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Dance Well, Live Well

Wellness blog for dance medicine, holistic health, and more

Nov 9, 2021

So you want to know more about plantar fasciitis…

So you want to know more about plantar fasciitis…

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the tissue sheet that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. In terms of feeling, people describe it in many different ways including:

Throbbing arch pain
Painful pulling with walking
Shooting pain with the first steps of the morning
Ripping pains with walking or activity

While this explanation is simple enough, it doesn’t tell us WHY plantar fasciitis happens in the first place.
The ankle and foot are highly reactive regions in the body.  This means that the way the ankle and foot feels and performs is always in reaction to how other parts of the body area feeling and performing.  At AZDM, we consider the ankle and foot to be highly reactive to the entire core system, meaning the muscles and other organs in the area.  

What does this have to do with plantar fasciitis?? Biomechanically speaking, our muscles begin to fire differently when there’s dysfunction elsewhere in the body, which can lead to tendon and ligament tightness, inflammation, pain, and difficulty with walking and other activities, which are the common symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

So, what exactly might be going on somewhere else in the body to cause our ankle and foot to react this way??  Keep in mind that inflammation is a reaction that happens in our body for a reason. Oftentimes, inflammation begins and persists because of dysfunction in another body system. 

In the case of plantar fasciitis, the #1 system that is typically found to be dysfunctional and result in plantar fasciitis is the digestive system. Tight fascia (connective tissue) in the digestive system can pull on the hips, causing the muscles in the hip, knee and ankle to fire and work ineffectively. Over time, this can lead to inflammation and pain in the foot/ankle. This tight digestive fascia can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common reasons tend to be constipation, decreased nutrient absorption, and imbalance of gut bacteria. 

Who would have thought that plantar fasciitis can actually be linked to
how your belly area is feeling and functioning??
(we did!)

This link between plantar fasciitis and body system function might explain why traditional physical therapy and/or orthotics don’t always help with the pain. This is because those treatments address the musculoskeletal system, when the actual solution may be in a different body system all together. 

And guess what…

Dysfunction in other body systems doesn’t always present as plantar fasciitis in the ankle and foot. Here are some other super common ankle/foot issues that can be related to dysfunction in other body systems (especially in the digestive system!): 

Achilles tendonitis

Stress fractures

Ankle sprains 

Flat feet / fallen arches 

Any other “itis” (tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, etc.)

So, what can you do about it??

1. Review your symptoms. Aside from plantar fasciitis or other foot/ankle injuries, do you have a history of unresolved digestive issues (bloating, abdominal cramps, acid reflux, etc.)? Do you have food allergies, or are there specific foods that you know your body can’t handle? Do you have a history of emotional/mental health symptoms? If so, these symptoms are indicators that your foot/ankle pain may very well be related to dysfunction in your digestive system. 

2. Know that we understand your pain. If you’ve tried traditional treatment for your foot/ankle pain in the past (i.e., physical therapy, orthotics) and it hasn’t helped, know that you are not alone. We see many clients with persistent pain that won’t go away, so we understand your frustration. But once we address the ultimate source of why the pain started in the first place, we promise you that you don’t have to live in pain (or with orthotics) forever. 

3. Message us for a chat. If what we’ve discussed above applies to you, or if you know someone who is looking for help with their foot/ankle pain or injury, contact us HERE.  We can help.  

As always, know that we can help and we are here for you. 
Our mission is to help everyone who reaches out to us live their most amazing life. 
But we can't help, if you don't let us know you need us.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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AZ Dance Medicine Specialists | 602.730.4159