What Is The Best treatment For Plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is widely considered as being notoriously hard to treat, I see this fact reflected in the faces of those who come to my clinic for treatment on a daily basis. Most have been in search of the best treatment for plantar fasciitis for some time.
I find that the average new patient with plantar fasciitis has suffered for more than a year and has usually been to at least 2 other practitioners in their search for the best treatment for plantar fasciitis before they attend my clinic. It’s not unusual for people to cry when they talk to me about their pain on their first visit, which to me really shows how much pain and frustration can be caused by this condition.
There are strong re-occurring themes in terms of the types of advice people have received while doing their best to search for treatment of their plantar fasciitis. Exercises, insoles, heel inserts and painkillers are the most common, all of which most definitely have an important part to play in the best treatment plans for plantar fasciitis.
That most fundamental question which is always of course on most people’s lips is ‘What is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis’ This is a reflection of how little success they have had in treating their plantar fasciitis.
So what are the missing links because as I said before exercises, inserts and pain killers are all valid components of what you might call best treatment for plantar fasciitis!?
There are a handful of treatments that tend to work best when you are trying to treat plantar fasciitis, and the very best of those are generally the ones that work on scar tissue.
Scar Tissue & Your Feet
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that involves a build-up of microscopic scar tissue and collagen trauma in the sole of the foot.
It’s understanding that scar tissue is often it’s primary pain mechanism that guides us towards finding the best treatment for plantar fasciitis. Breaking up the scar tissue and promoting blood flow is key to reducing the immediate pain of plantar fasciitis. .
How do you end up with this type of scar tissue in the sole of your foot? Thr answer is repetitive strain. Most people have heard of the term ‘repetitive strain injury’ but we usually reserve it for describing overuse in the forearm and hand that are caused by repetitive work activities like typing. There is probably no part of the human body that is subjected to more repetitive strain however than the sole of the human foot.
Modern human beings take an average of 15,000 steps per day during our lifetimes and with every step our entire body weight pushes through the heel when it comes down on the ground. This is a fantastic recipe for developing repetitive strain in the sole of the foot so perhaps it is little surprise how many of us suffer from plantar fasciitis, foot pain and heel pain at different times in our lives.
The sheer number of steps we take each day, month and year is in itself extreme and that’s before we have taken into account one other major factor in the development of all this scar tissue .. and that is the hard surfaces we live on.
Your direct ancestors lived outdoors mostly on soft, squishy surfaces that hugged the soles of their feet. Modern humans spend almost our entire lives walking on the likes of concrete, tarmac, paving stones and hard wood floors. The pressure that goes through the sole of the foot with each step in the modern world is many times what it would have been before the industrial revolution, due to hard surfaces. Concrete is a fertile soil for growing scar tissue, and for developing plantar fasciitis and heel pain!
The Best Treatment For Scar Tissue
By removing the buildup of scar tissue and underpins the pain of plantar fasciitis and heel pain, we not only relieve pain in the short term but we also make way for more preventative measures like insoles and exercises.
The best way to treat the scar tissue that underpins plantar fasciitis is to break it up using a combination of specialised massage techniques. Some of these involves using blunt scraping tools on th sole of the foot, some use intense vibration using a powerful mechanical massage device, some cases require acu-pressure and others still require acupuncture. These are all methods that have the ability to break up and force remodeling of scar tissue
By gradually breaking up the scar tissue in the sole of the foot we gradually allow the soft tissues of the foot to heal and return to a normal healthy state. This process is not unlike a training effect at the gym however, and it takes a wee bit of time. Making these changes is nearly always the best treatment for plantar fasciitis, it’s just a matter of finding which tools work best for you.
Once they are finally getting the best treatment they can for their plantar fasciitis most people do notice some improvement in their condition over the first couple of visits. Breaking up scar tissue sufficiently that they feel consistently better takes a little longer. I would estimate that the average plantar fasciitis and heel pain sufferers who attends my clinic take 8-10 weeks before they consistently feel better and their activity levels go back up to near normal levels. Some find relief comes shockingly fast and others are a little more stubborn but 8-10 weeks is about the average.
Rehabilitation For Plantar Fasciitis
Once the pain of plantar fasciitis is all but relieved through the reduction of scar tissue the stage is set for exercises, insoles and orthotic prescription. All of which work preventatively by reducing the amount of stress on the foot and prevent reoccurrence.
If we can resolve the causes of strain in the foot we can reduce the build-up of scar tissue and inflammation in the foot, this is how we attempt to stop the pain coming back.
Irrespective of the details however what this all boils down to is freedom. Freedom to do all the things you need to do in order the survive, and freedom to do all the things you enjoy doing as part of a normal active life.
Stubborn pain is always life altering and not in a good way, but plantar fasciitis and heel pain hit us not only with pain but with limitation of movement which is something that can affect almost any aspect of our existence. This is why pursuing not only pain relief but full rehabilitation of the underlying issues makes a lot of sense to me.