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Nu-Genesis Wellness Centre, LLC 

612 Washington St
Suite 109
Denver, CO   80203
303.332.9716

email: pierre@nugenesismassage.com

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fascia on the sole of the foot.  This fascia (more on this in a future article) runs from the heel to the toes and helps to create the arch of the foot.  Most sufferers describe it as a pain in the heel when they first stand up and start to walk, gradually diminishing as the foot 'warms up'.  The pain can be elsewhere on the sole of the foot, but heel pain is the most common.  The pain can also be severe after vigorous exercise or when descending stairs.

Plantar Fascia

What causes Plantar fasciitis?

We abuse our feet in many ways without realizing it.  This abuse can cause strain on the fascia lining the arch of the foot creating micro-tears and inflammation; which in turn causes pain.  Some of the people who tend to get Plantar fasciitis are:

  • People with tight calf muscles - These muscles attach to the heel via the Achilles tendon and put  tension on the Plantar fascia (this is the most common cause)
  • Long distance runners
  • People with high arches or flat feet
  • Those who are overweight or have recently experienced a sudden weight gain
  • Those who wear shoes that have little or no arch support, such as flat sandals and the 'dreaded' flip-flops

Treatment for Plantar fasciitis

 

The key to treating Plantar fasciitis is to give the sole of the foot as much 'rest' as possible and to prevent constantly re-tearing the fascia and continuing the cycle of inflammation.  Since most of us cannot stay off our feet for a couple of weeks this is difficult.  As a result, it is not uncommon for sufferers to have to deal with the situation for 2 months or even as long as 9 months.  Without treatment, Plantar fasciitis can literally take years to heal.  What can you do?

 The first rule of treating Plantar fasciitis is Never Ever Ever Go Barefoot.  Going barefoot puts strain on the arch causing micro-tears which turn into inflammation.  Even if you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, put on footwear with good support for your arch before putting weight on your feet.  While recovering from Plantar fasciitis, never wear shoes with inadequate arch support.  Ladies, high heels may look nice, but are killer to your feet. 

Secondly, try to 'warm up' the fascia when you have been sitting or lying down for a period of time, before walking.  The connective tissue called fascia is made up of collagen fibers.  When 'cold', they tend to be semi-solid.  By applying pressure, the fascia becomes almost gel-like and will stretch instead of tearing when you stand and walk.  So before getting out of bed or after sitting for a long period of time, gently massage the sole of your foot to help warm up the fascia so you don't continue to re-tear it over and over again.

Thirdly,  massage therapy focusing on the calf muscles as well as the sole of the foot, will help to relieve excess tension on the Plantar fascia.  At Nu-Genesis Wellness Centre, we are trained and have years of experience to help you overcome these issues and get you back on your feet again as quickly as possible.

Your doctor may suggest acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with the pain.  Please remember that over-the-counter NSAIDS are not intended for long term use.  Even though they do not require a doctor's prescription (when used as directed), they are still hard on your kidneys, your liver, and the lining of your stomach.

You might consider doing a series of stretches to reduce tension on the Achilles tendon and Plantar fascia.  A search on "plantar fasciitis exercises' on YouTube.com will give you some examples.

In serious cases, you might consider taping your foot to reduce stress on the arch.  The following link is a good example of how you might do this.

http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/cybertherapist/front/foot/plantarfasciitis/plantartaping.php   

Though expensive, some people need to resort to custom orthotics for their shoes.

Finally, people often wonder, do I apply heat or cold?  Heat may feel better but cold is your answer.  The basic rule of thumb is to apply cold when inflammation exists, and heat at other times.  Apply a cold pack for up to 15 minutes at a time three or four times a day.


 

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