Plantar Fasciitis; Why your feet hurt and why it is more than a foot problem.
by William D. Charschan DC,CCSP, Author: Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain.
Anyone who has suffered from plantar fasciitis, a condition where the bottom of the feet are painful when walking knows how frustrating the condition can be. The attempts at putting out the fire range from injections, to heel cushions, to foot orthotics to boots designed that stretch the lower part of the leg while you sleep. Most people will visit either their regular doctor and their local podiatrist, however, many are far from satisfied with the results they achieve, while the problem comes and goes.
Why would your feet hurt? Most podiatrists and doctors have seen this condition many times and can identify it easily enough, but why is it so resistant to treatment? Why is it that only certain people suffer from it while others have no problem at all?
The problem is how doctors have been taught to look at where you hurt and not why. Plantar fasciitis is a prime example of using medical nomenclature to name a condition and then try different things to make it feel better. What if the foot pain was only a symptom, and the problem that created the pain in your feet cannot be resolved reliably by only looking at the feet? This is the problem with plantar fasciitis; this condition has to do with how you walk.
If someone were to punch you repeatedly in your shoulder, would icing the shoulder or perhaps numbing it with an injection make it feel better while you are continually punched? After punching it all day, and the muscles surrounding it go into spasm, would you place it in a device to stretch the traumatized muscles? Most of us would think these are absurd questions however, it has everything to do with plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is caused bythe way we walk, the way we are built and then finally, the way this effects us when we take steps and our feet hit the ground. In other words, the harder your leg and heel hit the ground, the more likely you will develop heel and foot pain at the end of the day. As the condition becomes more chronic, you may experience calf cramps, leg tightness and other manifestations of tightness and pain in your body because the way you walk is an expression of the way you are built (inherited traits) , the way the body has accommodated to the way you walk and the effect of it.
The book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain (available on Amazon.com) explains that if you are built asymmetrically, the body will accommodate to it by compromising the way your pelvis works. Your pelvis, and the fascia (connective tissue surrounding muscles and other tissues in the body) will form according to the forces placed upon it. If those forces are asymmetrical, meaning the two sides of the body will work differently, the myofasia will tighten and eventually distort it causing a torqued pelvis. Since the pelvis stabilizes us and generates most of the power the body generates to work, as well as affecting our balance, we abnormally load the legs and hit the ground harder, and in some cases much harder. The result is tight legs, running injuries, pulleds muscles, leg cramps, knee problems ankle weakness and you guessed it, plantar fasciits.
An important clue is looking at how you wear your shoes. Hard heel strikers will wear their heels out much faster. Gaining weight now enhances this effect, which is why being built asymmetrical is a problem, but placing more weight on it makes it much worse.
People with plantar fascia commonly have the foot evaluated and treated, however, the foot is the symptom, and the mechanism of why this happens is the problem. Other symptoms that will come and go will likely be neck or back problems, shoulder problems, rib pain, generalized inflexibility and in chronic cases, fibromyalgia.
Better solutions are found outside the pain box.
Classically, most medically trained physicians will look at where you look. Most of the medical sites are in agreement yet, this type of group think does not make treatment more appropriate, however it does frustrate those who suffer from the condition because the problem will exacerbate over time and in some people with the standard treatment methods will think they are getting better, except they experience other symptoms that are in the neck, back, knees, etc. This is because the true cause (body style and the way you walk) had never been addressed.
A sports chiropractor is a great place to start. Many sports chiropractors will address not only where you hurt but why. Charschan Chiropractic and Sports Injury uses many advanced methods to evaluate and treat the condition successfully so the chances of it returning, and with it, the neck, back and future leg problems are minimized or resolved altogether. Methods such as
1. Myofascial release – Resolves tight fascia in the core and legs, a huge part of the problem.
2. Graston or instrument assisted soft tissue methods – Tools that can resolve tight tissues in the legs, back and tendons so they work more effectively. Works great on plantar fascia.
3. Spinal and extremity manipulation – Resolves problems in joints resulting from improper movement patterns and the tightened myofascia.
4. Gait retraining – To get the full effect of treatment, your body needs to be retrained to walk and move more effectively
5. Foot orthotics – Either custom or off the shelf, an important part of management for the asymmetrically built person.
6. Treadmill gait evaluation – helps us resolve the most stubborn cases of the condition.
To understand this condition better, read the book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain available on Amazon.com