Plantar Fasciitis, Common Misconceptions

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Plantar FasciitisPlantar fasciitis, sometimes referred to as plantar fasciosis is a painful condition about the heel.

The plantar fascia is a soft tissue structure that originates at the bottom of the heel and runs to the base of the toes. It is a thick fibrous or leather-like band running across the bottom of your foot. It sometimes is referred to as a tendon or ligament. However, since it has no muscles attached to it it’s not a tendon, nor is it a ligament, which holds bones together.

When you walk or run the fascia tightens up like a leather belt assisting the heel bone motion that affects positioning of the foot. Many types of imbalances in the feet, and even the lower extremity, may cause the fascia to have excessive tension on it when you stand, walk or run. Sometimes, even shoes can cause it to have excessive tension on it if they are not ideally fitted. For example, too short of a shoe can increase the tension on the plantar fascia.

Over time, excess tension on the fascia can cause it to become inflamed, usually at the heel bone area or sometimes along the entire structure along the bottom of the foot itself. Typical symptoms include pain after long periods of standing or when standing after periods of rest. When you get off your feet, rest or sleep, the fascia may become inflamed as it is trying to heal itself. Inflammation is a first stage of healing.  The problem is that resting just overnight or sitting down for a short while is not long enough for it to completely heal. Typically, you are able to “Walk It Off” in a short period of time. However, you are exerting excess tension and tearing on it, which in turn causes repeated inflammation and pain. If not treated, the fascia may degenerate and become chronically painful

You may have heard or read that there are many treatments for it, but there does not seem to be one specific treatment that is 100% effective in all cases. I believe the reason lies within two areas. One, due to some systemic condition, you may not have the capability to thoroughly heal.  Two, the mechanics of locomotion have not been adequately addressed. Both can be very complicated in determining how to adequately address. However, treatments, in my opinion should focus on addressing the inflammation AND the cause of the problem itself, which is the mechanics of locomotion.

Stop suffering with plantar fasciitis. Contact ArchMasters for a complimentary consultation TODAY.  ArchMasters- Orthotics, Shoes & Footcare, LLC, a shoe store and a whole lot more!

Plantar Fasciitis: Certain Misconceptions and Treatments

Listed below are some common misconceptions and treatments frequently used for heel pain

  • You have a heel spur: In most cases the heel spur is irrelevant. Many people who have huge heel spurs have never experienced pain
  • Heel spurs are caused by plantar fasciitis: There is no definite cause, however it may be a result of chronic long-term inflammation in the area.
  • The heel spur is the body trying to elongate the heel bone so the fascia is not pulled so much: This was proven wrong many years ago; however, you can still read it on the internet.  The fascia actually goes around the spur and attaches toward the bottom back of the heel, not at the spur
  • I was given an injection and the doctor told me it would dissolve the heel spur: Although you may not experience any more pain, it is a result of reduced inflammation; the heel spur is still there
  • A heel pad will help: This may or may not help. Often, in many of the cases I’ve seen, the fasciitis is the result of imbalances in the front of the feet in which a heel pad will not help. Also, what type of pad do you get? There are many types of heel pads.  Different imbalances require different treatment pads, etc
  • You need to stretch the plantar fascia, it contracts at night:  If over-stretching tension of the fascia is the problem, additional stretching won’t relieve the pain. This fibrous band actually does not stretch; at least I am not aware of any proof of such. Surgically, when you feel it, it is like a thick leather belt. However sometimes it may feel better to do so because when you stretch, you may actually be compressing the inflammatory fluid away from the area, which reduces pain. You may also be stretching the Achilles tendon, which can be a factor in causing the fasciitis. Pain in the morning is not from a sudden stretch on a contracted fascia, it is sudden compression on an inflamed area.
  • Wear a night splint:  If you can tolerate sleeping in it, it may help IF your Achilles tendon is tight. Again, it doesn’t stretch the fascia; it stretches the Achilles tendon AND compresses the fascia against the heel bone so not as much inflammatory fluid builds up and thus less pain (my theory). I believe stretching in the morning helps stretch the Achilles tendon and reduces and moves the inflammatory fluid buildup away from the sore fascia
  • Get a good shoe or insert:  What type? There are many different types for many different reasons and types of feet.  What may have been “Good” for one person may not be for another
  • I tried orthotics, they didn’t help: Orthotics are not alike. Even when made with the same materials, two different people who cast or fabricate them use different techniques and positions
  • It will take forever to heal, but it will go away: Although there are some cases that just don’t seem to heal, it is rare for any type of surgical procedure or shock wave therapy to be needed. Usually, if it is not healing, the imbalances in the lower extremity where not adequately addressed. You should not have to suffer for 5, 2, or even 1 year as I hear frequently on first visits. Many cases can be resolved sometimes immediately with controlled taping followed by physical therapy and functional custom molded RX orthotics and the ideal shoe to match

Stop suffering with plantar fasciitis! ArchMasters can help give you a logical, reasonably quick treatment plan to ease and stop your pain. Contact us for a complimentary consultation TODAY. ArchMasters- Orthotics, Shoes & Footcare, LLC, a shoe store and a whole lot more!