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  • Writer's pictureArianne Gosselin

Plantar Fasciitis Seen Differently

For those who have experienced plantar fasciitis, you know what it’s like. It’s painful, it decreases your quality of life, and it may seem like nothing helps. The osteopathic philosophy considers things differently than other therapeutic modalities by looking not only at the anatomy of the foot but at the mechanical connections of the plantar fascia. Doing this allows us to find the root cause of the problem, and it’s usually not the foot!

First off, let’s take a look at the area that is in pain. The plantar fascia has superficial and deep components. The superficial component covers the muscles that are on the inside and outside of your foot and connects to the deep layer of fascia in your calf. The deep component of the plantar fascia, known as the plantar aponeurosis, is on the bottom of your foot. It covers and fuses with a muscle called the flexor digitorum brevis, causing muscle and fascia to work as a single unit.

image taken from Memorix Anatomy by R. Hudak et al.

Based on these connections, we can see that the plantar fascia does not act alone. It influences and is influenced by the muscles that move your toes as well as the deep muscles of your calf. Now we can see the logic behind a treatment applied to the calf intending to treat plantar fasciitis. But it doesn’t stop there!

As we continue to look at the mechanical connections, it’s easy to see how a problem in the calf muscles can be connected to a problem in the knee. However, seeing as the muscles of the thigh also cross the knee, they can be involved in this pattern as well. We can continue to trace this domino effect all the way up to the head, but the point here is that the body works as a single unit of function. This is why the root cause of plantar fasciitis could come from the pelvis just like it could come from the neck.

A trained Osteopathic Practitioner knows how to assess the entire body holistically in order to find the root cause of the problem. Once the root cause is identified, the symptom goes away because the function is restored. This is what osteopathy is all about, why not give it a try?

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