Plantar fasciitis. We've all heard of it and, 9 times out of 10 it's probably the first thing you think about if you're experience constant pain in the bottoms of your feet. But what IS plantar fasciitis? And, more importantly, what can we do to get out of pain and prevent it from happening again?!

The experts here at Kinetic Sports Rehab treat plantar fasciitis all the time. In fact, we not only treat plantar fasciitis, we strive to teach you the "Why" behind how you might have got it and we retrain your body to avoid it in the future. That's empowerment through education, folks!

So, What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is commonly described as pain in the heel or bottom of the foot that is intensified by extending the toes and dorsi-flexing the foot (bringing foot and toes toward the shin). Pain can be more intense in the morning as you take the first steps out of bed or when you are walking up stairs, taking a brisk walk or even a light jog.

What are some Signs and Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

The most common site of pain for Plantar Fasciitis can manifest in the heel. However, many patients have reported pain in the arch or even the ball of the foot. Tightness in the foot, calves, hamstrings or even the hips can be a precursor to Plantar Fasciitis.

Plantar Fasciitis treatment At Kinetic

We see patients who come to us with Plantar Fasciitis symptoms frequently at Kinetic and we get excellent results by combining state of the art functional rehabilitation with soft-tissue treatment. Utilizing gold standard therapies such as Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.) and instrument assisted therapy, we make sure your issue is treated properly and you are getting out of pain as quickly as possible.

How Can Kinetic Help Me change my story?

At Kinetic, we don't just focus on the obvious symptoms. We look for dysfunctions up and down the chain to see what caused the initial problem. We will take you through an extensive movement assessment to look at your body mechanics and to make sure that once you get out of pain, you stay out of pain.

From your assessment, we will develop an active functional rehab program so you are able to get back out there and do what you love. Do you want to run around Green Lake, hike the beautiful trails of the Pacific Northwest, or play with your child without pain? We can help you Change Your Story!!


Plantar Fasciitis Guide

Still looking for more info on plantar fasciitis? Well, here ya go. If you want to skip to some exercise that can help relieve plantar fasciitis pain, skip to that section below. BUT! Know this - If you don't retrain your body on how to move, you may alleviate some pain in the short term, but in the long term, you'll never be rid of plantar fasciitis completely!

WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

To understand plantar fasciitis, we first need to understand the plantar fasciia and how they contribute to the gait cycle.

Plantar Fascia

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue which stretches underneath of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes.

Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Initial Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis symptoms usually include sharp pain in the heel while:

  • First walking in the morning
  • After long periods of sitting or standing
  • Following intense exercise
  • While walking up stairs or standing on tiptoes

Advanced Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Advanced plantar fasciitis symptoms may include:

  • Pain all day long
  • Increased severity of pain
  • Pain extending outward from the heal

Rare Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Less common plantar fasciitis symptoms can include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Swelling
  • Shooting pain

Plantar Fasciitis & The Gait Cycle

To understand one of the most common ways that plantar fasciitis can ensue, let us first breakdown the general biomechanics of human locomotion – the gait cycle. There are 2 distinct phases of Gait, stance and swing. The stance phase is when the foot is in contact with the ground. The swing phase is when the opposite foot is non weight bearing (in the air). While your foot is in stance phase, 2 important movements occur known as pronation and supination. The action of pronation allows your foot to become more flexible and responsive to the ground below you by softening and collapsing the arch while bearing more weight on the medial side (inside) of your foot. Supination is the opposite motion, in which you bear more weight on the lateral side (outside) of your foot and the entire foot becomes rigid in order to transfer energy.

Because we are more than a sum of our parts, there is an inevitable reaction up the chain. During pronation, the lower leg, knee and thigh all rotate inwards, while the opposite happens during supination. When any of the above choreographed movements do not happen enough, too much, or without the right timing, injury can happen to the plantar fascia, especially if you are clocking significant and highly repetitive time on your feet, such as running.

Many people tend to over-pronate due to mobility restrictions, previous or current injuries, incorrect shoe choice, faulty biomechanics and movement patterns (tight or weak muscles), and the surface that you are walking/running on (environmental factors). This over pronation causes the foot to act as a poor lever (remember while the foot is pronated, the arch has softened) and it takes more energy and effort to propel your foot off the ground. This happens at a cost: repetitive microtrauma to the plantar fascia that compounds over time. The result is an inflamed, stiff, and painful arch.

Active rest, icing, massage, anti-inflammatories, night splints, orthotics, corticosteroids, and in rare cases surgery, are all more traditional means of treatment, ranging from the conservative to invasive.

Here at Kinetic Sports Rehab, we take a multi-faceted and progressive approach to treatment for plantar fasciitis. Keeping in mind that “everything is connected”, we asses the entire kinetic chain to find any biomechanical, movement, and motor control deficiencies. Spinal and extremity chiropractic adjustments (only if needed!), Active Release Therapy, Graston Therapy, Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and kinesiology taping are all extremely effective tools we use in order to treat plantar fasciitis. In addition, the chiropractors at Kinetic Sports Rehab will analyze your Gait and can offer you expert advice on which shoe choice is best for you and your sport.

WHAT CAUSES PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

The question on many people’s mind when discovering they have plantar fasciitis is “What causes plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia usually functions as a shock absorber supporting the foot arch. Plantar fasciitis is caused when the plantar fascia stretches or tears from a variety of factors. Repetitive stress on the plantar fascia often leads to this stretching and tearing. Other causes of plantar fasciitis can be attributed to tightness in the plantar fascia or genetics, such as the case with flat feet or high arches. These plantar fasciitis causes are discussed below in more detail.

Excessive Foot Pronation / Overpronation

[Is this the correct definition of foot pronation?] Foot pronation is the flexion of the foot arch when downward pressure is applied. Excessive pronation occurs when frequent, hard use causes the plantar fascia to stretch or tear. This is often one of the causes with runners.

Runners and others with overpronation often resort to using an over-the-counter shoe insert to minimize the pronation of the foot. This is not always the optimal solution. Pronation is a natural part of the gait cycle with the plantar fascia absorbing the shock from running. If the pronation is completely removed other parts of the body including knees and lower back will take the force of the impact. This is likely to lead to other, more severe problems later on.

Repetitive Stress On The Plantar Fascia

Plantar fasciitis is caused by repetitive stress on the plantar fascia. Excessive foot pronation is one type of repetitive stress injury to the plantar fascia, however, there are many other types of activities that may be causes of plantar fasciitis. The most common work-related plantar fasciitis cause is standing for long periods of time (particularly on hard surfaces).

Flat Feet

While flat foot is a medical condition in which their is no arch in the foot. Flat foot is often caused by genetics, however, foot arches can also decrease during adulthood, a medical condition called posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD). Steps you can take to minimize your risk of developing flat foot from PTTD are:

  • Avoid wearing high heels for long periods to decrease your risk of plantar fasciitis. Frequent wearing of high heels can cause plantar fascia to compensate for the unnatural position of the foot while wearing high heels.
  • Other risk factors for PTTD include diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
  • PTTD is more common in women and people over 40 years old. It is uncertain if age plays a role or if the increased risk with age is due to diabetes, hypertension, and obesity being more common in people over 40 years old.

High Arches

High foot arches is another genetic foot condition that can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis. A normal shaped foot arch flexes just the right amount, not too much and not too little, while a high arch often flexes too much. This contributes to extra stress on the plantar fascia leading to an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

Unequal Leg Lengths

The constant extra pressure on the plantar fascia in people with one leg longer than the other can lead to plantar fasciitis. This strain can usually be minimized with the use of inserts or custom foot orthotics. If you have custom shoes made ask your cobbler to include additional sole material to even out your legs and reduce the strain on your plantar fascia.

Obesity

Being overweight contributes to approximately 70% of plantar fasciitis cases. If you are overweight and have plantar fasciitis it can be difficult to find exercises that will not aggravate your plantar fasciitis or further injure your plantar fascia. In chapter ?? we will discuss exercises for plantar fasciitis.

decreasing PLANTAR FASCIITIS pain

There are many possible treatments for plantar fasciitis. Not all of which need to be included in every person’s plantar fasciitis treatment plan. Most cases can be resolved with therapy. Some plantar fasciitis pain can be resolved by wearing proper shoes. But it's changing behaviors that lead to plantar fasciitis and learning other preventative measures that can truly change whether the plantar fasciitis pain comes back. You might be asking about surgery? Well, most cases of plantar fasciitis do not require surgery! In fact, only 5% of people will require surgery to relieve the heel pain from plantar fasciitis.

Other Ways To Decrease Plantar Fasciitis Pain

Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

One of the easiest ways to start decreasing the heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis is wearing specifically made shoes for plantar fasciitis. As with regular shoes, it may require trying several different brands before finding the one that works for you.

The most important aspect of choosing the best shoes for plantar fasciitis is good padding in the heel of the shoe and that the shoe fits the arch of your foot correctly. There are many companies that create shoes designed to deal with the problems caused by plantar fasciitis. However, it is not always necessary to choose a shoe made specifically for people with plantar fasciitis. You may find that a high-end running shoe will do the job just as well.

Here's Some Plantar Fasciitis Shoe Brands To Get You Started

Socks & Sleeves for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis socks and sleeves work using compression to reduce the strain on your plantar fascia. These can be used in combination with a shoe for plantar fasciitis or with a well-fitting shoe. Wearing sleeves or socks for plantar fasciitis will provide only a small amount of benefit if worn with ill-fitting shoes.

Plantar Fasciitis Socks

The list below contains our plantar fasciitis sock recommendations. There are many brands of compression socks on the market. Look for socks that provide a good, tight fit.

Plantar Fasciitis Compression Sleeves

PLANTAR FASCIITIS PREVENTION

Once you’ve dealt with and beat plantar fasciitis you’ll be concerned with preventing plantar fasciitis from returning. These plantar fasciitis prevention tips will keep your plantar fascia in good health and keep your heel pain free.

Wear Supportive Shoes

Wear supportive shoes that fit your feet well and have good heel cushioning. While you may not need to continue to wear shoes for plantar fasciitis (link - pf shoes), you should always keep in mind the above criteria when choosing a shoe. Shoe brands don’t all follow an exact size and width. Try different shoe brands to see which fit your feet best and provide you with the most support.

Stretch Daily

Taking only 10 minutes each day to stretch your muscles will prevent injury and likely improve your overall health. Bookmark and come back to our guide to plantar fasciitis stretches (link - pf stretches) to keep your feet healthy and prevent plantar fasciitis from returning. To avoid injury we recommend always stretching before any physical activity, especially running.

Increase Exercise Intensity Gradually

When beginning a new exercise routine gradually increase your time and/or intensity. Continue to do your plantar fasciitis exercises (link - pf exercises) on a regular basis to keep the muscles that support your plantar fascia strong.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Maintain a healthy weight. Obese and overweight people are much more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. Losing weight can be one of the hardest obstacles in preventing plantar fasciitis. If you are overweight consider seeing a personal trainer and nutritionist to help you reach your goals. Not only will you prevent plantar fasciitis, you’ll also live a healthier life.

Don’t Sit Or Stand For Long Periods

Do not sit or stand for too long at one time. Changing your position for even a minute or two can help prevent plantar fasciitis. If you have to sit or stand for long periods at your job talk to human resources to find a solution. It’s in your employer’s best interest to keep you healthy.

Be Aware Of Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Take action at the first symptoms of plantar fasciitis (link - pf symptoms). Now that you’ve experienced the heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis you know what signs to look for in the future. Good health is about being proactive as much as it is about other things that contribute to increased health risks.

Remember, preventing plantar fasciitis is all about paying attention to your body and making choices that will reduce your risk of having plantar fasciitis return. Follow the plantar fasciitis prevention tips above and you’ll keep your feet happy.