possible.

Foot and Leg Support

Another recommendation may be to place your foot or leg in a walking boot to stabilize the area. You may also have to use crutches for a short time to avoid putting pressure on your foot. Rarely, a doctor may recommend that you cast your foot and lower leg to provide adequate support and limit movement and pressure.

Physical Therapy and Stretching

At ChiroCare of Florida, we offer in-office physical therapy services. Physical therapy typically takes place over a series of visits as we evaluate your progress and alter your treatment plan as needed. We'll also provide exercises to complete at home in-between visits to maintain your progress.

These home exercises will likely include slight stretching. Since the condition is often aggravated by tight muscles in your feet and calves, loosening up these muscles and improving elasticity is key.

The most common at-home stretches we recommend are calf stretches, which take only a few minutes daily. Additionally, a plantar fascia stretch is essential. We'll teach you how to correctly complete these exercises during office visits to avoid aggravating the pain.

Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy is another painless, non-invasive treatment option that we offer at ChiroCare of Florida. This method involves a hand-held instrument that targets the affected tissue, breaking up the damaged tissue to provide plantar fasciitis relief.

Over-the-Counter Medication

Since plantar fasciitis is a condition that results from inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of your feet, you may find relief from anti-inflammatory OTC drugs. NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, are the most common medications for this use. However, there can be side effects and severe interactions with prescription medications. Never start a new medication regimen without first consulting your doctor.

Supportive or Orthotic Shoes

Sometimes, resting and staying off your feet isn't realistic. For example, if you're a teacher, you may need to remain on your feet all day no matter what, and NSAIDs are only recommended for short-term use. While stretching may help, the repeated overuse of your feet on a hard surface is bound to cause recurring issues.

In this case, we recommend switching from traditional sneakers, flats, or heels to specialized shoes that provide extra cushioning and arch support. Buying entirely new shoes may only sometimes be necessary. Today, you can purchase inserts to put in your existing favorite shoes.

If you're an athlete, in addition to adding supportive inserts, it's crucial to replace your shoes regularly. When you notice your sneakers are worn out, it's time to buy new ones. As sneakers age and undergo heavy use, they lose support, and the inserts begin to thin, increasing the pressure on your heel.

Orthotic Inserts: Over-the-Counter Vs. Custom

If you love the shoes you have but can't take the pain any longer, purchasing orthotic inserts is another viable solution to assist with plantar fasciitis treatment. Orthotic inserts are unique cushions that provide extra support for your feet–and you can add them to virtually any shoe. They help prevent your foot from making abnormal movements due to pressure, ensuring proper alignment and minimizing the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

However, getting the correct type of orthotic is crucial, and not all inserts are created equally. There are custom orthotic inserts and over-the-counter options. Understanding the differences and benefits of each is key. While over-the-counter options are generally less expensive (you can find pairs on popular shopping websites for under $10) and readily available (check out the aisle at your local drug store), they're made with poorer quality materials than custom cushions.

Additionally, over-the-counter inserts are generally built only to add cushion, not adequately support your foot, and prevent abnormal movement and weight distribution.

Over-the-counter orthotic inserts will fit anybody, and many tout a one-size-fits-all compatibility. But this isn't what's best for you. Instead, if you're looking for plantar fasciitis treatment at home, you want an insert built specially for you, using high-grade materials explicitly shaped to your foot's needs.

Night Splints and Braces

Most people sleep with their feet pointing down, which isn't optimal for foot health and healing. This position can exacerbate foot discomfort, leading to increased plantar fasciitis pain. Night splints can help address this issue, leading to an immediate improvement in symptoms. Wearing splints and braces at night helps your foot maintain a healthy stretch, preventing muscle tightening and shortening. This reduces pain upon waking, a symptom many with plantar fasciitis find unbearable.

These splints and braces promote quicker healing in those battling a foot injury. Patients often report that they like the convenience of using splints and braces, as it allows them to treat plantar fasciitis pain at home.

Taping Techniques

One of the most appealing aspects of using kinesiology tape (KT tape) for plantar fasciitis treatment is its non-invasiveness. It's a simple, easy-to-use method that can provide significant relief. The tape helps to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and provide support to joints and muscles. Many people find it so comfortable, they forget they're wearing it.

KT tape can help improve your range of motion, increase circulation to the area, promote healing, and promote awareness of proper movement and positioning. We recommend that after you learn how to properly apply KT tape, you keep it on for 3-5 days at a time. Patients love not only the ease of this treatment option but also its affordability.

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

There are a few great steps you can take to help prevent plantar fasciitis from recurring in the future. Maintaining a healthy weight, wearing supportive shoes, icing your feet after extended periods of standing or athletics, and stretching regularly are among the best things you can do.

Schedule an Appointment

If you're suffering from foot and heel pain, find plantar fasciitis relief today. Our sports chiropractors and physical therapists can help diagnose the condition and provide you with recommendations on how to treat plantar fasciitis at home in-between office visits.

With multiple offices throughout South Florida, extended evening hours, and weekend appointments available, we make treatment easy to access. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and begin your treatment through chiropractic adjustments and more.

About the Author:
Dr. Steven Schwartz
Raised in Coral Springs, Florida, Dr. Steven Schwartz is a major advocate for the South Florida community. CEO of ChiroCare of Florida, Dr. Schwartz has grown the group from one facility to 11. Whether he’s treating patients or volunteering for community service, Dr. Schwartz’s long-term goal is to ensure that each and every patient can experience the ChiroCare of Florida difference.
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