10% of the adult population suffers from heel pain that, in the erudite communities I traffic in, is referred to as plantar fasciitis. (I know, two “i”s next to each other is so weird). 10% might not seem like a lot, but that’s 26 million people. 5.166 billion if we’re including the rest of the world, which we should because they’re people too. As a chiropractor for plantar fasciitis, I know that’s 5.166 billion unhappy people, luckily we have natural plantar fasciitis treatments.
Such a great point. I actually had plantar fasciitis as a kid. Probably from being an absolute monster on the soccer field. Yes, I was the captain and I did play center mid, but this is not about me. What I will say is that plantar fasciitis pain is no joke. As a teenager, even as a healthy adult, not being able to walk without pain…is a real pain.
Plantar fasciitis is the result of inflammation on the fascia tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, most commonly associated with overuse during exercise, working out with poor form, or being the top scorer in a U-15 travel soccer league. It causes heel pain, bone and joint pain, foot tenderness, and makes every step feel like walking across burning coals.
One doesn’t have to be a teenage futbol sensation to develop plantar fasciitis. After all, most people take around 4,000 steps a day – our patients know that number should be around 10,000 thank you very much – that’s a lot of force for the feet to absorb every single day. The thing is, our body should be able to withstand that force and more.
Some people turn to treatments like surgery or steroid injections to help decrease inflammation and pain.
I agree. Luckily, the majority of people know that conservative plantar fasciitis treatments abound and are extremely effective ways to get much-needed pain relief. Like all other pain we experience, it’s important to get treated early. Not only is the condition very painful, but in an effort to ease the discomfort the body will compensate by changing its movement patterns creating problems in the knees, hips, and back.
Skip the surgery and needles and try these 5 natural treatments for plantar fasciitis.
1. Rest, Massage, and Ice the Heel
Let’s just say I’m feeling generous today.
Overuse and repetitive movements are what plantar fasciitis feeds on, so let’s starve it. Rest is crucial to allow the affected tissue to heal properly. For the exercise junkies out there, this doesn’t mean weeks without exercise, but the exercise should be low-impact that won’t put a lot of force on the feet, like swimming, bicycling, or getting a hotel room with a king-size bed and rolling back and forth from one side to the other.
After an injury, or a soccer game against the highschool rival, there may be a lot of swelling and pain. In these moments, ice is a godsend. Elevate the foot and apply ice for 15-20 minutes to help decrease the inflammation.
Expert Hack: Freeze water in a Dixie cup, it must be a Dixie cup because of how cute it is, and roll the cup around on the heel for a few minutes. It’s like an ice massage and it’s heaven.
After the swelling has calmed down, about two or three days, it’s time for a massage. Warm essential oils are made for this type of thing. We want to switch from ice to heat which will increase blood and fluid flow, break up hardened scar tissue, and speed up the healing process. This is the perfect activity for a child who needs allowance or a spouse that once again forgot their mother-in-law’s name is spelled Lara, not Laura.
2. Plantar Fasciitis Exercises and Stretches
None of us stretch enough.
Except for him, he’s fine.
96% of patients with plantar fasciitis saw improvements after stretching their heels. So, I’m not sure why more people aren’t stretching. Plantar fasciitis stretches are one of the most effective treatments out there. These stretches are not limited to the feet, strengthening the calf and Achilles tendon as well helps to reduce scar tissue, improve form, increase range of motion, and decrease pain.
3. Supportive Footwear
In 2019, the US footwear market was worth $91 billion. We love shoes. Everyone loves shoes. Kids love the shoes that light up, pre-teens love the shoes that have pop-out wheels, Gen Z loves the shoes that Millennials didn’t like out of spite, women love heels, dads love Cole Haan, athletes, supermodels, and diplomats all love shoes. Some people build closets just for shoes.
Shoes are more than a status symbol, they play a major role in walking and running form and impact a person’s ability to withstand force and pressure. Not all shoes are created equal and not all shoes were created with comfort and health in mind. We need to find the shoes that are best for the specifics of our unique, beautiful feet, shoes that will offer extra cushion and arch support to lower our risk for injury.
High heels may turn heads, but they also roll ankles. If we can’t walk because our plantar fasciitis pain is so bad, no one is going to see our sweet kicks anyway.
4. Keep a Healthy Weight
The higher our body weight, and the weaker our legs, the more pressure our heels have to absorb. An anti-inflammatory diet, better stress management techniques, getting enough sleep, and regular exercise can all help with this. This isn’t about body shaming or encouraging fad diets, it’s about sustaining a healthy body weight to minimize the stress that our muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and organs must endure.
5. Visit a Chiropractor
The best thing about seeing a chiropractor for plantar fasciitis treatment is that they’re not interested in chasing the symptoms, just trying to relieve the pain. We are invested in finding the root cause of the issue – whether it’s a gait issue, a health issue, or an alignment issue – and address that for long-term preventive care.
Chiropractic adjustments can make our feet…
…and help restore motion and function to the joints in the feet. Our chiropractic care can restore proper foot mechanics and break up adhesions that inhibit healing with the Graston Technique, create a customized exercise plan to strengthen and stretch the muscles in the feet and legs, and use deep tissue laser to stimulate energy production at the cellular level to accelerate healing.
Plantar fasciitis doesn’t have to control how, where, and when we live our lives. We should be in control of that. We don’t have to rely on pain medications with their nasty side effects for pain management. Chiropractic treatment for plantar fascia pain is a natural, non-invasive solution to heel pain. Call us or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors and take back control. All it takes is one step in the right direction.
That direction is toward our office, just in case that wasn’t clear.