About Plantar Faciitis Pain and Relief
Plantar fasciitis: “Inflammation of the plantar fascia (fasciitis), the “bowstring-like” tissue in the sole of the foot stretching from the heel to the front of the foot.” – The Medterms Dictionary.
Calcaneal Spur Syndrome The spur is a bony exostosis (well defined on x-ray) that originates at the inner weight-bearing tuberosity of the calcaneus and extends forward horizontally toward the plantar fascia. Spurs result probably from an excessive pulling or stretching of the calcaneal periosteum by the plantar fascia. Excessive stretching may result in pain along the inner border of the plantar fascia (plantar fasciitis). Disorders associated with an increase in plantar fascial tension may include flatfeet and contracted heel cords. The Merck Manual
The plantar fascia is a thick, broad, inelastic band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot. It is attached to the heel bone (calcaneus) and fans out to attach to the bottom of the metatarsal bones in the area of the ball of the foot. Because the normal foot has an arch, this tight band of tissue is at the base of the arch. In this position, the plantar fascia acts like a bowstring to maintain the arch of the foot. There is excessive strain on the plantar fascia with flat feet and high arches.
Plantar fasciitis is more common in middle-aged women and young male runners, and military personnel. Obesity is often a factor. A person of any age can be affected.
Do you have plantar fasciitis?
The classic sign of plantar fasciitis is heel pain with the first few steps in the morning or after periods of prolonged sitting. The pain is usually in the front and bottom of the heel, but can be anywhere along the length of the plantar fascia. Pain often will diminish as the muscle warms up. Plantar fasciitis starts out as a dull, intermittent pain in the heel and may progress to sharp, constant pain. The pain usually increases after standing or walking for long periods of time, and at the beginning of a sporting activity.
- Repetitive stretching of a tight plantar fascial band leads to micro tears at eh calcaneal orgin.
- Obesity or sudden weight gain
- Tight Achilles tendon
- Change in walking or running habits
- Use of shoes that are too small or have poor cushioning
- Running on toes, hills or very soft surfaces
- Change in running or walking surface
- Occupation that requires long periods of standing or walking (policeman’s heel)
- Excessive pronation, flat feet or high arch.
- Plantar fasciitis can become a chronic condition if left unchecked. In very few cases, surgery may be required. Here are some non-drug suggestions for relief:
- Stretching the calf muscle several times a day, especially in the morning and after prolonged sitting.
- Ice after activity
- Rest and heat
- Arch supports, or orthotic devices especially for flat feet and high arches
- Lose weight if possible, this helps relieve the excess tension in the planter fasciitis.
- Rhythm Touch electrical muscle stimulator and the Advanced Foot Energizer have proven affective in relieving the pain. See study abstract below regarding using electrical stimulation for plantar fasciitis.
Advanced Foot Energizer Foot Massager and Stimulator helps alleviate your pain while in TENS modes, and will help condition your muscles while in EMS modes. The Advanced Foot Energizer is both a TENS and EMS designed specifically for your feet and legs. See more at advancedfootenergizer.com
Use of low-frequency electrical stimulation for the treatment of plantar fasciitis.
Recent research has discussed the use of low-frequency electrical stimulation to increase blood flow by eliciting muscular contraction in soft tissues. This randomized clinical trial examined the efficacy of low-frequency electrical stimulation combined with stretching exercises and foot orthoses in individuals diagnosed as having plantar fasciitis for less than 6 months.
Twenty-six participants aged 18 to 65 years diagnosed as having plantar fasciitis were randomly assigned to two treatment groups: a control group receiving only stretching and orthoses and a treatment group receiving low-frequency electrical stimulation in addition to stretching and orthoses. To assess treatment response, a visual analog scale was used to determine first-step morning pain, and changes in daily activity levels were monitored by using a validated outcome measure. All of the participants were assessed before starting treatment, after 4 weeks of treatment, and 3 months after the conclusion of treatment.
Participants in the control and experimental groups demonstrated pain reduction and improvements in functional activity levels after 4 weeks and 3 months.