Understanding Plantar Fascia Will Help You Recover From Heel Pain & Foot Pain Faster
Plantar fasciitis is among the most frequent causes of foot pain or heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that runs along the bottom of the foot joining the heel bone to your feet. Over the years, we have treated thousands of patients with foot pain, heel pain, and plantar fascia pain. Patients who sought plantar fasciitis treatment from us healed fast. We have even helped many that competing centers failed to help. This article is for you if you suffer from foot and heel pain. Furthermore, a better understanding of your feet or foot pain will speed up your recovery. Before we get into an in-depth discussion on plantar fasciitis, it might serve better to provide some necessary information on the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is a thin, long connective tissue directly beneath the skin of the foot. It is a ligament or an aponeurosis that supports the foot arch, running from the heel (calcaneus) to the ball-of-the-foot and from the ball-of-the-foot to the toes. The ball-of-the-foot is the padded part of the sole (bottom of the foot) between the toes and the arch. You can feel your plantar fascia by holding and pulling your toes back. The rope-like structure in the middle of the foot is your plantar fascia. Now, let’s review the function of the plantar fascia.
What Is The Function Of Plantar Fascia?
The primary purpose of the plantar fascia is to provide support during weight-bearing activities. Your feet are the pillar of your body’s needs for support. During standing or walking, the body’s weight comes down, crushing the Talus. The Talus is the first bone in your ankle that connects to your shinbone (from the knee). As the body’s weight crushes on the talus, it is distributed to the other smaller bones, including those at the ball-of-the-foot. The distribution of the body’s weight onto foot bones causes a drop in the foot arch. Your plantar fascia prevents excessive flattening of the foot, preventing it from collapsing. To conclude, the plantar fascia’s primary function is to keep and maintain the foot as stable and strong during stand or mobile phases of gait (standing and walking).
The plantar fascia can get irritated and inflamed when the body is under excessive stress or subjected to repetitive activities. As mentioned, plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament. It is most commonly caused by strain injury, causing micro-tears to the ligament as it attaches to the heel bone or other areas of tightness on the sole. The condition is more common in the overweight and individuals that wear shoes without sufficient support under the arch. If near neglected or in chronic cases of plantar fasciitis, bone spurs may form. Bone spurs are common in patients with plantar fasciitis. We will discuss the cause of bone spurs in patients with plantar fasciitis or Achilles heel pain in later sections.
What Symptoms Are Associated With An Inflamed Or Irritated Foot Fascia?
Plantar fasciitis typically induces sharp or stabbing foot pain at the base of the foot near the heel. Often, patients complain of a nail or pea, causing a poking or nailing-like pain in the heel. The pain is most severe with the morning’s first step. But, it is also triggered by extended periods of standing or raising-up from a sitting position. Many have asked us the reason why their plantar fascia becomes painful.
Heel Spurs, Bone Spurs, Osteophytes & Plantar Fasciitis
Bone spurs or osteophytes can grow at any joint. An osteophyte (bone spur) is an outgrowth of bone caused by constant irritation and inflammation of the soft tissues such as tendonitis. Bone spur at the heel bone (heel spur) occurs in patients who suffer from chronic plantar fasciitis. In some cases, these spurs may not cause any symptoms in the initial stages.
A heel spur is a bone spur or osteophyte that grows at the back of the heel or bottom of the heel. If the growth is at the back of the heel, it is called an Achilles heel spur. The Achilles heel spur is a common condition seen in patients with Achilles heel pain or Achilles tendonitis. Achilles heel pain, Achilles tendonitis, and Achilles bone spurs are treatable without surgery or injections. Accurate diagnosis with precision treatments that targes the Achilles heel spur’s cause are essential to full recovery.
Heel spurs at the bottom of the foot are better known as the calcaneal spur or the plantar fascia spur, as they occur at the attachment point of the plantar fascia onto the heel bone (calcaneal bone). The classic symptom of a heel spur at the bottom-of-the-foot is pain when stepping down on the heel bone. It may feel like a small pea or a nail-like pain sensation each time you put pressure on your heel. Symptoms are always worse in the morning upon getting out of bed. In the initial stages, these symptoms may go away after a few steps. But, as the condition progresses, the pain worsens and may become constant.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The actual mechanisms of injury or cause may not be apparent in most cases of plantar fasciitis. However, in almost all cases, it results from increased stresses placed on the plantar ligament. Repetitive injuries of ligaments and joints at the-bottom-of-the-oot are among the common causes. Jumping, trekking, running, walking, and worn-out shoes (inadequate or poor footwear) are the leading factors in developing plantar fasciitis. Under ordinary conditions, your plantar fascia behaves as a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch on your foot. If tension and pressure onto this bowstring exceed the fasciae’s maximum threshold, little tears can emerge in the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is intended to absorb the large pressures and strains we put on our toes. But occasionally, too much stress damages or rips the cells. The human body’s natural reaction to trauma is inflammation, which leads to the mind stiffness and pain of plantar fasciitis.
The following symptoms are common in plantar fasciitis:
- Pain at the heel (it may impact the entire heel or just a portion of the heel)
- Morning foot pain (intense pain the moment the heel touches the floor)
- Moderate to severe pain after exercise or activity. During activity is can be painless. Pain may come moments or hours after exercise.
Home Test for Inflamed Or Damaged Foot Ligaments, Tendons & Muscles
There are a couple of things you a test at home to see if your heel pain is related to plantar fasciitis. Here are some of the signs or tests you can do at home:
- Do you have a high arch?
- Is there a pinpoint tenderness at the bottom of your foot, just in front of your heel bone, or along the sides of your heels? Pain near directly in front of the heel bone is often associated with plantar fasciitis. Pain on the sides of your heels may be related to a heel spur. Having pain in both areas is often indicative of a combined issue.
- Flex your foot by bringing the foot up towards your knees and then gently pull on your toes upwards. Pain at the bottom of the foot is due to an inflamed plantar ligament (fascia).
- If you have a limited “up” motion of your ankle, it is also a positive sign indicative of inflamed plantar tissues.
As with any condition, with neglect, it progresses. The most common progression of unabated, neglected, or untreated, plantar fascia pain is heel spurs’ development.
What Is The Link Between Inflamed Foot Ligaments, Muscles, Tendons & Heel Pain Or A Spur Spur?
Though many individuals with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, spurs aren’t the reason for plantar fasciitis pain. One out of 10 individuals have heel spurs, but just 1 out of 20 individuals (5 percent) with heel spurs have foot discomfort. A heel spur isn’t the reason for plantar fasciitis. But, a chronic or neglected plantar fasciitis can lead to a heel spur.
What Is The Best Plantar Fasciitis Exercise?
If you have heel pain or plantar fasciitis, stretching and strengthening exercises are critical to complete recovery. The goals of plantar fasciitis exercises are to induce flexibility and strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons attached to your foot, especially those near the arches-of-the-foot. The best stretches for plantar fasciitis are the calf stretch and toe stretches. The best time to stretch is right before you get out of bed in the morning. But, you can stretch at any time. We recommend doing the stretching exercises two to three times per day.
The best strengthening exercise for plantar fasciitis is marble picking with toes and curling towels with toes. Stretching and strengthening exercises can be done at any-time of the day. For best results, do the stretching exercises upon waking up and the strengthening exercises after you have been up for 30-minutes to an hour onwards.
Best Stretching Exercise For Plantar Fascia & Heel Pain
The best time to stretch the plantar fascia is right before you get out of bed in the morning. Here is what you do:
- Toe Stretch: The first exercise must always be a warming-up exercise. Toe stretch is the best warming-up exercise you can do. Start with gently flexing your foot and toes upwards as you lay in bed. Ensure that you don’t flex too aggressively as it may cause cramping-like pain in your calf muscles. You are to flex your foot to a point where you feel a slight tightness in your calf muscles. Hold that position of r 5-10 seconds and repeat. Do three sets. The second set should be slightly more aggressive than the first.
- Calf Stretch With A Towel Stretch: You should do this after the toe stretch. Place a rolled towel at the balls of your feet (Between the arch and toes) while holding each end of the towel with a firm grasp and keeping your knee and leg straight. Start with gently pulling on the towel. Your goal is to stretch the plantar fascia with each pull. For best results, hold the pulled position for 10-20 seconds.
Stretching of the plantar fascia is the first and most important part of the plantar fasciitis exercises you need to do on a daily basisis!
The Best Strengthening Exercise For Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Pain
Before any strengthening exercise, you must warm-up. For best results, do the stretching exercises before doing any strengthening exercises. Curling towel exercises and marble picking exercises are the best and most targeted exercises for strengthening the plantar fascia.
- The Curling Towel Strengthening Exercise: You can do this at any time. For ease, the best time to do it is right after your daily shower after you have dried yourself with a towel. Place a stretched-out towel flat on the floor, standing on one of the edges. Start the exercise by grabbing and crunching the towel towards you with your toes.
- Marble Picking Strengthening Exercise: The purpose of marble picking is to strengthen the muscle at the bottom-of-the-foot. All you got to do is place marbles on the floor, pick them with your feet and drop them in a cup.
After you have finished these plantar fasciitis exercises, it will be great if you can ice the foot. Simply get an ice pack or a pack of frozen vegetables from the freezer, wrap it in a towel and place your foot on it. You should ice for 10-15 minutes. You can repeat icing every 2-hours. Icing will help subside the inflammatory processes and speed up your recovery.
Are There Risk Factors In Heel Spurs Or Fasciitis At The Bottom Of The Foot?
Though plantar fasciitis may arise with no apparent cause, factors can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. We have briefly discussed both below:
- Particular kinds of exercises or activities that put a great deal of pressure on your heel and connected tissue — like long-distance jogging, ballistic skipping activities, ballet dance, and aerobic dancing — may donate to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis or a heel spur.
- Poor foot mechanics is also a leading risk factor. Being flat-footed, acquiring a higher arch, or using an irregular walking pattern may impact the way weight is dispersed when you are standing and place additional pressure on the plantar fascia and heel spurs.
- Jobs that keep you on your toes can cause foot pain or heel pain. Factory employees, teachers, and many others who invest most of their work hours standing or walking on hard surfaces may harm their feet and cause heel spurs or plantar fascia issues.
What Is The Best Home Care For Foot & Heel pain?
The best homecare program for plantar fasciitis patients is the steps we covered under the plantar fasciitis exercises section above. More than 90 percent of individuals with plantar fasciitis, foot pain, or heel pain will recover within ten weeks of beginning simple therapy procedures at home. The simplest and most effective is rest; decreasing or perhaps quitting painful activities should be your first step.
Ice is hugely beneficial for an inflamed plantar fascia or heel spur. Start icing at home two to three times each day. The best time to ice is early morning, and any time you do the above-mentioned plantar fasciitis exercises. Make sure to have the ice pack covered with a towel. The direct icing on feet or body parts can lead to severe burns. Also, avoid icing the areas longer than 15-minutes. So, use a timer and never ice sooner than once every two hours.
NSAID’s (Non- Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), like aspirin or naproxen, may reduce inflammation and pain. Never take medication unless prescribed by your medical doctor. Also, avoid taking NSAIDs for more than a couple of weeks. If the foot pain or heel pain persists, call our center for targeted treatment that fixes and repairs the actual cause of your foot pain.
Last but not least, start an active stretching of your foot and calf muscles. For best results, call our center today for exercise and stretching programs customized to your specific heel pain or foot pain.
How Should You Treat Foot Pain, Heel Pain, Heel Spur, Or Inflamed Foot Fascia?
Orthopedic surgeons may recommend injections or surgery, but you will do much better with conservative treatment. Plantar fasciitis is a mechanical disorder resulting from stresses that damaged tissues at the bottom of your foot. Medication and injections can mask the symptoms, but they will never fix the causes. Therefore, opt for a targeted, holistic treatment option for lasting relief. Our clinical teams of Chiropractors and physiotherapists have a better understanding of the mechanisms of injury. Best of all, our non-surgical and non-invasive methods have even helped those that steroidal injections or surgery worsened. So, opt for our centers. Get the best possible care you can.
What Is The Best Foot Pain Treatment (Heel Spur Treatment & Plantar Fascia Treatment)?
If you suffer from foot pain, heel pain, heel spurs, or plantar fasciitis, we are the to-go-to center in Malaysia. We have the best chiropractic care in Malaysia for foot pain. The chiropractic care we provide is further enhanced with clinical physiotherapy. Our methods are based on the latest established protocols that target the causes of heel pain or foot pain. Best of all, the care you get is not painful. In short, the level of expertise and knowledge our clinical teams have is second to none. In our center, we use ultrasound, interferential current therapy, physical therapy (manual methods of physiotherapy), High-Intensity Laser Therapy, and best-targeted chiropractic treatment for your foot bones, ankle joints, and even shinbone when needed. Moreover, we will provide you with customized plantar fasciitis exercises specific to your needs. In short, the level of care and personalized attention you get from us is second to none.
Unlike others, our doctors of chiropractic and clinical physiotherapists work together for better results. Our system of care is integrative suctions made better through advanced technology. A great example of advanced technology that targets the foot is shockwave therapy.
Shockwave Therapy or ESWT has proven to be extremely helpful when combined with targeted physiotherapy and chiropractic. We use this modality as an adjunct to our physical therapy, chiropractic, and physiotherapy in our center. However, ESWT or Shockwave therapy by itself as a standalone system of care is not as helpful. This, by means, is a fault with shockwave therapy, but a fact that illuminates the need for integrative non-invasive therapy solutions. In other words, shockwave therapy is not a silver bullet. But of significant help when employed through a clinical research-based care system as rendered by our clinical teams of expert chiropractors and physiotherapists or physical therapists.
Should You Have Foot Surgery For Your Plantar Fascia Or Heel Spurs?
Reputable surgeons will recommend surgery after 12 weeks of aggressive nonsurgical therapy. In other words, if an aggressive non-surgical treatment fails to produce results, surgery may become an option.
Gastrocnemius recession is the most common surgical intervention for plantar fasciitis. In the gastrocnemius recession, one of the two muscles, which comprise the calf, is lengthened to improve the ankle’s movement. The process can be carried out using a conventional, open incision or with an incision along with an endoscope, an instrument that includes a camera.
Regardless of how it is done or who performs this procedure, it is usually short-lived. Most sufferers notice reemergence of pain within six months. In some instances, the pain may come later or even quicker than six months. Complication includes infections, restricted mobility, decreased motion in ankles, toes, feet, scar tissue, and nerve damage. The most common complication is chronic stiffness and pain following the surgery. Therefore, take our advice and opt for our targeted non-surgical method before surgery becomes an option.
We can fix and repair your heel pain and plantar fasciitis without steroidal injections or surgery. We are adamantly opposed to surgery or injections. These are short-term gains that may be more harmful in the long-term for some. Some may tell you that surgery or injections are choices you have when all else fails. If you visit our center first, you will not need surgery or an injection to treat the feet better.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections & Steroid Injections For Foot Pain Are Useless
Do yourself a favor and stay a million miles away from steroidal injections. This useless procedure is beneficial to pharmaceuticals and those who inject it into their patients. Cortisone is a steroid, and as it goes with any steroid, there are some nasty side effects. Besides, it is not a fixer or a cure! It only provides momentary relief of inflammatory processes at best. But worse is the fact any injections into damaged tissue induce new inflammatory processes. This is why so many hurt more after a steroid injection. So don’t let them talk you into it!
Steroids have been thoroughly investigated. Numerous articles in reputable peer-reviewed journals correlate degenerative changes in cartilage and ligaments of joints injected with steroids. Since discovering its miserable failures, the pharmaceutical is now pushing platelet-rich plasma injections as an alternative. The platelet-rich plasma injections are useless. Again, we are adamantly opposed to any invasive procedure. Sticking a needle into an inflamed, damaged, or torn area is never a good idea.
So, opt for our targeted methods of care instead of injections or surgery. Research has proven the healing benefits of High-Intensity Laser Therapy combined with Shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis. Best of all, when High-Intensity Laser Therapy and shockwave therapy are given in combination with our targeted collaborative systems of care, the results are superior to injections or surgery.
The Chiropractic Specialty Center® Difference When It Comes To Painful Feet Treatment
If you want the best, call us. Your feet will be better when we treat them. But don’t take our word for it. Come to us, let our team assess your foot pain, and explain our non-surgical treatment options. Then go to others and see what they offer. Compare us to them. You will notice our difference, like the thousands of patients before you. Our successes are the results of our commitment to being the best, not just in Malaysia but also internationally. This is why; we get so many patients visiting our center from all over the world. We have treated patients as far away as Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India. They come to us not just as tourists who visit Malaysia but come to Malaysia to be treated by us.
Before care is rendered, you will be thoroughly evaluated by our research-based clinical chiropractor. He or she will discuss your case with physiotherapists, and together they will provide the much-needed collaborative treatments you need. The physical therapy component of your procedures incorporates manual soft tissue mobilizations, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, manual osseous mobilizations, targeted stretching, and exercises. Physiotherapy portions include the use of ultrasound, shockwave, High-Intensity Laser Therapy, or current inferential therapy. And the chiropractic component keeps the bones in place.
We may even recommend nutritional supplements, orthotics, and proper footwear. Our clinical teams will recommend proper footwear or prescribe off-the-shelf or custom-fitted arch supports (orthotics) to help disperse pressure to your feet longer evenly. Also, we may specify silicone jells. Soft silicone heel pads are cheap and work by elevating and cushioning your mind. In short, we offer the best holistic method of foot treatment for plantar fasciitis, heel pain, and foot pain or heel spurs in Malaysia.