Southern Oregon Sports & Spine

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is the most common diagnosis for pain in the bottom of the foot. However, the plantar fascia is rarely the primary cause of your foot pain. With 26 bones and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, the foot is a complex system. And the plantar fascia is just one component of this system. Along with many moving parts, the foot contains an enormous amount of nerves so that we can feel the ground accurately. 

Muscles, tendons, and ligaments work as a team to move and stabilize the foot. If any member of the team is not pulling its weight, another member must pick up the slack. The foot is supported by muscles that come from the back, hip and knee. Some of these muscles travel down the lower leg and into the foot often as far as your toes. If these muscles become weak or overused, this puts excess stress onto the plantar fascia of the foot. Our body can respond to excess stress in an area by laying down scar tissue. The scar tissue which is not flexible, limits mobility of both the joints and soft tissues.

The feet hit the ground thousands of times a day with the full weight of the body but the mechanics that determine how our feet move extend far above the ankle. The mechanical link between the foot, knee, hip & back and how each is affected by the movement of the other, is known as the kinetic chain. The body needs a balance between flexibility and strength to function at its optimum level. A lack of either of these factors can cause a faulty link in this kinetic chain and change how your feet hit the ground. Dysfunction in one part of the kinetic chain will ultimately cause problems in other parts of the chain because it is a weight-bearing system. Imagine a ladder: if the feet are unstable, then the ladder is unstable. If weight is not distributed evenly further up the ladder, the ladder will also become unstable. An assessment of the joints and soft tissues associated with the kinetic chain is necessary to determine the root cause of foot pain.

If you are having foot pain, try focusing on gluteus medius exercise and gaining more motion in the hip area, within a short period of time you will notice if this is helping. Do not give up on fixing the issue and getting fully active again, come see us at Southern Oregon Sports and Spine if you need assistance with your foot pain.

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