What is it?
One of the most common conditions regarding foot pain, is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is usually characterized by a burning sensation in the bottom of the foot closer to the calcaneus (heel), and it is inflammation in the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot connects the heel to the toes. One common cause for plantar fasciitis is falling arches along the medial edge of the foot, and this falling of the medial arch can commonly be caused by inhibition of the tibialis anterior which connects to the medial arch itself. However, the most common cause for plantar fasciitis is not in the foot itself, it is usually in the opposing foot.
How can something on one foot make such a substantial issue on the other? Aren’t they separated? Well, yes, they are, but the body works as a holistic system rather than asymmetrically. It is very common that plantar fasciitis is a result of an undiagnosed issue in the opposing leg. Not only can an issue at the ankle travel up and manipulate the hip, and vice versa, but it can also cause more strain on the opposing limb. The body will naturally compensate to its preferred side, the side without pain, to maintain the most comfort possible; however, this quite often results in something happening to the preferred side, such as plantar fasciitis.
How do you fix it?
The best method of fixing plantar fasciitis is finding the issue in the other leg that is causing the additional stress on the affected foot. There is often a primary and secondary pathology to an injury, and there are scenarios where only the secondary pathology is treated, allowing the injury to return. With plantar fasciitis there are multiple issues that need to be addressed, the primary pathology being the other leg. The first issue that must be addressed in what inhibition is causing the loss of integrity in the apparently non-injured limb, once that inhibition has been identified and corrected, you can then identify the secondary pathology, the inflammation within the painful foot.
The inflammation in the foot can be address in multiple ways, one method of flushing out local inflammation is teaching a patient a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique. An SMR technique often consists of a foam roller, or in this case due to the size of the affected area, a lacrosse ball. The patient will place the lacrosse ball under the foot and apply pressure onto it, effectively moving the ball in the direction of the fibers to release some of the fluid build-up.
The second method of fixing the affected area is to strengthen the muscles associated with the medial arch, the tibialis anterior (TA). By eliminating the inhibition in the TA, you can regain the integrity of the medial arch, you can shorten the length of the connective tissue under the foot, and allow the tissues to maintain a more neutral and relaxed position.