Plantar Fasciitis: Causes and Treatments

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Transcript of Video: Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the connective tissue on the bottom of the feet. Methods of treatment include rest and ice, taping of the foot, orthotics, massage therapy and cortisone injections. We need to understand the source of the plantar fasciitis, so that we can work on healing it – perhaps even on your own.

The origins of plantar fasciitis come from wearing footwear and walking on hard, flat surfaces. Improper footwear can destroy the arch in our feet, and that can lead to inflammation of the plantar fascia.

Approximately 25% of the joints and bones in our bodies are dedicated to the structures of the feet. That being said, the foot is perfectly designed to handle our weight and gravity, to propel us and to support us without the use of footwear. That is what the foot is designed for.

In our current culture in the USA, we put our feet into many different types and styles of shoes. When we walk on hard flat surfaces, the muscles and the connective tissue in the feet begin to weaken and break down.

What is plantar fasciitis? The plantar fascia is a connective tissue that is on the bottom of the foot, and it provides us with support. It also provides us with the information about what is happening in the feet because it is very pain-sensitive.

The plantar fascia is providing the arch support to the foot. Arches are designed to support downward forces from above. If you want to break an arch down, you press up on it from underneath. This pressure causes the arch to lose its integrity, and consequently other structures are needed to support it.

This image shows footprints of three different feet. They are the imprints that would be made if a person stepped on a piece of wet concrete. The one on the far left would be considered fairly normal, the one in the middle would be considered a flat foot, or a foot that is pronated. The last is a foot that has a very high and rigid arch.

When we are wearing the modern running shoes with very supportive arches, what we are doing is artificially supporting the arch, breaking down the integrity of it, and allowing the plantar fascia to take more abuse. Therefore, we have to be very careful with the type of footwear we use and the aggressiveness of the arch support we’re using in them.

“Can you improve your arches once they do start to collapse? Can you get rid of the plantar fasciitis?”  These are the questions that people ask when they come in to our office suffering with foot pain. Yes, you can improve the arch and, yes, you can get rid of the plantar fascia pain. Our treatment includes using a combination of methods that were mentioned earlier: rest and ice, taping to support the foot, orthotics when necessary and massage therapy. If cortisone injections are needed, we will provide you with a referral to the appropriate physician.

Recently we have begun to have people train outside on uneven surfaces such as trails. Because we don’t want them to be at a great risk for cutting their feet, we recommend that they wear a barefoot running shoe like Vibram fivefingers™. It is a slim running shoe that looks like a rubber booty with toe articulations.

At Wake Forest Chiropractic, we are taking our tri-athletes and high-level runners and moving them off of the hard services, out of the highly-supportive running shoe, and moving them onto a trail in these running shoes.

This is an image was taken from a video we shot of a running clinic we recently held on in Raleigh. We had a group of trainers and therapists who participated in a barefoot run through three miles of trails. The purpose of this clinic was to assist these professionals to become better coaches to their patients.

Barefoot running is a technique that is coming to the forefront of running itself. Many people who have begun barefoot running have been able to restore some of their problems with the arches in their feet. It provides another option for professionals to offer their patients to help to rehabilitate the feet.

The most important thing a person with foot pain needs is an accurate diagnosis. If you come to see Dr. Shawn Phelan at Wake Forest Chiropractic in Wake Forest, NC, he will provide you with a proper diagnosis, and if needed, proper treatment or a timely referral.

If you would like further information about plantar fasciitis and barefoot running, or if you’re interested in speaking with us about your foot pain, please go to our website,  If you would like to make an appointment, please get in contact with us by calling 919-562-0302. We would be happy to hear from you. Thank you.