Plantar fasciitis (pronounced "fash-ee-EYE-tus") is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes, and supports your arch. This condition affects over 2 million Americans and is typically characterized by intense stabbing pain in the heel - particularly first thing in the morning or after a period of activity. In many cases the pain decreases as the fascia warms up during the day but some sufferers (typically those with a chronic condition) are plagued all day with the pain.
The Plantar Fascia runs along the bottom of the foot, acting as your body's shock absorber by supporting the arch of the foot in carrying the body's weight.
The plantar fascia is thick, fiberous tissue that is not elastic. It originates at the heel bone (calcaneus) and fans out towards the base of the toes (metatarsal bones) and attaches to the bottom of them. It acts like a bow string to support the arch of the foot and absorbs the impact of walking.
Sometimes, when the impact is too great, tiny tears will begin to appear in the fascia. If the impact level continues unchanged, in time, these tears will increase in number, become larger and inflamed. The body repairs these tears in the fascia with scar tissue, which is less flexible than healthy tissue, and therefore leads to a cycle of re-injury and flare ups. Plantar fasciitis will become a chronic condition if left untreated.
Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
- A dull ache in the heel that can progress into a more acute pain.
- Significant pain with your first steps in the morning that may or may not subside.
- Pain that gets worse when standing or walking throughout the day.
- Inflammation of the bottom of the foot, especially near the heel.
- Pain when pulling toes back towards the shin.
Plantar Fasciitis Causes/Risk Factors
- Having flat feet or high arches.
- Wearing improper footwear and walking long distances.
- Carrying excess weight.
- Standing for long periods of time.
- Having bone spurs in the heel.
- Sudden changes in your level of activity.
- Doing high impact activities that involve repeated pressure or impact on the heels.
Conservative Home Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis
The trick with healing plantar fasciitis and beating it once and for all is getting the plantar fascia to heal quickly, with minimal scar tissue formation. Even with optimum healing, there is always less elasticity in a plantar fascia after an injury, which may cause the fascia to hurt during daily activities and exercise. However, if you heal your injury efficiently and quickly, your chance of re-injury later on is much lower than average.
Allowing your plantar fascia to rest is always recommended following injury. Avoid all activities that may have caused the injury or irritation and begin Cold Compress or Ice Pack treatments if there is swelling or inflammation. The plantar fascia is difficult to rest completely as it is essential for daily activities. During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your plantar fascia until your pain and inflammation settle.
Conservative Treatment Step 1: Reduce The Initial Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's natural response to an immediate soft tissue injury and is a normal part of the healing process - helping to reduce tissue infection in the early stages of injury. Swelling, pain, heat sensation, redness, and loss of function are the main symptoms experienced.
The combination of rest, topical pain relief cream and minor amounts of cold therapy is the gold standard in medicine for minimizing tissue damage and reducing inflammation after injury or activity. It serves as a critical bridge into the next phase of the healing process.
Conservative Treatment Step 2: Enhance Blood Flow to the Injured Plantar Ligament
Once the inflammation in your plantar fascia has been reduced, nourishing and strengthening the tissue in the plantar fascia and surrounding area is recommended.
The use of DTR Therapy will induce a heat effect, deep in your soft tissue, including the plantar fascia. When heat is applied, soft tissue will elongate, become more flexibile, and blood circultion will increase for a short term (during and after your treatment (Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition.
amazon.com link - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin). These benefits can be quite substantial in helping reduce risk of reinjury, while also boosting the ability of the body to heal this soft tissue injury.
The plantar fascia receives a limited blood supply and this greatly reduces its natural ability to heal itself. By treating your plantar fascia with Soft Tissue Regeneration Therapy via the Plantar T•Shellz Wrap®, you can increase your body's blood supply to the foot and increase your body's natural healing power. In addition, the fresh blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins that have built up from injured soft tissue.
Conservative Treatment Step 3: Recognize That Healing is a Process
With dedication, the right tools, and the right information - you will achieve your goal of a sustainable recovery. A combination approach of cold therapy, deep heat treatments, and functional movements will make it happen much more quickly. Healing takes a comprehensive approach and will differ from person to person.
If you have questions, we welcome you to call our office toll-free at 1-866-237-9608 (Continental US), or Internationally at +1-705-532-1671.
The best option we came across in our research to accomplish faster healing of soft tissue injuries in the plantar is the Plantar T•Shellz Wrap®. Use of this device results in a significant increase in blood flow to injured ligaments located in the underside of the foot- all in a non-invasive manner.
Pain and Anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be used if required to help manage your pain. However, these aren't recommended for long term use, as they can cause gastrointestinal difficulties and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The use of cold therapy and DTR Therapy in conjunction with NSAIDs can greatly improve the effect of this medication and can help to heal quicker.
The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results! With these simple therapies you will notice incredible results in your knee.
These conservative treatments are, in our opinion, highly effective, pain-free ways to treat plantar fasciitis at home. Recovery time can be lengthy depending on your situation so full commitment to treatment (6 weeks to 6 months or longer) is crucial. Avoidance of aggravating activities (any activity that involves repeated, impact of your heel on a hard surface such as jumping) and activity modification (pursuing less strenuous, weight bearing routines such as water exercises or biking) is recommended.
Remember: We recommend that you consult your doctor and/or physiotherapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they're right for you and your condition.