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The truth about plantar fasciitis

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about managing and treating plantar fasciitis in Jersey. As well as some handy tips to get on top of the condition at home.

Let’s jump into it!

Is pain in your heel and foot causing discomfort after rest periods?

You may have got yourself a touch of plantar fasciitis. It is surprisingly common in Jersey and is thought to affect around 1 in 10 people.

Often, it can present with substantial pain and feel quite debilitating, so let’s talk about the plantar fasciitis treatments, causes, and how to manage your healing process. 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The sole of the foot has a strong elastic band-like tissue, the plantar fascia, that reaches from the bottom of the heel and stretches forward to each toe. 

It has the mighty task of maintaining the arch of the foot and works by expanding as we step down and contracting as we lift off. This spring mechanism is thought to help conserve energy, much like wearing springy trainers do. 

Suppose this spring mechanism is not functioning well, like in the case of ‘flat feet’ or the rolling inward of the ankle (pronation). In that case, it can greatly affect the biomechanics of the joints moving up the leg and into the pelvis. 

The ‘itis’ of plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation caused by micro injury to this tissue. 

How painful is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis can range from a notable annoyance that can be relatively easy to ignore. However, if it is not given the opportunity to heal properly, it can lead to a substantial and debilitating pain that will stop you in your tracks. 

Who is prone to plantar fasciitis?

The micro-injuries in the plantar fascia are obtained by those of us who, with great enthusiasm, declare the new 2.0 version of ourselves as ‘a runner’ and set forth with great haste!

As virtuous as our day-to-day activities are, our little plantar fascias are often somewhat shocked into action and often don’t have the capacity to withstand the increase in mobility due to being underprepared and overworked. Show of hands; who knows what that feels like!

Other factors worth mentioning here are not stretching after exercising, being overweight, having high-arched or flat feet, ankle pronation, and athletes doing plenty of running and jumping. 

Of course, depending on how your foot functions, even upping your walking steps too quickly can have you wincing pretty rapidly.

How do you know if you have plantar fasciitis?

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are a bruised sensation, dull ache, and a burning or sharp pain at the underside of the heel, which can be felt more commonly after a period of rest. 

You may also notice it more when standing barefoot on hard ground or climbing stairs. Your Achilles tendon may be somewhat tight too. 

How do you test for plantar fasciitis?

Your chiropractor in Jersey will do an assessment of your foot, applying pressure and testing its structures to determine the point of injury and which of the tissues are involved. They will ask for your clinical history, your symptoms, their onset and your daily activities.

What triggers plantar fasciitis?

A common trigger is a high impact and/or sudden increase in activity after a period of less movement. Perhaps even shoes where the support of the sole has changed, like in the case of shifting to barefoot shoes or wearing old trainers that have seen better days.

Can shoes cause plantar fasciitis?

Shoes can be all sole and no shoe or all shoe and no sole. So this really depends on whether or not your foot arches have the strength to withstand the changes between them. This will determine the likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis with the shoe as the leading cause. 

Can wearing flat shoes cause plantar fasciitis?

A sudden shift to barefoot shoes worn for long periods without tapering your time spent in them may be the cause of heel pain if you have flat feet or your feet are not strong enough to maintain their arches well. Remember, your body is doing its best in many cases based on how you’ve looked after it. Work your way up, slowly increasing your time in them and don’t persist until the point of pain!

What shoes work best for plantar fasciitis?

Shoes that encourage the support of your foot’s sole and allow a slight softness may ease the symptoms. A good pair of trainers will do this, remember to do your homework on them before you buy.

Is walking barefoot good for plantar fasciitis?

Avoid walking barefoot for the time being. Walking barefoot is a virtue we should aim towards for our general well-being and structural integrity.

The trouble is, a lot of people no longer have the strength in their foot arches to spend much time barefoot without the potential of over-stretching the plantar fascia and injuring it. So, working on building strength, flexibility and mobility in the foot (and seeking out the assistance of a professional) are vital for a healthy plantar fascia… and the body as a whole! 

Whilst we are on the subject, when you are ready and able to, be sure to get those bare feet on the earth to help revitalise your energy, reduce inflammation and ease anxiety… more on that to come!

Can plantar fasciitis be cured?

Most definitely! You have the capacity to heal your heels, but you will need to make some changes.

How long do plantar fasciitis flare ups last?

This all depends on whether you are willing to put your feet up and let them rest! Plantar fascia flare-ups can continue on for weeks to months if left untreated or ignored. 

What exercises should you avoid with plantar fasciitis?

Rest is very important when recovering from plantar fasciitis. Running and jumping activities are the main culprits here so drastically reducing these will speed up your recovery time. 

Does walking make plantar fasciitis worse?

This is somewhat dependent on the individual. If you exercise frequently, walking should be a good compromise. If, however, you are overweight and have recently started walking a lot, then walking may be a big trigger. Try walking for shorter periods and at a slower speed to allow your ligaments to get used to it. 

Will plantar fasciitis ever go away?

Yes! It most definitely will. Like with any area of the body, it just needs to be given the opportunity to recover and regenerate. At Human Health, we prime your body for healing by rebalancing the tension in your nerves and musculoskeletal system.

What happens if plantar fasciitis goes untreated?

If left untreated, symptoms may persist for longer and can get worse. At the time of injury, inflammation will occur and is an important part of the natural healing process of that tissue. If the inflammation persists for a long period, this can be detrimental to and lead to a chronic condition. 

What are 3 treatments for plantar fasciitis?

There are a few methods you can put into place immediately to start to reduce your symptoms.

  1. Icing the area for 10-15 minutes 3 times a day, 
  2. resting from rigorous activity, and 
  3. stretching the muscles at the back of your legs, your calves and hamstrings regularly. 

Is massage good for plantar fasciitis?

Massage can help ease the build-up of tension in the tissues around the foot and leg and ease the symptoms. Again, it is important that you follow the massage therapist’s recommendations at home in between sessions. 

Can a chiropractor do anything for plantar fasciitis?

Yes! Getting your body rebalanced is going to speed up your recovery. At Human Health, we provide chiropractic adjustments which ensure your body’s biomechanics are working at their optimum so that your muscles, tendons and ligaments are balanced, your joints are healthy and mobile, and your body has the best opportunity to regenerate.

Does plantar fasciitis show up on an xray?

No, an X-ray will only show bone and not the fascia. A bone spur on the heel can be detected by an X-ray and can cause irritation of the plantar fascia, which is attached to it but is much less common. 

How to permanently get rid of plantar fasciitis

Be kind to your body. Ease your way into activity as your body needs time to comprehend change and adapt appropriately. Keep your weight down and optimal for you; seek professional help where necessary. Eat foods that aid healing and reduce inflammatory foods such as sugar. 

Which is better for plantar fasciitis heat or ice?

Inflammation causes heat in the area. For long-standing inflammation, we recommend ice for 10-15 minutes, 3 times a day. Ice is a natural painkiller and helps to reduce the inflammation for a period. 

What is the best exercise to do for plantar fasciitis?

Gentle movement is always necessary to get blood flow to an area for repair, but it is important to rest.

Dynamic and static stretches for the calves and legs are greatly beneficial in soothing heel pain. Swimming is a great way to get a whole body workout without putting pressure on the foot. 

How do I stretch my foot for plantar fasciitis?

Firstly, you can roll the sole of your foot on a ball such as a tennis ball or lacrosse ball will help to ease the build-up of tension in the fascia.

Secondly, cross-legged with the affected foot on top. Use your fingers to extend your toes back toward the knee to open and stretch the bottom of the foot and hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. 

Achilles tendon and calf stretching can be performed in a standing position with the affected foot placed behind as if in a lunge. Bend the front knee keeping the back knee straight and heel on the ground. You can lean your hands on a wall for a deeper stretch. 

How to strengthen your plantar fascia

Foundation Training is great for gaining stability and mobility in the foot and ankle (and everything else!).

Conclusion

In summary, easy does it. If you have been affected due to a rapid increase in mobility, then follow a training programme that will give your body a chance to strengthen up to the task your mind is set on achieving. 

You’ll greatly reduce the chance of injury and therefore avoid the frustration of hopping on and off the bandwagon, so to speak. 

A nutritional weight loss programme with a professional in the field is advised if you are overweight. It is not enough to simply cut out elements of your diet. 

For your longevity, joint health and general well-being, having someone who can guide and support your body and your lifestyle will have much greater results.

If you are in Jersey and struggling with plantar fasciitis, be sure to get chiropractic adjustments and checkups regularly to ensure your body is reorganising and recovering in a healthy and balanced way.

Just a little extra self-care and love could save yourself from the restricting symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

Tacy Wright

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