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More Plantar Faciitus Treatment ideas

Posted Nov 28 2011 4:44am

My foot isn’t getting any better.  It’s so troubling.  It’s slowing me down and the first half mile has me hobbling.  After it warms up it doesn’t hurt as much and I can make it through my run.  I just keep thinking that if I run a bit more it will loosen up and get better.  Perhaps that is wishful thinking.

An Internet friend of mine is going through a case of PF too.  He forwarded me some information from his doctor.  I’m going to post it here so I can remember it.

Plantar fasciitis is heel pain caused by inflammation, and is extremely hard to get better, if you do not follow the directions below.

Treatment falls into 3 categories 1. Physical support of your arch. You may need to see a podiatrist to help with this, or your doctor may refer you to one.
2. Gradual stretching of both calf and Achilles tendon and also the ligament of the foot called plantar fascia.
3. Anti-inflammatory treatment in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections or ice.

Physical support of your arch is largely a 2 part problem 1 -the specific qualities of your shoes, and
2 – internal support devices.
Proper shoes include 1 -sturdy heel counter, 2 – stiff shank of the shoe and 3 – laces to increase the arch support of your foot. Without these three things, your foot and body weight are free to move and pull and stretch the damaged ligament. This causes your pain problem.

Stretching is another treatment that usually goes a long way to help decrease long time of pain / disability associated with fasciitis. The tight heel cord (Achilles tendon) directly makes your foot condition worse. The term equinus is used to describe the tight calf & Achilles combination which pulls up on the back of your heel–thereby pulling down on the arch and stretching repeatedly on the injured ligament.

Proper stretching of the both calf – Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia – do this against resistance (brace your toes and the front of your foot against something, and press your heel down, (like stretching out a “charlie horse,”), hold for a count of 10, relax, then stretch again (NO bouncing) will gradually help reduce this disabling force of the Achilles on your plantar fascia / ligament. This should be done throughout the day, while you are doing your various activities, phone calls, brushing teeth, etc.

Stretching the injured ligament (again–gradually) also helps. Simply, just roll a wine bottle from heel to toe 5 for minutes every morning and every evening. This really helps reduce the pain that you get after periods of rest, when you first put weight on the injured / painful foot (that pain’s called “post static dyskinesia”).

Last, but far from least is anti-inflammatory treatment. Ice massage has been found to be extremely useful with this aggravating and disabling symptom of pain. Massage of ice directly to the affected area for 15-20 minute duration, repeated 2-3 times daily will have equal benefit to injections of medications – without the associated risks of these other measures. A styrofoam or paper cup, filled to the brim with water and frozen, will work well and enable you to hold the ice easily while performing the massage at the area of maximal pain.

The length of time of the massage is important. After the initial pain from the intense cold goes away, usually in about 5 minutes, the cold will penetrate deep to the level of the inflamed tissue and lower the level of pain.

A different means of Physical Therapy you can do at home is a special way of soaking the painful foot: Put 2 pots of water, or buckets – deep enough to just cover the foot well – side by side. One should be as hot as you can safely stand it without burning your skin. The other, cold enough for ice to float. Keep them this way by adding hot water from the tap, or from a teakettle to the hot one, and ice to the other as needed. It doesn’t matter which one you start or finish in. Change directly from one, straight into the other one, every 5 minutes, for 30-60 minutes, once or twice a day. Continue this for as many weeks as you need, or as you want, until affected area is comfortable again.

All these measures help the process–healing is gradual and can take months to resolve–especially if you don’t keep up very well with the treatment program. More aggressive and expensive treatment may be required. Only rarely is surgery needed.

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