The Truth About Plantar Fasciitis

KT Tape provider and Airrosti clinician Dr. Billy Kuykendall, DC explains the causes, symptoms, and best treatment practices for Plantar Fasciitis, with a specific focus on how KT Tape works to alleviate pain and enhance the healing process.   What Are Common Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis? Plantar fasciitis is a common condition in athletes and non-athletes alike, affecting approximately two million Americans each year. This condition is characterized by medial or midline heel pain in the instep and ranges from sharp, achy and burning, to stabbing. It is usually worst in the mornings on the first few steps and improves with activity, although prolonged activity like standing can also provoke pain.   What Causes Plantar Fasciitis? In athletes, plantar pain is most commonly caused by sudden changes in the intensity, volume, or modality of the training program, or changes in the training surface or footwear. In non-athletes, the most common root of plantar pain lies within the level of conditioning of the patient. Increased weight, abrupt increases in physical activity, and insufficient conditioning for desired activity are all factors to be considered and may lengthen the overall treatment plan due to the chronic and degenerative nature of this condition. Athletes of all levels can typically look at the appearance of plantar pain as a symptom of biomechanical dysfunction in the lower limb. This means that other problem areas along the same functional chain must be assessed and accounted for to fix the problem. Reducing the mechanical stress on the plantar fascia may also include addressing previous injuries to and tension imbalances around the ankle, knee, hips, and low back.  Current thinking suggests that the problem is more complex than simply an inflamed site of origin for the plantar aponeurosis, the central portion of the plantar fascia (Plantar Aponeurosis). Spasms deeper in the foot, along with tension imbalances between the posterior and anterior calf muscles, are both common causes. The resulting tension imbalance in the foot and calf increases fatigue, stress, and strain on the soft tissues and joints and must be addressed for the prevention of pain recurrence.  What Are Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis? Manual therapy, KT Taping, arch supports, and gait training are all effective ways of managing this condition. Self management includes ice therapy after activity, stretching, and myofascial release tools like foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and sticks. Experienced athletes, especially runners, can always benefit from working on their overall mobility between races with strength and flexibility training. The same goes for the less conditioned patient with a higher percentage of time being spent on weight management, establishing proper mechanics, and core stability.  How Does KT Tape Work for Plantar Fasciitis? KT Taping in particular has shown to dramatically reduce pain and prevent compensation injuries. The proprioceptive lift on the plantar fascia approximates the tissue and returns the affected anatomy to a more natural state. Studies support the theory that the surface sensation also appears to increase blood flow and therefore reduce inflammation. Whatever the mechanism of pain reduction, the decreased pain allows the athlete and non-athlete alike to avoid limping or other movements associated with pain compensation that often lead to additional problems in the biomechanical chain. Addressing the issue with KT Taping in combination with the above techniques is highly recommended.  For instructions on how to tape for Plantar Fasciitis, click here.  To find a KT Tape provider near you, visit our Clinic Locator. Billy Kuykendall DC, is an Airrosti Certified Provider practicing in Carrollton, TX. Dr. Kuykendall completed undergraduate studies in biology at Austin College before attending Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas. Careers in personal training and pharmaceutical sales allowed Dr. Kuykendall to develop a unique approach to healthcare while studying at Parker. He joined Airrosti due to its outcomes based diagnostic and treatment model based on correcting acute and chronic soft tissue injuries. He now lives in Dallas with his three children and enjoys Crossfit as well as Russian Kettlebell exercise programs.