Chiropractic and plantar fasciitis

Chiropractic and plantar fasciitisThe subject of this article concerns a fairly common condition called plantar fasciitis. I received the question of whether this condition could be treated in chiropractic. Well yes, chiropractic may be effective in treating this condition.

First, what is a plantar fasciitis? This is actually an irritation of a ligament (fascia, hence the name fasciitis) located under the foot (in the arch of the foot). The fascia attaches on a small area of the heel bone and then expand and attaches again under all the toes. When there is an irritation of the fascia, pain is usually felt under the heel. The pain is particularly intense after a prolonged period of immobility, such as getting out of bed in the morning. Patients often feel like if they have a needle under their heel. It may happen that the pain is also felt in the arch of the foot or on the sides of the heel. Generally, pain decreases as the fascia is warming up (ex: walking for a few minutes).

Causes of plantar fasciitis are numerous. For example, prolonged walking on a hard surface, wearing shoes that do not have a good support (ex: high heels), mechanical problems of the foot, ankle, knee and even the pelvis, excess weight, etc.

If the plantar fasciitis persists for an extended period, a calcium deposit can develop where the fascia attaches on the heel, thus causing a bone spur, also known as the Lenoir’s spur (épine de Lenoir).

The good news is that this condition could be improved through chiropractic care. First, a physical examination is necessary to determine the exact cause of irritation. As mentioned earlier, the problem could be limited to the foot, but it is also possible that an imbalance of the pelvis causes the irritation of fascia (caused by the difference of weight on each foot). Your chiropractor will be able to assess the problem. Once the origin of the problem established, chiropractic treatment usually consists of restoring the proper mechanical function of the pelvis, knees, ankles and feet. Muscle techniques are used to reduce the tension in the fascia. Your chiropractor will also be able to give you exercises to do at home in order to help the fascia regain more flexibility. For example, you can massage the fascia by placing a tennis ball on the floor and roll your foot on it. Stretching the muscles of the leg and foot are also necessary to treat the condition. If your chiropractor believes that orthotics might help you resolve the condition, he could refer you to a podiatrist for custom foot orthotics. Applying ice under the foot could also help reduce the inflammation of the fascia.

Typically, this condition responds well to chiropractic care. In the event that the results would be limited to conservative care, other interventions are possible. For example, taking anti-inflammatory or having injections in the foot could be considered (a consultation with your medical doctor will be necessary).

If you suffer from this condition, consult a chiropractor today. Not only the condition might take less time to treat, but you will also prevent the irritation of other related structures such as your knees or even your back.

Ice or heat?

Ice or heat

In the past, you may have injured yourself by doing a wrong movement or lifting a heavy charge. Maybe you thought of applying ice or heat on the sore area? But when should we apply ice instead of heat?

You must know that after an injury, inflammation will occur at the site of the injury. Inflammation is a normal reaction involved in the healing process. Therefore, pain, swelling and redness are usually associated with inflammation.

The best way to control the level of inflammation is to apply ice. Ice will decrease the diameter of the blood vessels around the injury and will help decrease the amount of inflammatory cells. The end result will be less pain and less swelling. However, you must remember that ice application shouldn’t be more than 10-15 minutes according to the site of injury and you should wait at least 1 hour between two ice applications. Why only 10-15 minutes of ice? Simply because the diameter of blood vessels will increase after 15 minutes of ice, causing increased inflammation. The icepack should always be wrapped in a thin cloth or towel to avoid direct contact with the skin.

So when should we apply heat? Heat is useful to reduce muscle tension. For example, after intense training, your muscles may be sore. Heat application in that case could help you feel better.

It is not always easy to determine if pain is caused by inflammation or muscle tension. My advice is: if you are not sure what to apply, apply ice instead of heat. Generally, ice application will not increase the pain, which is not the case for heat application. However, should the application of ice or heat increase the pain, stop the application and consult a doctor of chiropractic. He will be able to assist you. Finally, if you have applied ice for 24 hours (10-15 minutes/hour) and your pain is still present, contact a doctor of chiropractic. It may be a sigh that your injury is more important than you thought it was. Chiropractic care helps promote fast healing and decrease the risk of recurrence.