Written by: Dr. Matthew Alvord, DC, DPhCS
Things are sometimes not what they seem. For example, plantar fascia is the normal tissue covering the arch of your feet. When it inflames, the medical field puts an “itis” at the end of the name and calls it “plantar fasciitis”. The problem is that the new name doesn’t address at all why the old name all of a sudden needed a new one.
It should seem that if a body part has a diagnosis, that part of the body would be the problem itself but this is often not the case. Just because someone has plantar fasciitis doesn’t mean the problem is with the plantar fascia itself. In reality, that inflamed tissue is doing exactly what it needs to do to protect and heal itself from the demands required of it.
The burning question about burning in your feet should be WHY. Why that body part? Why is it inflamed? If the body is always intelligent and it takes more energy to inflame than to not, why would the body be forced to defend and heal itself, especially if there wasn’t an obvious injury?
As it turns out, no body part is an island unto itself. Every part of the body is connected with every other part physically, chemically and neurologically. That last part means the nervous system connects your entire body together, from your brain to your big toes and back again. Well, guess what is between your brain and big toes? Everything is affected, including your spine and legs, all the way down to the plantar fascia on the bottom of your feet.
Ultimately, that area of your body is connected with the function of everything else up to the top of your head and it means the cause of plantar fasciitis is really somewhere other than the foot. From experience, those symptoms are often a problem with the great connector between the brain and the body: Your spine.
This is true for many conditions and symptoms. Interference in your spine will cause all kinds of dysfunction throughout your entire body, often resulting in plantar fasciitis.
Here is a common scenario: The spine misaligns, usually with common demands and forces pushing it around. The bones that normally protect the delicate spinal nerves now can actually work against it by causing interference to your brain. In turn, your brain must intelligently deal with the situation by specifically twisting your body so it can compensate for the interference. If it didn’t, you would most likely fall over on your next step or have even worse dysfunction than you already have.
As your spine twists, so go your legs. Your lower extremities have to contort to compensate for your twisted spine higher up. One hip typically shifts higher on one side, causing your weight distribution to shift abnormally more to one side as well. This also forces one leg to turn out and the other leg to turn in, and it happens all the way down to your feet. It affects your heels, the balls of your feet and the tissue holding them together: Your Plantar Fascia.
You can now see how easy it is to have a misaligned spine actually cause or complicate what would otherwise look like just a foot problem. The real misleading thing is that often people with plantar fasciitis will have only foot pain and the rest of them will feel fine.
Just remember that many people with a heart problem only have arm pain yet their chest feels fine. Since you cant feel the actual spinal nerve interference and only chiropractors are specifically trained to find it, it is vitally important to get your spine checked to make sure the foot pain below you isn’t coming from your spine behind you.