Plantar Fasciitis Can Stop You in Your Tracks
You may have recently heard that Tiger Woods dropped out of his latest tournament due to a painful condition known as plantar fasciitis. I love talking about plantar fasciitis (as evidenced by my previous posts discussing it here and here). The reason is because I have had great success with treating this condition in our office. First, let's discuss what it is, then what other practitioners are doing wrong, and how our unique approach has found success for our patients.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is characterized by a sharp pain in the foot, typically at the base of the heel, along the inside of the arch, and/or the ball of the foot. Pain is often worst first thing in the morning, such as when stepping out of bed. Prolonged standing or walking can worsen symptoms. Approximately 10% of the population will experience it, so it's more common than you think.
Another common factor is it is more common in people who suddenly have a change in activity levels, such as a runner preparing for a marathon or someone beginning an exercise program for the first time. Long periods of inactivity, such as sitting at a desk for a long period of time can trigger it. If you've had it before, you're at a higher risk of developing it again. However, there are definitely things you can do to lessen your chances.
What Can I Do If I Have Plantar Fasciitis?
First, avoid some of the most common triggers. Don't walk on hard surfaces barefoot. Get a pair of house slippers if you have hard floors in your home. If you're a runner, look into getting a pair of orthotic shoe inserts. Off the rack is fine, you don't need expensive custom ones! Studies show they don't perform better than the generic, as long as you get the right type for your foot shape. Also, replace your running shoes every 300 miles or 6 months. Make sure they are supportive and not too soft and cushioned.
When patients seek treatment for this condition, I see a common problem. Too many practitioners, whether it be physical therapists, chiropractors, or podiatrists, target the wrong area. Even though you feel pain on the heel and bottom of the foot, the cause of the tension is in the calf and lower leg muscles. The tension is affecting the Achilles tendon, which tightens the tissues on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot is not very elastic. Trying to stretch this area is often painful and ineffective at resolving symptoms. Instead, try the following exercises for lengthening the muscles in the calf.
Our Unique Treatment Approach
For those of you who cannot shake the symptoms and need treatment of plantar fasciitis, our unique approach has helped hundreds of people with this condition. Our soft tissue techniques combined with a rehabilitative exercise program have been instrumental in resolving this condition for all sorts of people. We use Active Release Technique for releasing tight and tender muscles in the calf. Often this is accompanied by Graston Technique to break up any scar tissue that can formed in the area and increase blood flow. Then a short series of exercises helps rehabilitate the tissues into healthy, strong fibers with improved elasticity.
From deskworkers to triathletes alike, people are surprised at how effective our treatment style is at getting rid of their symptoms for good. If you want help with your plantar fasciitis, book an appointment and stop struggling!