Saturday, 21 November 2015

Plantar Fasciitis may be a common cause of foot pan … but it’s not the ‘sole’ cause.

Plantar Fasciitis may be a common cause of foot pan … but it’s not the ‘sole’ cause.

When it comes to feet there is a medical truism: we all take them completely for granted – until they start to go wrong!

Complaints about foot and ankle pain are a daily presentation to any chiropractic clinic; particularly so at Yeovil Chiropractic Clinic, where we normally have a podiatrist (foot specialist) working alongside us (get well soon, Robin!). 

Although the complaint itself may appear simple, the underlying causes can often be complex – did you know that a quarter of all the bones in your body are in your foot?To make matters worse, foot problems aren’t just caused by feet.  They can also be the result of knee, hip and low back dysfunction and it’s important that any treatment takes this holistic approach.

 Of the dozens of possible diagnoses, which can include congenital variants, neuromas, stress fractures, arthropathies, sprains, strains, bursitis, tendinopthies and fat pad pathologies we, in this country, appear to have a fixation with one condition – plantar fasciitis (pronounced ‘fash-ee-eye-tis’).

Of course plenty of people do present with plantar fasciitis – it’s a common condition in middle and old age.  It’s caused by inflammation in the soft tissues that make up the arch of the foot – so if your pain isn’t in that area, it isn’t plantar fasciitis.  The onset is usually quite sudden and associated with an obvious cause (change in footwear, walking barefoot, trekking across cobbled streets) and treatment should comprise two elements: symptom relief and determining the reason for the dysfunction and not just the cause of the onset – are the bones of the foot aligned properly? Are the muscles working properly? Is there damage to the ligaments? Are the legs functioning in a balanced and symmetrical manner? Are the nerves that control the feet working as they ought?

The symptoms are usually easy to control: medical treatment usually involves drugs to control the inflammation and advice about footwear (Crocks are our top tip) but if you want the treatment to be as effective as possible and minimise the chances of it coming back you need to ask the basic question: ‘why have I got this problem?’

…and if you feet aren’t giving you any grief, perhaps you should ask yourself ‘what can I do to keep it that way?’ – like many musculoskeletal conditions, the signs are normally there for the expert eye to detect before things actually start hurting: so are you taking your feet for granted?