Why Plantar Fasciitis Treatments Fail – Part 2

What Really What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

The cause of nearly all muscle and joint related problems is a specific muscle or muscle groups not doing their job.

This means that any of the traditional methods of limiting motion of the foot actually make the problem worse. Wearing shoes, splints, braces or any motion restrictive/supportive devices actually weakens the musculature in the foot and calf and further perpetuates the problem.

The tricky part is that there are many reasons why a muscle can be in a state of dysfunction. In the case of plantar fasciitis, most muscular dysfunction that ends up causing plantar fasciitis, begin in the calf muscles. This can also be a common mistake. Many times practitioners treat the bottom of the feet or directly where the pain is on the heel or bottom of the foot, but if the problem lies in the calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus and tibialis posterior) then it will not fix the problem in the long run. When treating patients, I most commonly find the problem lies in the posterior tibialis muscle.

The posterior tibialis muscle can dysfunction due to a muscle injury, a muscle imbalance, a hormone imbalance and especially due to excess STRESS. This makes the posterior tibialis a common culprit in many ankle and foot disorders. It’s important that traditional medicine doesn’t recognize adrenal fatigue as a condition and thus it can only be addressed by seeing a more natural oriented practitioner.

As you can see, not everyone is properly suited to treat plantar fasciitis. If you have been to a doctor before with limited relief, finding someone that can look at other factors such as hormone balancing, adrenal stress disorders or muscle/soft tissue work can often provide the missing piece to treat your plantar fasciitis. Not every case of plantar fasciitis is the same. In other words if you have plantar fasciitis due to an underlying hormonal imbalance, then seeing a therapist that doesn’t address hormones won’t usually provide lasting results, while if you have muscle injury related fasciitis seeing a doctor that doesn’t address the muscular component or focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet may not provide lasting results.

I recommend finding a qualified Applied Kinesiologist in your area to help you. (If you need a referral, shoot me an email and I can help you look.)

Sources of Adrenal Stress

Common sources of adrenal stress include poor sleeping habits and a busy lifestyle, but the most potent stressor of the adrenal glands is histamine. Histamine is the main chemical that causes redness, swelling and itching in allergic reactions. As the adrenal glands help regulate blood sugar levels, too much dietary sugar intake can also stress the adrenal glands, so diet must be corrected. In athletes, especially runners, overtraining of either too much or too little aerobic activity can deplete the adrenals. For many, difficult relationships or emotional stress can also create enough stress in the body to create adrenal related disorders and thus create dysfunction of the posterior tibialis.

Whatever the cause of adrenal stress is, adrenal health must be checked and restored if need be, before plantar fasciitis will stay away permanently. If you look at all of the possible reasons why you could have stress, you can see why taking a holistic approach really shines for muscle and joint conditions.

Posterior Tibialis Location

The posterior tibialis muscle lies on the back of your calf in between the two major calf muscles. You can access the muscle by pushing down the middle of the back of the calf (about mid way up until you get to the knee) or by going on the inside of your lower leg and pushing right behind the shin bone. In healthy individuals this muscle is no more tender than any other muscle, but often times in those with dysfunction it can be extremely tender and painful.

Feeling through the whole posterior tibialis muscle and looking for tight or tender areas is the best way to treat your own plantar fasciitis.

Endurance Athletes, Runners and Weekend Warriors

If you are in this group of people, plantar fasciitis is super common. The reason why is because most often people are training and especially competing above their current fitness level. I won’t go into much detail in this post, but if you are running regularly, you should be using a heart rate monitor to make sure you are getting adequate aerobic training. I highly recommend using the Maffetone Method in order to assess your aerobic capacity. Dr. Steve Gangemi wrote a simple write up describing how to use the Maffetone Method that you can read here. (Unless you are an elite athlete you can ignore the other techniques on that post.

Conclusion

  1. Don’t wear orthotics, braces, splints or shoes and don’t stretch the calf muscles.
  2. Fix the stressors in your life including diet, sleep, toxins and allergies
  3. Search thoroughly through the calf muscles in order to find trigger points or muscle injuries that need to be rubbed out.
  4. Strengthen the foot muscles that support your arch by going barefoot and wearing minimalist zero drop shoes as often as possible.
  5. If you still have pain after giving these a good try for 4 weeks, find a qualified Applied Kinesiologist to help you.

Plantar fasciitis fails because we most often hide or avoid the root problems. For most people this should not be a life long debilitating condition and many cases you can treat at home.