Noninvasive Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a funny way to describe a painful foot injury. The root of the word is Plantar, which means bottom Fascia the connective tissues between layers of muscle and the word Itis which means a condition of. So what plantar fasciitis REALLY means is…. A nebulous condition of the bottom of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis can strike anyone and is particularly common in people who work on their feet and runners. There are a variety of things that can cause Pantar Fasciitis such as structural issues with the foot, injury, overuse, and wearing shoes without proper support.
How do you know if you have it ? This is a common problem that manifests as pain in the heel, arch, or across the bottom of the foot. Yup, its that simple.
There are a wide variety of conservative treatments available to the patient with Plantar Fasciitis. The question is which one will work for you.
The first thing people should try is R.I.C.E. the R stands for rest, the I stands for ice, the C stands for compression and the E stands for elevation.
Rest is (NOT) easy but pretty simple to understand. Sadly most of us don’t have the luxury of just staying off our feet. The point of resting is to just take pressure and strain off the foot giving it time to heal.
Ice can in fact be easy and the icing protocol I like best is twenty minutes of ice with a minimum of two hours between applications. Patients tell me but I can’t do it every two hours… No need. But I’d like you to do at least three applications over the course of the day. Icing will reduce both pain and swelling.
Compression can consist of an ace bandage, or athletic tape. I prefer a stretchy tape like Elasticon which gives the opportunity to expand so less likely to cut off the blood flow. To check if you have inhibited the blood flow, pinch your toenail, if the toenail doesn’t turn back to pink after it blanches due to the pressure, the tape is too tight.
Elevation, involves having the time to lay around and the point is, raise the foot higher than the heart level and blood will drain back into the center of the body.
Other ideas for treatment
Treatments for plantar fasciitis would include, massage and stretching the foot and ankle inside the range of motion that causes pain. This will relax the tight muscles and reduce the muscular component of the pain.
Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling can also sometimes help.
In my opinion, one of the best courses of action are a pair of custom orthotics which will provide arch support and spread the pressure placed across the foot reducing the strain throughout the plantar fascia. Not only will this improve overall function, but it will also help you toward a faster recovery. I have a personal bias against rigid and semi-rigid orthotics but that’s a topic for another article. The over the counter ones can help some people but my simplified comment about those are if you have generic feet, you can get by with a generic orthotic. If you are reading this, you probably don’t have generic feet.
It is a safe bet to say, its unlikely that a case of Plantar Fasciitis will go away on its own. If you’ve read this far, I’d bet you are already frustrated. The longer we leave these conditions untreated, the harder they are to deal with it. A worsening case can lead to problems in the ankle, knee, hip and low back.
I hope this article is of some help and gives you an idea about some of the options available to you.
Thanks for reading.