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Plantar Fasciitis Treatments: 5 Common Reasons and 7 not so Common Treatments

You have probably found your way here because you have experienced some pain in your heel. Ok, it’s more than just “heel pain” – it’s a sharp, stabbing pain that runs through your heel. Something like stepping out of bed in the morning onto a floor covered in Lego. Heel pain, or what’s typically known as Plantar Fasciitis is a condition that affects up to 10% of the adult population in North America. This is roughly about 1 million patients seeking medical help a year. So you’re not alone here in seeking out different (and safe) plantar fasciitis treatments.

Plantar Fasciitis Heel Pain

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Our feet are comprised of several moving parts, and when there is an injury or inflammation, the result can be a painful reminder that your feet carry your entire body’s weight. If you have been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, you’ll know that the pain typically sets in once your feet hit the floor in the morning and can become progressively worse as the day progresses.

The Plantar Fascia – which is the real culprit in this situation – is the flat band of tissue that connects the heel bone to your toes. It’s role is to support the arch of your foot. If it is strained or inflamed it can become weak, swollen, or irritated. The result is pain in one or both feet.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

There are several things or events that can lead to Plantar Fasciitis, some common ones are injuries, falls, and poor form while working out. However, there are 5 fairly common causes that people don’t realize are common. Additionally, if any of these causes sound familiar to you, be sure to follow up with the plantar fasciitis treatments found below these common causes.

1. Old Injuries

Old injuries that affect your gait. Injuries that haven’t healed properly, or that have caused uneven compensation to avoid pain can strain or cause you to overuse muscles in other parts of your body. The overuse of orthotics, or improperly fitting orthotics can additionally weaken and irritate the fascia.

2. Being postpartum

Plantar Fasciitis can be caused by a weak deep intrinsic core. This part of your inner abdomen is directly affected by pregnancy, but even more if you have torn or had an episiotomy. Abdominal surgeries, even those that are laparoscopic can have a direct effect on your fascia. Seeing a pelvic floor specialist is a crucial part of the recovery process here.

3. Hypermobility

The increased joint movement experienced in people who are hypermobile (double jointed) can commonly lead to overpronation (inward rolling of the foot). This puts additional stress on muscles and ligaments which can lead to Plantar Fasciitis and other leg or foot pain.

4. Runners

Up to F cases are runners. This is often a result of not allowing enough time for healing between runs, very long runs, and running on a treadmill. Runners who are overactive heel strikers are the most common to develop Plantar Fasciitis.

5. Poor form while working out

Poor form and overtraining are common causes of Plantar Fasciitis because of the strain placed on the ligaments in the feet, the back, calves, knees, and the abdominal core. Any exercise that causes severe pronation of the feet when completed improperly can additionally result in irritated or torn ligaments or fascia.

What are Plantar Fasciitis Treatments?

Plantar Fasciitis Exercise - Lunge
There are some common treatments used for Plantar Fasciitis, however, they don’t always get to the root cause of the problem. Because there can be so many layers to healing, it’s important that you chiropractor helps you to approach this stage with a multi-faceted approach.

Some of the more common plantar fasciitis treatments will include rolling the foot on a ball, anti-inflammatory creams, rest, active release treatments, stretching the calves, and rolling out the mid-back on a foam roller. Although these are important components to healing, they should be included with some more non-typical moves or exercises.

The following is a list of 7 moves that are NOT typical exercises applied to healing Plantar Fasciitis and contribute to muscle memory when completed properly. In other words, this is where the magic really happens:

1. Dead bug

Lay on your back with your arms outstretched in front of you pointing to the ceiling. Bring your legs up so your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle – this is the starting position. Your back should be as flat against the floor as possible. Slowly lower your right arm over your head, and your left leg straight and perpendicular to the floor simultaneously. Do this slowly until both almost reach the floor, and slowly pull them back to their starting position. Repeat with the other arm and leg. Repeat for three sets of 5-10 reps.

2. Glute bridges

Laying with your back against the floor, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor just close enough that you can graze them with your fingertips. Your feet should be hip width apart. Push up, lifting your glutes off the ground and driving your hips as high as you can while squeezing your glutes. Be sure you aren’t driving straight up with your heels, let your glutes and hips do all the work. Hold for a second or two before slowly lowering yourself to the ground before repeating.

3. Single leg glute bridge

This is a more advanced version of the glute bridge. This is the same movement but with one leg raised and pointed at the ceiling. Alternate legs as you repeat the exercise.

4. Hip hinge on the wall

Begin by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart and a 6-8 inches from a wall. Keep your chest up, shoulder blades back, and your head up and facing forward. Brace the abs and focus on moving the hips back until your butt touches the wall. As you bend forward at the hips, your knees should only bend a little. Once you become used to this movement, you can move further away from the wall.

5. Deadlift

This is where the hip hinge form will help you – a deadlift is a similar movement but with the use of a barbell. Start with a weight suggested by your chiropractor to ensure you aren’t overexerting yourself. With your legs shoulder width apart, use an overhand grip that is wide enough that your hands are just outside your legs. Your back should be flat from start to finish, and your shoulders should remain pulled back and facing down. Keeping the bar in contact with your legs, your hips and knees should move together to transfer the bar from the ground to the upper thigh. Slowly return to your start position, maintaining a straight back.

6. Pallof press

The key to a good pallof press is to engage the entire core while resisting the pull of the cable. While standing parallel to your cable machine, clasp the handle in each of your hands – palms together. Stand a few feet away from the machine to add tension, and ensure your feet are hip width apart with your knees slightly bent. Bring the handle up to the center of your chest and press out and extend your arms fully. You will notice how your body wants to lean towards the cable, don’t lean in. Return your hands to your chest and repeat for 8 to 12 reps on each side.

7. Lunge

Stand with your feet hip width apart and tighten your core. Take a big step forward with your right leg and shift your weight forward so your heel hits the floor first. Then lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and the right shin is vertical. If you can, allow the left knee to lightly touch the floor. Slowly move back to the standing position. Repeat using the other leg.

The purpose of these exercises (and plantar fasciitis treatments) is specific to training your deep intrinsic core, allowing your body the strength to remain balanced when distributing weight to your extremities. So you’ve discovered how to alleviate and heal your foot pain while simultaneously working your core: win-win right?

I hope you have found this information helpful, and please follow up with one of the chiropractors here at Urban Wellness Clinic if you have any questions regarding your own personal healing process.