What is plantar fasciitis?
Your heel bone is connected to your toes and the ball of your foot via the plantar fascia, which is a band of thick tissue. It functions to absorb shock during the repetitive motion of walking and also supports the arch of the foot.
The plantar fascia experiences tension with actions such as pushing off of the balls of your feet or simply bearing weight while standing. Over time, overuse may lead to decreased elasticity and disruption of the fibrous band of tissue. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed due to increased physiological stress.
The pain associated with plantar fasciitis often feels like it’s emanating from the heel and is often worst in the morning. After warming up following a period of inactivity, the pain may decrease or subside.
How can chiropractic help?
Aside from stretching and wearing supportive shoes, plantar fasciitis can be addressed via shockwave therapy, one of our chiropractic modalities. Shockwave therapy is a popular chiropractic modality and treatment used in orthopedic and rehabilitation medicine. A series of sonic pulses are emitted at a specific depth to target scar tissue, myofascial tears, and calcifications. This is the same technology used for lithotripsy, when kidney stones are broken up via sound waves for passage through the urinary system. In the case of this orthopedic application, shockwave therapy induces the body’s inflammatory response to send healing cells to the targeted area and increases blood flow to promote healing.
Studies investigating the efficacy of shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis:
Many studies speak to the efficacy and utility of shockwave therapy in the treatment of overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis. It is important to note that the vast majority of studies find that the benefits of shockwave therapy are cumulative. Wang and colleagues performed a study on plantar fasciitis patients with heel pain in which they performed a standardized shockwave series on subjects. They found that 75.3% of subjects reported the complete absence of pain following treatment, while another 18.8% reported significant improvement. Additionally, a meta-analysis covering the effectiveness of shockwave on plantar fasciitis across 8 studies and 840 patients found a success rate of 88% of the treatment across patients.
Written by Emily Condon, Medical Assistant at Bissell Clinic
02/28/23, 9:17 AM
Ogden JA, Alvarez RG, Marlow M. Shockwave Therapy for Chronic Proximal Plantar Fasciitis: A Meta-Analysis. Foot & Ankle International. 2002;23(4):301-308. doi:10.1177/107110070202300402
Wang C-J, Chen H-S, Huang T-W. Shockwave Therapy for Patients with Plantar Fasciitis: A One-Year Follow-up Study. Foot & Ankle International. 2002;23(3):204-207. doi:10.1177/107110070202300303