Approximately 2 million people each year are treated for plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the thick band of tissue that runs from the base of the toes to the heel of the foot is damaged or irritated and inflamed. There are several risk factors that can make it more likely a person will suffer from plantar fasciitis including obesity, tight calf muscles, and being a runner, among others. Fortunately, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) and manipulative treatment are two viable treatment options.
A common misconception is that heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are the same. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), “Although many people with plantar fasciitis have heel spurs, spurs are not the cause of plantar fasciitis pain. One out of 10 people have heel spurs, but only 1 out of 20 people (5 percent) with heel spurs have foot pain. Because the spur is not the cause of plantar fasciitis, the pain can be treated without removing the spur.”
While researchers have found that conservative treatment has the highest rate of success, no single treatment has been identified as the best approach. In one case study, a 10-year-old boy with plantar fasciitis received manipulative therapy, IASTM, and performed home rehabilitation exercises and improved over a period of six weeks.
The AAOS reported, “More than 90 percent of patients with plantar fasciitis will improve within 10 months of starting simple treatment methods.” Without any treatment, however, “The natural history of plantar fasciitis is often self-limited and generally resolves within one year.”
According to the American Chiropractic Association, “No single treatment has been shown to be effective. Multiple modes of therapy are required for this difficult condition.”
DCs with the knowledge and resources to provide treatments through multiple modalities may well be able to provide successful treatment to patients suffering from plantar fasciitis.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Plantar Fasciitis and Bone Spurs.” Orthoinfo.aaos.org. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00149. Updated June 2010. Accessed November 2014.
American Chiropractic Association. “Plantar Fasciitis.” ACAtoday.org. http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=5290. Accessed November 2014.
Kristmanson K, Stuber K. “Conservative therapy for plantar fasciitis: a narrative review of randomized controls.” J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2006:50(2);118133.
Daniels C, Morrell A. “Chiropractic management of pediatric plantar fasciitis: a case report.” J Chiropr Med. 2012:11(1);5863.