Monday, August 20, 2018

Foot Overuse and Abuse: Plantar Fasciitis


By: Jack Martin, D.C., CCSP®


Video: Dr. Jack Martin discusses the basics of Plantar Fasciitis.

As an avid runner, I have a passion for helping fellow runners and athletes overcome injury, avoid injury and feel their best.  One common injury I see is Plantar FasciitisThis is an overuse injury effecting the large tendon on the bottom of the foot.

About Plantar Fasciitis

When this large tendon is repeatedly over stretched, micro-tears develop, causing inflammation and pain. This pain typically occurs where the tendon attaches to the heel bone (Calcaneus). The pain is usually worse in the morning and becomes sharp when taking your first steps out of bed.

This condition can be quite bothersome and long lasting if not properly addressed. It can last for weeks to months, and it can often become chronic. Therefore, it is important to get to the root of what is causing your specific pain, and move forward with the proper care. 

Possible Causes

Overpronation: If the medial longitudinal arch is collapsing, this leads to overpronation. This puts added strain on the Plantar Fascia, causing micro tears within the tissue, which can lead to Plantar Fasciitis. 

Tight calf muscles: This tightness can occur from restricted ankle joint motion. It could also possibly be due to previous ankle sprains, or a problem with your lower back, which would effect the nerves associated with the calf muscles. Chronic calf tightness puts stress on the Achilles and Plantar tendons.

Weak hip muscles: Having a weak hip muscle may cause you to favor one side of your body over the other. The foot on the stronger side of the body will deal with an increased work load which may cause injury.

Spine and pelvic misalignments: Misalignments in the spine or pelvis can affect nerve function to the legs and feet. Altered nerve function may impact how the feet and body will operate. It will also impact the body’s ability to heal properly from injury.

Improper Shoes: Improperly fitted, worn down or shoes with little support may be your cause for pain.

Drastic change in work: Changes in training or work duties that put us on our feet more could result in overuse and conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis.

Tibialis Posterior Tendinopathy: It is possible that your problem with pain could be from this condition rather than the Plantar arch. Do you have pain on the inside arch and ankle? The Tibialis Posterior muscle helps support the medial arch of the foot. If it is overworked, you can suffer pain in the region of the tendon where it runs behind the inside ankle bone and attaches to the foot. You can also find muscle soreness just behind the shin bone with this.

Getting Evaluated

To get to the root cause of the problem, it is crucial to get the feet and spine evaluated for any biomechanical issues. As a Chiropractor, I understand the importance of evaluating the feet, as they are the foundation of the spine. Problems here can effect everything up through the kinetic chain of the body. Restoring normal joint motion will aid in recovery. Additionally, checking the hips and spine is vital to your overall health. If the spine is out of alignment, our nervous system cannot function properly. This ultimately could lead to injury.

Treatments at iHealth
  • Foot and spinal adjustments
  • Rockblade (IASTM - Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization): This tool focuses on soft tissue work. It aids in breaking up adhesions and scar tissue that can develop in the foot. Once the scar tissue is removed, healthy tissue can take its place.
  • Corrective exercises tailored to your individual needs
  • Whole body vibration (this treatment can help stimulate blood flow to help the injury heal faster)
Treatments at Home
  • Consider your footwear. The correct shoe can help support the foot and reduce additional tendon damage. The wrong shoe can make it worse. Specialty stores for runners can provide immense insight on what shoe may be best for you. Many of these stores also carry shoe inserts that will help support the arches of the feet.
  • Do not walk barefoot. When walking barefoot, the foot may flatten which increases risk for injury, especially when you first wake up and step out of bed. Stepping out of bed barefoot irritates the problem area of the foot, and you will lose much of the healing that occurred while sleeping. I recommend having a supportive sandal to slip into right out of bed in the morning to help prevent this. Until the tendon is healed, the arches need to be supported.
  • Gently massage the arch of the foot using a frozen water bottle, lacrosse ball, golf ball, etc. This will help loosen the tendon and muscles and increase blood flow to the area. Do this several times a day for 1-2 minutes at a time.
  • Stretch the calves (bent & straight knee). Hold the stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 10x. Do this 2x per day.
  • Epsum salt soak. 10 days, 10 minute soak in warm water. This will help improve blood flow and relax the area. I typically use a cup of salt per gallon of water.
Call to set up a free consultation with Dr. Jack Martin today!

Jack Martin, D.C.
Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician®

Dr. Jack K. Martin received his Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biomedical Sciences at Grand Valley State University. After which he went on to receive his doctorate in Chiropractic at Palmer college of chiropractic in Davenport Iowa. For the past 10 years, he has been practicing in central Ohio treating many issues ranging from headaches, neck/back pain, sciatica, sports injuries and to back issues due to pregnancy. He has had great success working with athletes and expectant mothers. In 2013 Dr. Martin obtained the postgraduate designation of Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) giving him extensive knowledge in sports-related injuries. The skills of the chiropractic sports physician extend to performance optimization of the athlete’s musculoskeletal and nervous systems. In September 2017, Dr. Martin moved to mid-Michigan to join the iHealth of Michigan team. Dr. Martin and his wife Laura, their 2 daughters Saren and Reese are excited to be back in their home state of Michigan. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family, running, fishing, and basketball.




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