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  • Writer's pictureWesley Prent

Overcoming Heel Pain: Understanding and Treating Plantar Fasciitis

John, a 42-year-old avid runner, had always prided himself on his physical fitness and active lifestyle. However, a few months ago, he started experiencing a sharp, stabbing pain in his heel each morning as he took his first steps out of bed. Initially, he brushed it off as a minor inconvenience, but as the pain persisted and even worsened after his runs, he decided to seek medical advice. He discovered that he was suffering from plantar fasciitis, a common foot condition resulting in pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue running across the bottom of the foot and connecting the heel bone to the toes. Often caused by repetitive strain injury to the plantar fascia ligament, this condition can occur due to excessive running or walking, inadequate footwear, obesity, or prolonged standing.


The primary symptom is a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel, especially noticeable with the first steps in the morning or after long periods of rest. The pain tends to decrease with movement but can return after prolonged standing or when rising from a seated position. If you experience persistent heel pain that doesn’t improve with rest or over-the-counter pain relievers, it’s essential to see a doctor. A podiatrist, orthopedic specialist, or primary care physician can diagnose and treat plantar fasciitis. At the doctor's office, you can expect a detailed medical history review, a physical examination, and possibly diagnostic tests like X-rays or MRI scans to rule out other causes of heel pain. Based on the examination and test results, the doctor will develop a treatment plan tailored to your condition, which may include rest, activity modification, supportive footwear, stretching and strengthening exercises, medications, physical therapy, or other treatments like corticosteroid injections or extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). In severe cases, surgery may be considered.


Treatment:

  • Rest and avoid activities that exacerbate the pain

  • Apply ice to reduce inflammation

  • Stretching exercises for the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon

  • Wearing supportive shoes with good arch support and cushioning

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen


In addition to traditional medical treatments, a chiropractor can also help manage and treat plantar fasciitis. Chiropractors provide treatments such as foot and ankle adjustments to improve alignment and function, soft tissue therapy to alleviate tension and improve blood flow, and recommendations for orthotic inserts to provide better arch support and cushioning. They can also guide you on exercises to enhance flexibility and strength in the foot and calf muscles and offer lifestyle and ergonomic advice to reduce stress on the plantar fascia. While chiropractic care can be an effective part of a comprehensive treatment plan, it's often best to combine it with other medical treatments as recommended by your primary care physician or a specialist. Taking prompt action and following a comprehensive treatment plan can significantly reduce pain and improve foot function for those suffering from plantar fasciitis.



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