Can a chiropractor help with plantar fasciitis? They can certainly try, but should they? First of all, let us establish what a chiropractor is and what a chiropractor isn’t. The word comes from the Greek for “One who does actions with hands”. A chiropractor uses their hands to adjust the spine and other parts of the musculoskeletal structure.
It works on the theory that physical manipulation will enable the body to heal itself without medicine or surgery. Many people consider it alternative pain relief, but some find it works better in conjunction with more conventional methods of healing.
While a chiropractor must be licensed, it must be remembered that there is a big difference between a chiropractor and a medical doctor. They cannot do surgery, prescribe medicines or administer injections.
Do not trust a chiropractor who attempts or suggests any of this. Be a little leery of chiropractors that promise miracle cures. What they can do is manipulate joints by hand. They may use tools such as ultrasound to aid in diagnosis. They may counsel you on diet and exercise.
And let’s go over what plantar fasciitis is. This is the result of overextending the plantar fascia where it is attached to the cartilage covering the surface of the heel bone. If you need steroid injections or pain medication, a chiropractor cannot give you that.
If a conscientious chiropractor believes a patient could benefit from injections, they will refer them to a podiatrist. All they can do is offer some helpful advice and some physical treatment. It may take many months to overcome plantar fasciitis. Anyone who promises you a quick fix is trying to sell you snake oil.
Stay away from any chiropractor who promises to completely cure plantar fasciitis in an absurdly small amount of sessions. A good chiropractor will be more realistic about their abilities and limitations. They will also recognize that every case is different and there is no one size fits all treatment.
Are There Any Benefits To Seeing a Chiropractor?
There can be some, providing you keep your expectations realistic. People who suffer acute lower back pain may find spinal manipulation safe and effective. People with chronic pain may need to see a medical doctor. Chiropractors can help people with headaches and neck pain. Patients with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis have benefited from chiropractic treatment and deep tissue massage. However, there are no official studies to confirm the effectiveness of these treatments.
Now, if it is plantar fasciitis, in particular, you want to be treated, there are two major things a chiropractor can do. They can reduce stress in the ligament and minimize any secondary injuries. Basically, they cannot cure it; only keep it from getting any worse. Plantar fasciitis is due to stress placed on the ligament resulting in tiny tears.
This can be done by exercising it too hard or standing too still for too long. Chiropractic adjustments can reduce stress. A chiropractor can help you minimize any of the misalignments caused by the sudden change in your gait. That can reduce pain and keep you from reinjuring yourself. Do keep in mind that this is a supplement to regular medical care, not a replacement.
Chiropractic treatment is non-invasive, which is what makes it a good supplement to conventional medical care. They practice holistic treatments, which means they take the entire body into consideration when treating a problem. A chiropractor’s approach will typically be a combination of gentle adjustments with diagnosis plus lifestyle advice. This will help you take care of your body so you can get better faster.
What Else Can a Chiropractor Do?
There are contributing factors to plantar fasciitis that a chiropractor can help you with. While a chiropractor cannot treat plantar fasciitis at the source, they can treat the symptoms and causes. A good analogy would be to think of your foot as a tire on a bicycle. Plantar fasciitis is a puncture in the tire.
Chiropractic treatment is akin to sweeping away thorns, sharp rocks and other debris that can puncture your tire. Still, you need to patch the tire and pump it back up. That’s what medical care is for.
The two major things a chiropractor can do for you is help you with balancing your weight and adjusting your posture. The classic contrapposto pose is attractive in sculpture in painting, but it should not be a constant with real-life people.
A straight posture with shoulders and hips even with each other is a good way to reduce plantar fasciitis pain. A chiropractor can help you improve your posture. Having your weight unbalanced can also contribute to pain in the ligaments. If you need to balance and realign your body, a chiropractor can help you with that. This will allow your affected foot to heal more quickly.
It could be you need to raise your physical activity level. If a cause of your plantar fasciitis is a few extra pounds, physical activity can burn some calories. You may also want to learn some simple exercises that ease pains and aches in your neck, back, and shoulders. Sometimes all you need to get a ligament feeling better is a little gentle stretching. A chiropractor can help with that.
What Can You Do?
While a chiropractor can give good advice, it is better to listen to a medical professional first. Make sure that you are carrying out all of the suggested treatments for plantar fasciitis. Do the recommended stretching exercises. Wear slip-in orthotics in order to support your feet. Ice your heels and feet to reduce inflammation.
Further, reduce inflammation by taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Make sure you are getting an adequate amount of rest, preferably with the affected foot elevated. Be consistent in this treatment and you will find that you get better a lot sooner.
A chiropractor may use manual manipulation along with ultrasound, stretching and soft tissue work to treat plantar fasciitis. You may be recommended for exercises to do at home. An orthotic may also be recommended. If the overpronation is the culprit, a chiropractor may be able to help you with that. Here are some other things that you may be asked to pay mind to in order to fix your plantar fasciitis.
- Standing for too long Try to reduce the amount of time you spend on your feet. If that is not possible, at least try to make the floor you stand on more bearable. Even a piece of corrugated cardboard is better to stand on than bare concrete.
- Shoes with no support When you are in the market for a new pair of shoes look for something with good support. A solid shank and a moderate heel make a shoe with a decent amount of support. Look at reviews and try the shoes on yourself.
- Having high arches There is not very much you can do when you get snake eyes in the crapshoot that is genetics. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort. You will have to look for shoes that absorb shock well. Orthotics and physical therapy may help as well.
- Being overweight You’re not going to like this one. Carrying too much weight can be hard on the feet, so being overweight just makes plantar fasciitis worse. Consult with your doctor to come up with a sensible diet and exercise program to help you lose a few pounds.
- A sudden increase in activity While increasing your activity can help in getting rid of those pesky extra pounds, it is not a good idea to do too much too quickly. Start out slow and very gradually pick up the pace. If your sudden activity increase is due to issues beyond your control at least get ample rest.
- Repetitive stress Repetitive movements and overuse can damage the feet. Orthotics and gel inserts can fix plantar fasciitis caused by overwork. While exercise is extremely beneficial, it is also good to know when to stop and rest.
- Calf muscles too tight If you have cramps in your calves, the muscles may be too tight. There are stretches you can do to loosen up the calf muscles. Massage therapy can also work as can physical therapy and medication. Sometimes, all you have to do is keep yourself hydrated.
- Aging Not a thing in the world can keep this from happening. You may have to accept that getting on in years means you might have to change your activity level. This does not mean stopping altogether! Keeping active is healthy, but realize your limits.
- Overpronation This is when the arch of the foot collapses inward or extremely downward. This causes the foot to roll inward towards the arch. This can lead to injury. Supportive shoes, orthotics, and stretching exercises can all help as can chiropractic adjustments.
Don’t Forget The RICE!
It’s been said before but it bears repeating. Usually, the best thing you can do for a bum foot is RICE treatment. Rest your foot so that it has time to heal. Ice your foot to reduce inflammation. Compression will help with circulation to promote healing.
Elevate your foot on an ottoman while your rest to further promote good circulation. Your chiropractor cannot prescribe medicine but may suggest over the counter medications. If you take these or any herbal supplements discuss them with your doctor if the medicine is prescribed.
One method a Chiropractor may suggest for treating plantar fasciitis is Kin taping, an informal way of referring to wrapping the foot with patented Kinesio tape. The tape provides support and stability to the muscles and joints without restricting natural movement.
This facilitates the body’s natural ability to heal itself. People with sensitive skin or latex allergies need not worry as Kin tape as it does not have latex. It can be worn for several days at a time. Kinesio taping techniques can offer you support while rehabilitating the affected condition.
The tape is applied over the affected area while stretching the muscles. This keeps the area supported and relaxed constantly. The tape is waterproof and durable so it can be used for several days at a time. Your feet should be completely clean and dry before the taping. Do not use lotion. It will take an hour for the tape to adhere properly, so you may have to rest a while after it’s applied.
How Electric Stimulation Can Help
A chiropractor may suggest electrical stimulation for your plantar fasciitis. This can be used to contract muscles that are not functioning well. This passive modality works better as part of a larger regimen of treatment. This method of treatment requires applying electrodes to your skin. The electrodes are connected by wire to an e-stim machine.
The shock will not be painful but you may feel a small tingling sensation. The sensation will increase but it should not be uncomfortable. You may be asked to relax or contract your muscles during the treatment. Feel free to tell the operator if you are in pain. the treatment will be either adjusted or discontinued.
Keep in mind that e-stim is only part of a full range of treatments. Risks can include tissue burn, skin irritation or muscle tearing. If you experience tearing in your muscle it may be because the intensity was too high. Treatment should stop and RICE therapy started.
Treatment should stop if the skin is irritated beyond comfort levels. Lotion may be applied to the affected area. Tissue burns are rare and would only happen if the intensity was far greater than it should have been. In such a case, the treatment needs to immediately desist and proper skincare provided.
Ultrasound: It’s Not Just For Babies Anymore
This is something women are very familiar with. If she thinks she may be pregnant or her doctor thinks something may be wrong with her reproductive system she has to drink water until she is nearly bursting, get on the couch, get gelled and have a wand rubbed over her stomach. (Yes, my baby is lovely. Can I go pee now?) However, it can also be used to help plantar fasciitis.
It provides a deep heat that increases circulation and aids in the promotion of healing and a decrease in inflammation. It should be a completely painless experience. If there is any pain that means a stress fracture and the ultrasound should be discontinued. Do not hesitate to speak up if you are in pain during this procedure.
Why a Chiropractor May Want to Look at Your Legs
There was an episode of Lois and Clark where Perry White reveals to Clark that he didn’t know until his wedding night that his wife had one leg a little longer than the other. It was meant to be a metaphor for how we should accept the people we love even with their imperfections.
However, this is a very real problem some people can have. Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) The curving of the spine and the unnatural shift of the pelvis can lead to pain in the neck, back, leg, knee, and foot.
Even if you are not going in for foot problems the chiropractor may want to check the legs and feet first as this is what can cause back or neck pain. Think of your body as a house. If there are problems in the foundation, that can lead to the walls not being able to stand.
LLD can be caused by physical trauma that causes weight to be unevenly distributed. This can be a collision, fall or any sudden jerking of the body. An improperly curved spine can also cause functional LLD. Structural LLD is when the leg doesn’t just look shorter, it is shorter.
Sometimes the bones of one leg just didn’t grow as big as the other. Rather than being caused by a misaligned spine, it can be the cause of a misaligned spine. The discrepancy must be recorded and corrected.
Mrs. White may have been using heel lifts and old-fashioned “I’m a good girl.” charm to hide this imperfection from her fiancé for as long as she could. If your LLD is structural, you are advised to wear a heel lift to keep your spine straight. Otherwise, be as bad as you want.
The character Alan Harper from Two and a Half Men often caught a lot of flack for not being a real doctor. He was a chiropractor, so unlike the unfairly maligned veterinarians and podiatrists, he could not refute the accusation. Alan was unlucky that way and many others.
You do not have to be unlucky with plantar fasciitis. There is a treatment for it. You can see a chiropractor who may give you some adjustments and advice but do keep in mind that it is not full treatment. It is a supplementary treatment. You still need to see a medical doctor.