Can a Chiropractor Help Plantar Fasciitis?

We have an exciting feature on our blog this week, a guest post from Dr. Bryce Christianson.  Dr. Christianson lives in Colorado, where he sees many endurance athletes in the most active state in the country. He's been able to sharpen his skills at treating many different overuse injuries, like plantar fasciitis. Read on for a load of information about that nefarious foot pain that keeps us from our favorite activities. 

And.... Here's Dr. Christianson.

In January 2006 I would have never considered seeing a chiropractor for Plantar Fasciitis. However, that belief changed when I started my preceptorship under Dr. Josh Sandell. Dr. Sandell was a college friend and teammate of my oldest brother at the University of Minnesota - Duluth. I knew Dr. Sandell is smart and had similar clinic interests as myself. However, I didn’t know people with plantar fasciitis flew to the Twin Cities for Dr. Sandell's care.

In my first week at his office, a patient with chronic plantar fasciitis flew to his Minneapolis clinic for treatment. This patient was from Paris France and was one of two European patients that saw him for plantar fasciitis during my internship. Both of the patients improved substantially under his care.

A lot of people are unaware how a chiropractor can help with plantar fasciitis. After studying different treatment options and the expense of those options, I believe a good chiropractor is a great first place to start.

How a chiropractor can help

A good chiropractor will do a thorough evaluation of the whole body to find areas that influence foot pain and plantar fasciitis. They will evaluate the movement of the low back, hip, ankle and individual joints in the foot. Then they’ll determine what phase of plantar fasciitis you are in so they can correctly recommend things to do at home to help speed up the recovery.

The literal translation of the word chiropractic means done by hand. A quality chiropractor will be able to improve joint function through chiropractic manipulation and improve the tone and texture of the muscles and fascia that influence foot pain.

Good chiropractors will monitor both your subjective and objective improvement and make sure they are only providing care when necessary. They will progress you through the pain stage and closely monitor and coach you through the delicate load phase.

Multimodal Approach

Rarely is there one treatment for plantar fasciitis that is superior to all others. Many people who struggle with plantar fasciitis will promote the treatment or intervention that helps them more than anything else. However, I don't believe there is one approach that is a cure-all. While there are similarities in PF patients, not all exhibit the same objective dysfunction. By chance, the person suffering from foot pain finds the one best thing for the stage that they are in.

Both the pain phase and the load phase of plantar fasciitis require different self-treatment options to best reach complete resolution. If you speak to a healthcare provider that heavily promotes one specific treatment I recommend you evaluate their financial motives.

Best Self Care Options​​​​

During the pain phase, one of the best things for plantar fasciitis is mobilizing or gently stretching the joints in the ankle and foot before getting out of bed (click here for a video). This helps your feet feel limber and reduces the pain upon the first step. People who sit throughout the day will need to do this regularly to help keep the mobility in the joints. I typically recommend every 20 to 30 minutes.

The person who is on their feet most of the day will benefit from resting and icing the feet at the end of their day. While the benefits of ice are controversial, it consistently helps my plantar fasciitis patients so I continue to recommend it, but only during the pain phase.

During the load phase of plantar fasciitis, it is best to strengthen the feet within its toleration. This often needs to be monitored by your qualified healthcare professional.

What's Next?

Start with affordable conservative treatment options like chiropractic care, massage and or physical therapy and try various home remedies. Give these options four to six weeks before switching strategies. If you're motivated to try chiropractic care ask the doctor before your schedule if they specifically do soft-tissue treatments and give home exercises.

Be critical of expensive footwear, orthotics and devices that over promise results. The more invasive and expensive treatments will always be available if you need them. Remember their price doesn't always reflect their effectiveness.

About the author

Seeing athletes and hard workers return to their sport or work is what motivates Grand Junction, CO chiropractor Dr. Bryce Christianson to continually improve his clinical skills. He tries to keep up with the brightest minds in healthcare to deliver quality chiropractic care to his patients. For more information on his practice, please visit www.coorwellness.com

For more specifics on PF please read this article too.