Why You Shouldn’t Self-Diagnose Plantar Fasciitis

The internet can be an excellent resource for a great many things, but over the years, it has become an unwelcomed replacement for doctors, specialists, chiropractors, and other medical professionals. Though the internet can provide valuable information, it’s best to go see a professional who can help accurately diagnose and treat injuries. One of the most patient-misdiagnosed problems we see in the office is plantar fasciitis.

Man holding foot due to Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia covers the bottom of the foot and holds the structures of the arch in place like Saran Wrap. There are a few things that cause tension on this structure:

  • Improper weight-bearing. This increases the distance between the two attachment sites and inherently will cause tension on the muscle.
  • Tight calves. The plantar fascia connects to the heal just inferior to where the Achilles tendon attaches and can cause a painful tug of war. Luckily, this is the easiest fix.

There are a lot of problems that can lead to plantar fasciitis-type pain, and the internet tends to oversimplify the symptoms and cause of this pain as it takes specific criteria to diagnose and treat. Textbook plantar fasciitis results in the feeling of stepping on a million pins and needles with the first step out of bed in the morning. Typically, it will be more painful at the heel. The pain gradually gets better throughout the day and can be minimal or absent in the evening.

An Example of Plantar Fasciitis Misdiagnosis

Sherry came into the office years ago looking for natural pain relief. She loves running and has a goal of running a half marathon in every state, so heel pain isn’t something that she could live with. When she came to the office, she was treating her self-diagnosed plantar fasciitis for six weeks and it kept getting worse. She was rolling out her foot on a frozen water bottle, self-massaging, and taking ibuprofen two times per day. Due to her active lifestyle, she didn’t have time for annoying foot pain, and she was also getting frustrated with her new hip pain and knee pain.

I watched her walk and squat to find out that her foot was “rolling in” with every motion and that was causing her foot and hip pain. Once I started feeling her foot motion, I found out that the pain was coming from her flexor hallusis, an anterior talus, and tight calves. That was only half the battle as it was only the site of her pain. Sherry also had an inactive glute complex and tight adductors on the same side. This is very common in my office, and I like to refer to these patients as “quad dominant.” After a few weeks of treatments, she was back to running pain-free. She now comes in between races to prevent this overuse injury from happening again.

How We Work

There are 26 bones in each foot and over 100 muscles and ligaments. Being an expert in biomechanics and anatomy, I can confidently address the sight of pain and treat the structures involved. The foot is a complex unit that craves stability, so much so that I often tell patients to warm up without shoes on to gain stability and “feel” the movements throughout the joints. If a foot is not stable, it will cause several issues up the kinetic chain.

Chiropractic treatments and Active Release Techniques (ART) will reduce the pain thoroughly and quickly. The best way to get natural pain relief of the foot and lower limb is to address the way that it is moving. I can work with you to identify the tissues and joints involved with the pain and treat them to improve function of the entire lower limb.

So next time you are tempted to give yourself a heel pain diagnosis and treat the injury yourself, come see us at Strack Chiropractic Wellness Center. We want to see our patients able to live their lives at full capacity, and that can only be done if you feel your best!

Dr. Kenneth Strack

Dr. Kenneth has a B.S. in Exercise Science and became a Doctor of Chiropractic in early 2017. He has a love for sports and family, and wants to help all of his patients feel and perform their best.

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