By Derek Benoit May 2021
Disclaimer: If it hurts, or you suspect an injury, talk to your doctor, then see a specialist if warranted. A proper diagnosis is very important! ALWAYS consult your physician before beginning ANY treatment!
The Plantar Fasciitis-Painfully Obvious
If you’ve had it, or are developing it, you KNOW it… that agonizing, constant pain at the fore of the heel, just aft of the arch of the foot. It hurts… A LOT. It’s hard to argue that it in of itself is life threatening, but it certainly can be debilitating, especially if it’s gone untreated for any length of time.
My Personal Plantar Fasciitis Fact Finding
Surprisingly, my physical therapy evaluation revealed that I did not have flat feet. As a matter of fact, I have prominent arches. The cause of most of my misery was a lack of mobility and flexibility in my feet and ankle joints, compounded by a postural issue. One can have flat feet that are strong and flexible and good posture, and not have issues with plantar fasciitis. Or one be like me, with prominent arches, but have a lack of flexibility with poor posture. The result is a jarring gait. Plantar fasciitis is often the result.
At most risk are those over age 40, overweight, and/or spending much time standing on hard surfaces, the risk goes up. The same could be said for long distance runners, dancers, and other athletes that put great stress on that band of fibrous tissue (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019).
Common Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Methods
The consensus for plantar fasciitis treatment seems to revolve around not only an intense stretching regimen at home, but also a strength component. The physical therapy route is more comprehensive but far from a substitute from consulting a podiatrist. For sure, the podiatrist can diagnose fine structural issues or injuries that either been contribute to or result from compensations for plantar fasciitis pain. For me, a key factor in relieving pain has been stretching of both the gastrocnemius (think “outside” part of calf) and soleus muscle (think inside part of the calf) (“Alex” 2020).
Simple Measures Usually Required
Unless the case is extraordinary (and trust me I feel horrible for you if it is) treatments like injections, surgery, or ultrasound are not required. For the most part, a mix of podiatrist-prescribed and fit orthotics (over-the-counter ones are available), physical therapy, and stretching aides are employed. These stretching devices are usually worn overnight (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2019).In addition to PT visits, initial treatments include home stretching, rolling a frozen bottle of water underfoot, deep massage, and anti-inflammatory medications. You will be strongly encouraged to change the type of shoes (athletic and otherwise) you wear based upon support needed.
Plantar Fasciitis, Footwear, and Posture
A lack of support for your type of feet is an obvious source of trouble. Too great of heel height is a lesser-known but important factor, as it can literally misalign your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. As a result, one experiences all kinds of issues including the heel-striking impact I feel (The Center for Morton’s Neuroma, 2020). In fact, should an evaluation reveal that posture is a factor in your plantar fasciitis, you can expect to be given exercises specifically for targeting these trouble areas. Don’t get lazy with the home exercises or you won’t see full relief (Dematas, 2020). Listen to your physical therapist!
You can read more about footwear and foot care here:
My Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Results
Fortunately for me, orthotics and physical therapy work well. Full disclosure: the PF evaluation took place before the final stages of my GI nightmare (follow the link below for a synopsis)
of the past six to eight months, and the self-destruction of my bowels by multiple ulcers. As I’ve healed, I’ve gone back to the prescribed PT exercises. In addition to ongoing stretching, I will be look for some new orthotics soon as I’ve purchased pairs of running shoes and cross trainers, to be used once fully cleared by surgeons.
So there you have it. If you’re experiencing serious, debilitating heel pain, see your doctor, and book an appointment with a podiatrist. If it is plantar fasciitis, book an appointment with a physical therapist, and get to work. You can reclaim your comfort and mobility!
(No last name given), “Alex.”(updated September 14, 2015). King of the Gym-Calf Anatomy: All About the Calf Muscles. https://www.kingofthegym.com/calf-anatomy/
Dematas, Dr. Kristina. (November 20th, 2020). 10 Easy Plantar Fasciitis Stretches and Treatment Exercises to Rehab Pain. Sporty Doctor. https://sportydoctor.com/plantar-fasciitis-stretches-exercises/
Mayo Clinic Staff. (December 11th, 2019). Patient Care and Health Information-Diseases and Conditions: Plantar Fasciitis. The Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354846