Plantar fasciitis is an often-seen, painful inflammation and/or thickening of the plantar fascia, which is the fibrous band of connective tissue (basically a tendon or ligament) on the sole of your foot connecting your heel bone to your toes. Your plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot, and inflammation here is the most common cause of heel pain, not to be confused with heel spurs (which are not usually as painful). It can be a stubborn condition to treat, with unpredictable patterns, and some people spend years suffering without finding the right relief. Luckily, natural medicine can help!
Plantar fasciitis is the result of a repetitive straining of this tissue, sometimes involving tiny tears in the tendon/ligament and degeneration in the collagen making up the fascia, leading to pain and possibly also swelling. Note: because inflammation is not necessarily present in this condition, the use of the word 'itis' is actually incorrect. A more correct term would actually be 'plantar tendonosis'.
Plantar fasciitis usually involves only one foot, develops gradually, and starts to hurt with your first few steps in the morning or after long periods of standing. Potential risk factors for this condition include:
- your feet roll inward as you walk (excessive pronation)
- you have high arches or flat feet
- you have just experienced a sudden increase in activity
- you spend a lot of time on hard surfaces
- you are overweight
- you are between 40 and 60 years of age
- you are female
- you wear improper footwear
- you have overly-tight calf muscles
Your doctor will more than likely ask for an X-ray of your foot to rule out any issues with the bones there, such as a stress fracture. Ruling out the need for a cast or splint, your doctor may suggest rest, icing your heel, taking pain medication, doing some stretches, and possibly even losing some weight and/or getting a new pair of shoes. In severe cases, a steroid injection may even be a recommendation.
Failing finding a cure with these solutions, complementary medicine has a lot it can offer to help relieve you of your heel pain. Acupuncture can help reduce swelling and improve your body's ability to heal itself. Massage therapy is also excellent for treating plantar fasciitis, as therapeutic work on the muscle tissue in the area can help reduce your pain tremendously.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you with plantar fasciitis.
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