Archive for October, 2012

Plantar Fasciitis: Heal Your Heel Pain

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Plantar Fasciitis (say “PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus”) is not a very well-known term, but is a very common foot dysfunction that typically manifests itself as heel pain. In my practice, located in downtown Salt Lake City Utah, I have treated this more than any other foot disorder. It seems to be most common in middle-aged people. However, it is also very common among young people who are on their feet a lot; namely, athletes and people who work in food or construction professions. Many people suffer with this condition and don’t even know it. They may just attribute their sore feet to the fact that they are on their feet all day and perhaps think there is nothing that can be done. But there is relief from the sometimes very intense pain of Plantar Fasciitis.

So how does this foot dysfunction affect the foot? It is a pretty simple concept. Basically, the plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated. Furthermore, this tissue can develop micro-tears and becomes very inflamed. The inflammation is the bodies’ way of trying to protect the injured area. Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk. Below, is an illustration of this ligament.

The pain and symptoms are usually very typical in each case that I have seen, which makes it easier for me to figure out what the problem is and how to treat it. My clients with Plantar Fasciitis will complain of heel pain mostly. Usually, the heel pain will be worse at night, which makes sense because they have often been on their feet all day. Complaints also include pain in the morning, more specifically tightness in the heel and Achilles Tendon. People report that when they take their first step out of bed in the morning, it takes 5-10 minutes before they can walk. The tightness can be so intense that is prevents them from putting pressure on their feet whatsoever.

Anatomically, if the heel is very tight, it also makes the Achilles Tendon tight which prevents efficient range of motion in the ankle. This is what makes it hard to walk in the morning. As I’ve mentioned many times in my previous blogs, the human body is an amazing machine that works as one functional unit. When one part of the body becomes tight, it affects the corresponding muscles, and so on. That is why it’s important to take care of imbalances and muscles that are not functioning correctly, as soon as possible.

Because these symptoms seem to be very much the same in all of my clients who suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, I have developed a useful protocol to heal this area of the foot, which includes stripping the Achilles Tendon first. Then I proceed to work the Plantar Fascia itself. Below, the picture shows how the Achilles Tendon is very much connected to, and affected by, to the Plantar Fascia.

But more important than the bodywork that I offer for Plantar Fasciitis, are the steps that YOU can take to heal your feet of this pain. Because of the inflammation associated with this dysfunction, ice is always important. I recommend to my clients, icing the feet for 15-20 minutes each night after being on their feet all day. And the most important remedy that I can suggest, simply is rest. The micro-tears and inflammation that occur with Plantar Fasciitis are a sign that you are on your feet much more than you should be. So, for example, say that you are a server that is on your feet for the majority of your shift serving food to customers. When you come home from work, ice your feet and try to stay off of them for the rest of the evening. This can be inconvenient for some, but also totally necessary.

If you or anyone you know, suffers from this type of pain, please take the steps to start healing your feet. Plantar Fasciitis can worsen very quickly, and eventually make walking very painful. This can detrimentally affect your quality of life. If you are in Salt Lake City, Utah, and you need a treatment to heal your pain and prevent further damage, call me today. I can be reached at 801.349.3934 and am taking appointments Monday – Saturday. Call today to start the healing process.