Some 26 million Americans are affected by Plantar Fasciitis…that’s 1 in 10 people! Plantar fasciitis is an incredibly painful foot condition that many people suffer from at some point in their lives. It is actually one of the most common causes of heel pain. Running along the bottom of our foot is a ligament called the plantar fascia, which connects the heel bone to the toes and is part of the shock absorbing apparatus in the foot. As such it gets placed under considerable strain, especially after prolonged exercise. When tears or inflammation along this ligament occur, heel pain often results, although pain can be experienced all along the bottom of the foot.
What is it?
Plantar Fasciitis (pronounced plan-tar-fash-ee-eye-tis) is a common cause of heel and foot pain in adults. “Plantar” means the bottom of the foot; “fascia” is a type of connective tissue, and “it is” means “inflammation”.
What are the symptoms?
The classic symptoms of plantar fasciitis include heel pain that is usually most severe first thing in the morning. This condition is characterized by inflammation at the insertion point of the plantar fascia on the heel bone. Plantar fascia is a layer of tough fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot and supports your arch. This is one of the longest and strongest ligaments in the body. As the plantar fascia pulls on the heel, your body will respond by laying down more bone in the area. This can be seen on an x-ray and is known as a heel spur.
1. Progressive flattening of the arches over time (primary reason).
2. Lack of flexibility in the calf muscles.
3. Changes in activity levels.
4. Over use
5. Weight Gain.
When your arch drops, the plantar fascia begins to tear away from its insertion at the heel. When this happens over a long period of time, it can overcome the body’s ability to repair itself.
How is it treated?
There are two main concepts in the treatment of plantar fasciitis: 1) the decrease of inflammation and 2) addressing the cause of the condition. Unfortunately, most Doctors today have little experience dealing with this condition and often resort to only the first approach of addressing the inflammation, leaving the cause unattended.
So, what can you do to relieve this incredibly painful foot conditions? Many people seek medical advice and often an x-ray can rule out a fracture or break, but it can also reveal a Heel Spur. Generally, the medical community will address this condition with rest, stretching, exercise, icing the foot, splints and even Cortisone injections. Left unattended, Plantar Fasciitis can linger for months and sometimes never gets better. If left alone, plantar fasciitis can take from 6 to 18 months to heal. This can be frustrating, interfere with your ability to work and other activities, and the problem most often comes back!
Conventional methods of treatment
1. Stretching and Exercise aimed at lengthening the plantar fascia in an attempt to lessen the pull on your heel.
2. Increasing the length of the calf muscles to compensate for tightness and excess arch pronation.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Agents like Ice and oral anti-in-flammatory medications.
4. Night Splints is a device worn at night to prevent the contraction of the plantar fascia and to maintain calf flexibility, meant to lesson the pain of the “first step in the morning”.
5. Corticosteroid Injections that involves the injection of a steroid directly into the heel and site of the inflammation. This is usually reserved for intractable or difficult cases, but often is prescribe as the first treatment. Your Doctor may limit your injections, since multiple steroid injections can cause the plantar fascia to rupture (tear), which can lead to a flat foot and chronic pain. Talk to your Doctor about risks for this treatment!
6. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy is a high or low frequency sound wave delivered to the area in an attempt to speed the healing process. Usually 1 to 3 treatments are required, and the outcomes of this treatment are unproven, so you should also discuss the risks with your doctor.
7. Surgical release of the plantar fascia may be recommended when all else has failed. Cutting the plantar fascia will lessen the pull on the heel, but may have long term consequences including further flattening of the arch (since the plantar fascia contributes about 30% to the stability of the arch). This treatment is the most radical and therefore should only be considered when non-surgical measures have failed. The most common complication of release surgery includes incomplete relief of pain, nerve damage and a permanent flat foot.
Methods 1 thru 6 addresses the Inflammation associated with Plantar Fasciitis and Method 7 addresses neither the Inflammation nor the cause.
How do I successfully treat Plantar Fasciitis?
The right custom Arch Support is often the best defense in the prevention of “Plantar Fasciitis” and the most reliable long-term cure for existing conditions. Custom Biomecanical Arch Supports, unlike typical custom orthotics, is designed to completely support the corrected arch of the foot, determined by a unique way of capturing your optimal foot position (MASS) or Maximum Arch Support System. A restored arch significantly reduces the daily pull on the plantar fascia by relaxing the “bowstring” function of the fascia. It is the only practical way to address both the symptoms AND the cause of your problem.
If you are tired of running from Doctor to Doctor without results and you want someone that is going to get to the TRUE CAUSE of your Plantar Fasciitis, then it is important that you get a scheduled appointment for a FREE FOOT EVALUATION with a “Certified Pedorthist”. We will show in detail how this condition originates and how you can correct it and prevent it from coming back!
Fill out this Appointment Form and submit it today! Your privacy is assured. Your email address will NEVER be rented, traded or sold. We guarantee your confidentiality. We are an Accredited Pedorthic Facility and a Licensed Pedorthist with the Arkansas State Board of Health.