So last week we touched on what Plantar Fasciitis, what causes it and a few things you can do to alleviate it. This week we continue with palliative measures for short and longterm care and prevention.
Have you ever had your foot adjusted? Yeah, I said it. Why not? If a chiropractor can adjust a joint in the spine why cant he adjust a joint(s) in the foot!? If you consider there’s 28 bones in the foot responsible for the majority of the shock absorption when you walk, jog, run or jump; it makes sense. The foot is the #1 shock absorber in the body. If the bones/joints don't move like designed it becomes a rigid club, talking to you heel walkers out there, passing that shock/energy up the kinetic chain into the knees, hips and low back. This can explain why you may have low back, knee or hip pain as well? Chiropractors adjust more than just the spine. As a matter of fact, we’ve been instructed in numerous techniques that addresses every joint in the body, including the feet. Though not all do, some in our profession focus on other parts of the anatomy, but thats a conversation for another day. From my perspective, as a chiropractor, if you're having any sort of lower extremity problems you need to have your feet looked at to ensure the bones are articulating properly. Without proper motion in the foot your ceiling for improvement is limited.
Next, inserts for your shoes. This approach addresses the overpronation of the foot by giving it a hard barrier to keep it in a more natural position during the last part of the plant phase. Overpronation causes excessive stretch and forces to be placed on the plantar fascia which over time causes plantar fascitis. You can start by trying the foot station at your local pharmacy. These inserts are very generic, unlike you! But its a starting point and if it works then it was a cheap easy fix. If not, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t, you may look into getting fitted for a pair from a health care professional. You should be aware there are numerous options and not all are created equally, nor do all of them need to cost $300-500!! In the world of inserts there are heel lifts and full length inserts. On top of that there are arch supports for supination and over pronation designed to provide your foot gentle guidance into a more neutral/natural position during the plant stage of your stride. How do you know which one to use? Thats were the eye of a trained health care professional comes in. Proper analysis and testing is required to identify pathological movement patterns. FMS and SFMA are two reputable systems used to identify contributing factors. Even then its not always clear cut. Most times it takes a series of adjustments to both the foot and the insert based on your feedback/progress. You start simple, a small insert to start and as the body normalizes you increase the lift until symptomatology is minimized or even resolved. The one problem with this approach, its a passive fix. Its the equivalent of a brace, its not requiring the body to actively correct the muscle deficiency. Its simply a gentle reminder. Corrective exercises should be issued to aid the support.
At the end of the day, regardless of your unique scenario in which causes this dysfunction, you have to take responsibility for taking care of yourself. You essentially got yourself here and only you can get yourself out of it. And for those who think they are too busy to make time, This issue will only get worse and before you know it you will have all the time in the world to rehab when you are no longer able to bear it and cant work! Whats that our parents used to say: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". More true than we could have ever known.