Let’s Talk About Foot Pain – by Dr. Keltie Bartlett

Let’s talk about foot pain. Whether you know the feeling of stubbing your toe or fighting off blisters while breaking in new running shoes, you know feet can be sensitive.  Foot dysfunction will affect the entire lower body, so the solution will not lie solely with the foot. Feet play a large role in stabilizing movement and keeping proper alignment. When the foot cannot withstand its responsibilities, you can expect a collapse of the knees or shifting at the hips and back. Conversely, if movement is stiff elsewhere the feet need to compensate for it.

The number one diagnosis for foot and heel pain is Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis pain will be on the bottom of your foot, at the front of the heel in the strong flat piece of connective tissue that supports the underside of your foot. It is likely warm, swollen, and tender to touch. Weeks or months of increased tension in this part of the foot trigger a healing process in an attempt to control these new stresses. Plantar Fasciitis can linger after the inflammation has faded from the thickening that shortens this part of your foot.

Would you know what to do if your first step out of bed this morning caused you searing heel pain? What would you do if a week went by and nothing had changed? What if you followed every recommendation, but things continued to get worse? If you have a pain in your heel that doesn’t go away despite your best efforts to fix it, the problem may not be Plantar Fasciitis at all, you may have something called Fat Pad Syndrome.

I know what you are thinking, that’s a flashy name, why haven’t I heard of it? Simply, some practitioners were never informed about it. Fat Pad Syndrome may resolve on its own, from avoiding certain activities, cushioned insoles can also provide some relief. If your Fat Pad Syndrome gets better, your original diagnosis of Plantar Fasciitis may never need addressing. Chronic Plantar Fasciitis may often be paired with or if fact be Fat Pad Syndrome. Fat Pad syndrome is a condition that will benefit from a full assessment to determine the underlying cause. Fat Pad Syndrome is a problem with the natural cushion that supports the heel bone up and away from the floor. Pain with Fat Pad Syndrome is most common in the center of the heel on the plantar side, but will also be tender along the cup of the heel.

Now that you know a little bit more about these two conditions, the good news is there are solutions. As a Chiropractor, I will look at more than just your feet. Joint health, muscle flexibility and strength are also important factors when learning why your foot was under such stress in the first place. Every body region is controlled by and experiences our world through the nervous system, so you can expect a full examination of your foot, ankle, knee, hip and back to fully understand your foot pain.