Plantar Fasciitis

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Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is a condition that involves pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia (a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes). It is a common condition in runners, people who are overweight and those who wear shoes that don’t have proper support. People who have planter fasciitis can feel a stabbing pain when taking their first few steps in the morning. It can be aggravated by high impact activities (running, jumping etc), long periods of standing or getting up from a seated position. Pain is typically felt in the bottom of the foot, more specifically near the heel.
Your plantar fascia essentially acts as a shock absorber. It supports the arch of your foot but if the tension in the fascia is too much it will result in small tears. These tears can become irritating and/or inflamed with repetitive stretching.

You are at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis if you are:

  • Between the ages of 40-60
  • Take part in exercises that place stress on the heel and attached tissue such as long distance running, dance and aerobics
  • If you have faulty foot mechanics, examples would be having a high arch, being flat footed or having an altered gait when walking.
  • If you are overweight
  • If your job has you on your feet for long periods of time
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Ignoring this condition can have long term consequences. Chronic pain from your heel may lead you to change the way you walk or run in order to minimize pain. This forces other joints and muscles in the foot, knee, hip and back to be placed under more stress. As a result one may develop secondary overuse injuries in those areas of the body.

It isn’t just the altered mechanics that creates a risk. Pain affects the mind muscle connection. The term proprioception is used by strength trainers and practitioners to describe the bodies ability to know where it is in space and time. Your body has lots of sensory receptors that send information back to the brain such as sensitivity to touch. Imagine hiking and stepping on a rock, your sensory receptors in the foot will send information to the brain on how weight is being distributed on the foot, if the rock is loose, if it is slippery or if it is sharp. The brain uses this information to properly balance and stabilize the body as you step up and over the rock. Pain disrupts this process and may lead to poor or inadequate sensory information resulting in a fall or a sprained/broken ankle.

Treatments that can provide relief and start the healing process include, massage therapy, physiotherapy, prolotherapy, laser therapy and orthotics.

Physiotherapy: A Physiotherapist can instruct you in a series of exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and achilles tendon while giving you exercises to strengthen the leg muscles which will help stabilize the ankle and heal. Pure Body Balance’s Physiotherapists may also use laser therapy as part of their treatment strategy for relieving pain and stimulating healing in the tissue.

Massage Therapy: A Registered Massage Therapist from Pure Body Balance can massage the affected tissues and provide stretching techniques that when combined have been found through various studies to provide clinically significant improvement in both pain and function.

Prolotherapy: At Pure Body Balance our Naturopath, Dr. Besner, performs prolotherapy. Prolotherapy involves an injection into the tendon which stimulates the bodies natural healing processes. While many may find the thought of an injection to be unpleasant or intimidating, this treatment truly does wonders for various conditions in which there is damage to the soft tissue.

Orthotics: Footwear with poor support, faulty foot mechanics and having an altered gait can all increase risk for developing plantar fasciitis. Orthotics can help correct these risk factors. By correcting these issues the tissues will be given a chance to heal.

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