Is It Really Plantar Fasciitis?

Whether you can’t run or get out of bed in the morning, that foot pain is annoying!  You rest, you ice, you stretch, you roll a ball on the bottom of the foot, and the pain isn’t getting better.  What’s worse?  You have no idea why your foot hurts in the first place!

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most misdiagnosed and mistreated conditions in the body, mainly because plantar fasciitis is diagnosed by the location of pain.  The truth, is that the plantar fascia which we believe to always be the cause of pain in the bottom of the foot is rarely injured!

People suffering from pain on the bottom of the foot, most often have limited ankle mobility.  Limited ankle mobility makes the bottom of the foot have to work harder during daily activities and exercise.  Over time pain will develop in the bottom of the foot from overuse.

Adhesion in the posterior calf muscles is the most common cause of limited ankle mobility.  Adhesion is the most common cause of limited mobility and pain in the body. It’s also the most misdiagnosed!  Adhesion develops from overuse; repetitive motion and/or prolonged position.

The posterior calf muscles run from the back of the lower leg into the bottom of the foot.  These muscles can cause pain in the bottom of the foot if they have adhesion!  Adhesion must be removed in order to be relieved from your pain!

So how do you know if you have adhesion?  Luckily there is a very easy test you can do at home!

Start by placing a ruler sticking out from a wall.  Stand facing the wall, split stance, with the painful foot against the wall.  Bring your knee into the wall until it touches.  The heel must stay in contact with the floor when the knee is touching the wall!  Continue sliding the foot back until the heel just stays in contact with the floor while the knee touches the wall.  Measure the distance the toes are from the wall.  Normal range of motion is 5-6 inches.  Anything short of 5 inches is a limited and restricted test.

Adhesion is the most common reason why this test is limited!

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So what’s next?  If you found this test to be limited, you need to find out why so that you can get out of pain as fas as possible!

Let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help you!  At Thrive Spine and Sport, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion and overuse conditions like plantar fasciitis.  Currently, we are the only full body certified Integrative Diagnosis providers in the State of Iowa.  Integrative Diagnosis is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for musculoskeletal pain.  To fast track your recovery, call 319-423-0925 or fill out an appointment request here.

Thanks for reading!

Why Weak and Tight Doesn’t Mean Strengthen and Stretch

One of the most common misconceptions in health care is this principle – “weak and tight” means “strengthen and stretch.”  If there is one problem or complaint I hear the most it’s, “I’m always tight.”  Usually, in the same breath, the same person will report that they just need to stretch, or they don’t stretch as often as they should.  It usually comes as a surprise when I then tell this person that stretching won’t help them, and if you’re reading this and you always feel “stiff” it probably won’t help you either.

Stretching is the most overprescribed treatment in healthcare, and also the least beneficial.  Now, don’t get me wrong there is a time and a place for stretching – yoga is fantastic – but fixing your stiffness and pain, it’s not going to happen!

Allow me to explain.

Our bodies were not programmed to handle the modern day lifestyle. Whether you work in a 9-5 desk position or work in a factory doing manual labor 40+ hours a week, both will have the same thing in common.  Overuse.  Overuse happens when we sit in prolonged positions or do repetitive activities, if we are not taking care of ourselves.

When we overuse our bodies, and fail to take care of it with proper rest, recovery, nutrients, this will often create a phenomenon called protective tension.  Protective tension is created to help the body adapt to overuse.  The body will make muscles spasm and contract to help protect any overloaded structure from further injury.  Over a period of time, this gradually leads to adhesion formation.

Overuse Cycle

 

If you are unfamiliar with adhesion, adhesion is the most common problem in the human body, but also the most misdiagnosed.  Fortunately, it can be fixed easily with the right diagnosis and treatment.  When present, it acts like glue on soft tissue structures like muscles, ligaments, and nerves.  This glue then binds muscles and nerves together and decreases your flexibility and strength.  Overtime, adhesion leads to altered joint mechanics and pain.  Without the proper treatment, adhesion will eventually lead to chronic pain, chronic muscle sprain/strains, arthritis, and or spinal disc injuries (think herniation).

 

Adhesion

Check out this video below for a better demonstration and explanation.

We have been conditioned since elementary school days to think weak and tight means to strengthen and stretch.  In reality, weak and tight is often a result of a problem!  All of the stretches and strength exercises in the world will not help adhesion, in fact, it may make things worse.  The most important thing that you can do is figure out why a muscle is weak and tight!

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to get some answers!  At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are trained through the Integrative Diagnosis system to provide the most accurate and advanced diagnosis and treatment to chronic pain and overuse injuries.  Many patients of our office have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office. 

Simply fill out the appointment request on this page, or call our office at 319-423-0925 to start feeling better today! 

Thanks for reading!

Some Help With Foot Pain and Plantar Fasciitis

You don’t have to be a runner to experience foot pain, but 10 percent of runners this summer will at some point!

We have all heard of plantar fasciitis. It is the most common cause of foot pain in runners, after all. Surprisingly, it is also one of the most misdiagnosed and mistreated.

Pain on the bottom of the foot often gets the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis, but this diagnosis neglects to take into account literally every other structure in the foot as a potential cause of pain.

For those who begin to experience foot pain, beginning to fix the problem can be a bit overwhelming. Far too often rest, ice, stretching, and pain medication do nothing for the pain!

So where do you start? What do you do? Is it just a soft tissue problem or is it a bone and joint problem? In order to answer these questions, you need to start with some assessment.

A simple test used to rule out bone spurs or more serious joint complications is toe walking. Although, not 100 percent accurate, plantar fasciitis or soft tissue problems will be made worse by toe walking. Other assessments include testing dorsiflexion and plantarflexion. Muscles in the posterior and anterior calf insert on the foot. They cannot be ruled out as part of your foot problem.

In order to test dorsiflexion, stand by a wall a few inches away. Place your hands on the wall for support and bring the affected foot forward to the wall. Bring your knee to touch the wall without the heel lifting off the floor. Continue to slide your foot backward until you find the furthest place from the wall your knee can touch the wall while keeping your heel on the ground. Normal, healthy range is five to six inches.

To assess plantar flexion, kneel with both shins flat on the ground. Sit back until your buttocks touches the heels. The shin and anterior foot should be flat on the ground without pain. Any space between your ankle and the floor, or pain with the movement, is a positive test.

These two movements are great places to start. Most problems found with these assessments can be fixed. If you find yourself with any of the above assessments positive, you must return these assessments to normal, healthy movements.

Mobility techniques like basic calf stretching and foam rolling the anterior and posterior are great places to start. Rolling a golf ball on the bottom of your foot for a couple minutes also can be of beneficial. Using your toes to curl up a towel can add some strength to the bottom of your foot.

The above assessments should be used to measure your progress with these techniques. If these do not clear up and you continue to experience pain, the problem may be more severe.

Plantar fasciitis and many cases of foot pain are caused by overuse. The result of overuse injuries are microtraumas and tears that eventually lead to the formation of adhesion. Adhesion acts as glue to prevent further injury to the tissue, but it restricts proper movement and function, and causes weakness and pain for those who continue activity. In order to fix adhesion, the above mobility techniques may help, but treatment from a licensed professional is often necessary.

There are many different causes of foot pain and the solutions are never easy. If you’re struggling to get to the bottom of your foot pain, start with the above mentioned assessments. Work to improve and return these tests to normal. If pain or dysfunction persists, reaching out to your local health care provider is the next best step.

If you are in the Cedar Rapids area, and struggling with foot pain, I invite you to fill out an appointment request on this page or give our office a call at 319-423-0925 and get to the bottom of your problem!