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Plantar Fasciitis- The Breakdown

What is plantar fasciitis?

Do you have heel pain first thing in the morning? Do you have pain on the bottom of your foot or heel that is worsened by walking and running? Do you have less ankle motion?

If so - you may have plantar fasciitis, a common source of foot pain. While it doesn’t require an urgent care visit - addressing and solving the cause of plantar fasciitis is urgent as it can affect both the quality of your movement as well as create additional problems with ankles, knees, hips and lower back.

In medical terms plantar fasciitis is caused by repetitive micro traumas to the connective tissue layer on the bottom of the foot. In layman’s terms it is caused by improper movement patterns and weakening of the foot and ankle muscles due to sitting or sedentary lifestyle.

We see a LOT of patients with long term plantar fasciitis. There is a subconscious fear around labels of diagnoses so this blog post serves as an educational tool to understand the human body and biomechanics better to give our community tools to live better. The majority of cases last for over one year even if treated with palliative care. There is a lot you can do about resolving the root cause of foot and ankle dysfunction… So let’s dive in!

But why?:

The root of plantar fascial dysfunction is weak foot muscles. The small muscles in the foot work together to absorb impact of weight bearing activities in conjunction with the plantar fascia.

When plantar fascial dysfunction is present, it is typically a result of the plantar fascia having to take on a shock absorbing role because of weakness in foot and ankle muscles. This leads to inflammation, pain, and tissue damage, or the sharp stabbing pain you feel first thing in the morning.

In addition to trying to reduce the localized inflammation, there are several other options that can help.

What can you do about it?

  • Dry needling: Studies suggest that when dry needling is added to a care plan of manual therapy and exercise outcomes were better compared to no dry needling [1].

  • Footwear fitting: Finding shoes that support shock absorption, proper biomechanics, and activation of the muscles of the feet help plantar fasciitis outcomes. Tighter shoes can even affect blood flow and thus intrinsic foot muscle function [2, 3].

  • Foot and ankle strengthening exercises: You can do a LOT with a foam roller and a theraband. In order to create long term dysfunction intervention it is imperative to incorporate strengthening through the entire length of the calf muscles and activation of the foot and ankle muscles [4].

  • Chiropractic care and ankle joint mobility: Mobilization of the joints in the ankle, improve outcomes of plantar fasciitis compared to conventional interventions such as passive stretching [5].

Take homes:

A care team aligned with addressing the root cause of plantar fasciitis can speed up recovery and decrease symptoms faster. Catalyst’s care team provides chiropractic, dry needling, rehabilitative movement, and physical therapy. Our goal is to support you to feel better faster so you can get back to doing the important things in life. Please reach out to us with any questions or to schedule an appointment via phone at 262.361.0023 x 0


  1. Dunning, J., Butts, R., Henry, N., Mourad, F., Brannon, A., Rodriguez, H., Young, I., Arias-Buría, J. L., & Fernández-de-Las-Peñas, C. (2018). Electrical dry needling as an adjunct to exercise, manual therapy and ultrasound for plantar fasciitis: A multi-center randomized clinical trial. PloS one, 13(10), e0205405.

  2. Lewinson, R. T., & Stefanyshyn, D. J. (2019). Effect of a Commercially Available Footwear Insole on Biomechanical Variables Associated With Common Running Injuries. Clinical journal of sport medicine : official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine, 29(4), 341–343.

  3. Jacobs, J. L., Ridge, S. T., Bruening, D. A., Brewerton, K. A., Gifford, J. R., Hoopes, D. M., & Johnson, A. W. (2019). Passive hallux adduction decreases lateral plantar artery blood flow: a preliminary study of the potential influence of narrow toe box shoes. Journal of foot and ankle research, 12, 50.

  4. Human locomotion by Dr. Thomas Michaud

  5. Kashif, M., Albalwi, A., Alharbi, A., Iram, H., & Manzoor, N. (2021). Comparison of subtalar mobilisation with conventional physiotherapy treatment for the management of plantar fasciitis. JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 71(12), 2705–2709.

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