Is Your Plantar Fasciitis on the Chronic Pain Spectrum?

Plantar Fasciitis & Chronic Pain

 The good news first… plantar fasciitis is not life threatening. The bad news second… plantar fasciitis is ‘quality of life threatening‘ as all hell. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, all stubborn pains affect our quality of life, but it is those which involve a degree of disability that really impact our wellbeing. 

Chronic pain is defined as stubborn pain felt on most or all of the days for the past 3 months… does that sound like you? Data collected in the US in 2011 indicated that 4.8% of the adult population suffered from chronic pain which amounted to 10.6 million individuals. It will have gone up since then, that’s the age we live in. 

 The essence of this data, as it applies to you and me is that if you experience stubborn weekly pains on a consistent basis for 3 or more months you should be concerned about long term loss of our ability to do… stuff. Stuff like sport, holidays, dancing,  work, dog walks, playing with children… the building blocks of your enjoyment in life right? 

 Of those 10.6 millions soul’s represented in the data heaps would have had back pain and hip pain etc. many others would have been suffering from plantar fasciitis, heel pain and foot pain. There is also potentially a sneaky double whammy hidden in this data. Many plantar fasciitis sufferers have additional chronic ankle, knee and hip pain that they didn’t realise relates back to the same weaknesses that caused their plantar fasciitis to manifest.  If we take this into account then ‘plantar fasciitis spectrum’ sufferers could make up a surprising number among the 10.6 million. 

The Good News About Plantar Fasciitis & Chronic Pain Management

 I do have some additional good news for you amongst all this chronic doom and gloom. 

 The use of painkillers in the US is absolutely, utterly and mind boggling out of control. It is by far the most popular way to manage pain in the US.  All these pain killers that they are consuming over there are being prescribed by their doctors… all of them! This means that you can safely assume that a huge number of those plantar fasciitis sufferers hidden in the data were only using pills to manage their condition! Why is this good news?  This is convolutedly good news because it may indicate that a large part of the reason for all that pain is just that it’s very poorly managed!!

Pills are great I love them, painkillers are a modern marvel in my eyes and I respect the clever people who develop them so that we can get ourselves out of tight spots. But let’s be honest pain killers don’t break up scar tissue in your foot; painkillers don’t strengthen your glute muscles and prevent your arch dropping and they certainly don’t reduce the strain of concrete on your plantar fascia. To think that they do would be like trying to put a fire out by taking the battery out of the beeping fire alarm. Think about it.

 So, all this statisitcal doom and gloom could potentially lift if we were to take that same population of chronic foot pain and plantar fasciitis sufferers and actually try to treat the weaknesses and scar tissue in their legs and feet. If my experience is anything to go by we might also find a reduction in those experiencing disability from hip, knee and back pain if we took that approach. It’s called rehabilitation and it’s not exactly a new thing!?!?

A Plantar Fasciitis Solution

 So if you have sore feet and you don’t fancy becoming a statistic here is what I suggest you do… 

Step 1. Get someone to treat the pain associated with your plantar fasciitis by breaking up any scar tissue in your foot and increasing the local blood flow.. This includes treatments like ice, scar tissue scraping, acupuncture and deep tissue release. 

Step 2. Get  some gait analysis done to identify what is happening mechanically in your legs and feet to cause you pain. The specifics these investigations turn up can guide the rest of the rehabilitation process.

Step 3. Learn to stabilise your foot using your hip and knee muscles while weight bearing with appropriate rehab exercises. Click here for plantar fasciitis exercises if you want to get stuck in..

Step 4. Get stuck into a good long-term prescription of custom insoles for plantar fasciitis. Custom insoles will reduce stress in your legs and feet for the long haul by supporting your arch and providing cushioning and controlling to your heel bone. 

Closing Thoughts On Plantar Fasciitis

For many, half the suffering associated with chronic pain comes not only from disability but from all the uncertainty of not knowing what to do about our pain.! It’s hard enough dealing with chronic pain with the best rehabilitation, let alone when you have been advised that pills are a valid long-term solution to biomechanical disorders. 

The first steps towards successfully treating and resolving plantar fasciitis are those of learning. Learning what is required to start the process of pain relief and then learning about what caused the pain to happen in the first place.

Later on the process of resolving your plantar fasciitis becomes more about you being persistent in efforts to reduce scar tissue,  wear your insoles and get stronger by restoring alignment to your legs and feet. 

All good rehabilitation processes empower patients to take their destiny on their own hands and break free from disability and reliance on pills in the long term… if that’s what they choose to do.  





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