Ever feel like you are walking with a nail in your heel? There’s a chance you have plantar fasciitis which is the most common form of heel pain. It affects more than 1 million Americans every year with 10% of us, myself included, suffering from it sometime in our lives. It can be more common amongst athletes and has been found to affect up to 22% of runners. So what is it and what can be done to fix it?
Plantar fasciitis is a problem that affects the plantar fascia, a band of soft tissue that runs along the bottom of our feet. Its role is to support and stabilize our feet when we stand and walk. Problems can happen for a number of reasons including overloading our feet, wearing bad shoes or having structural problems such as pronated feet or tight calf muscles. When the fascia is overstressed, micro tears occur causing inflammation and pain. When not looked after the repetitive stress will eventually cause the fascia to degenerate, become weakened and in the more severe cases, tear.
The good news is that research has found 80-90% of people respond well to conservative treatment. Most people look to getting injections and medication which can help but many people do not know there are other treatments that can be helpful, leaving them walking around in pain for years. I hear this all the time.
Many people try heat/ice, stretching and exercise which is important but there is so much more to treatment than exercise. Treatment should focus on reducing the swelling, loosening tightness in the calf and foot and stimulating the scar tissue that develops to heal. This can be best done with treatment techniques such as Iontophoresis which is good for the inflammation, Soft tissue and Myofascial Releases which can be good for the tissue tightness and Myofascial Decompression which can help stimulate healing.
The key however to successful treatment is in keeping stress off the healing tissue. As most of us need to walk, this can be difficult and all the good work can be undone when you get back to real life. One of the best ways to unload the plantar fascia is through arch support taping. We are able to support your arch with tape unloading the stress on the plantar fascia. This allows you to be able to walk around without undoing all the work put into helping it heal. Once the pain settles, custom arch supports can be good at keeping the stress off.
At FYZCIAL Therapy and Balance Centers, we are experts in treating heel pain. Even if you have tried physical therapy before without relief, we may be able to help. Our name is spelled different because we are different. For more information or to schedule an appointment to help with your pain, call us at 570-501-1808. You can also learn more through our website at hazletonpt.com or through our daily TV show “Wellness Through FYZICAL Therapy” on WYLN.