Plantar Fasciitis

What is it?
The plantar fascia is a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects your calf muscle to your foot. It extends from your calcaneus (heel bone) to the metatarsals (ball of foot). It works to give your foot “spring” during running and walking. Plantar Fasciitis is an irritation of this tissue due to excessive tightening or shortening of the fascia. It is commonly felt as pain in the heel that is worse when getting out of bed or after sitting for an extended period of time. It is also aggravated by walking and running.

How did I get it?
There are two anatomical factors that contribute to the development of Plantar Fasciitis. Flat, hyper-mobile feet cause excessive stretching and pulling of the plantar fascia causing micro tears where it connects to the heel bone. High arched, rigid feet do not flex well and do not dissipate shock. This causes contusions to the plantar fascia resulting in bruising, tearing and pain.

How is it treated?
There are many ways that plantar fasciitis can be treated. Some are more risky and less effective than others.

Custom Orthotics: A properly made foot orthotic can go a long way in taking the stress off of your plantar fascia. The right custom-made, biomechanical orthotic can address the underlying cause of your foot pain. Abnormal joint position, overpronation or foot rigidity can be addressed and the biomechanics normalized. San Diego Running Institute orthotics are custom molded to your foot and are designed with your specific body weight and activity in mind. The restoration of correct mechanical function takes the abnormal stress from the plantar fascia and allowing it to heal.

Stretching: Often we are told by runners that they have been stretching in an attempt to help plantar fasciitis. The stretching exercise is directed at lengthening the plantar fascia. The problem is they are not following a scientific, research based stretching program or using a Strassburg Sock. In order for stretching to be a successful part of the healing process the plantar fascia must be lengthened. For that to happen the tissue will have to be stretched for a specific amount of time and for a specific amount of repetitions. The Strassburg Sock allows the tissue to be stretched at night while you sleep thus promoting the required lengthening.

Rest: For many, rest is not a realistic option, the race you are training for is looming. Our body is a wonderful “machine.” If you rest it long enough it will heal itself. How long? This is uncertain. Some sufferers report that they rested weeks to years and even now cannot walk without pain. Some undergo painfully expensive surgery and the pain still persists.

Drugs/Anti-inflammatory: Drugs such as Ibuprofen are anti-inflammatory agents not healing agents. They actually impair the healing process and many allow the runner to injure themselves further. Studies have proven that these medications are harmful to your body that can cause ulcers and strain your liver and kidneys. Ice: Ice is often recommended and is another example of a non-healing modality. A runner often reports that they have been icing their foot after running. Consider this analogy. If you accidentally bang your head against a wall and do not plan on doing it again then it would make sense to ice your injured head. However, if your intent was to continually bang your head, every day, then icing would be of no use. Instead you might try to place padding between your head and the wall. Running is the same. If you ice your foot just so you can run on it again, thus re-opening the wound, ice makes no sense. Addressing the underlying biomechanical cause does.

Steroid Injections: Steroid injections are extremely painful and most doctors are reluctant to inject the plantar fascia anyway. Recent research has proven that in the majority of patients with plantar fasciitis the fascia is not inflamed but scarred. During the initial injury inflammation was present, but inflammation only lasts up to seventy two hours, then scarring takes place. Steroid injections have also been shown to increase the chance of rupture to the plantar fascia.

How long will it take to heal?
This depends on how long you have been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis. By correcting the cause of the injury with San Diego Running Institute orthotics and following the treatment regimen provided by Dr. Runco you can expect 50-75% relief usually within two weeks. Ask your San Diego Running Institute expert about how to fix your plantar fasciitis today!

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