Heel Pain Slowing You Down?

Logical Considerations for Plantar Fascitis

Summer weather has set in, and so have summer activities. Flip flops and sandals are on every other foot you see. When feet get challenged each year by wearing unsupportive footwear and increasing activity, many of us fail the test. Heel pain becomes a very common problem.

Plantar fascitis, cited by many to be the most common cause of heel pain, is an inflammation of the soft tissues on the underside of the foot, the "plantar fascia." Pain is commonly at its worst during the first few steps after a night’s sleep. It occurs in about 10% of the general population, and may show a peak incidence among women 40–60 years of age. It is caused by repetitive faulty function of the foot placing excessive tension on the plantar fascia.

Every step we take is a complicated process requiring control and timing. If any part of this process breaks down, the foot takes a beating.

There are two foot types that are predisposed to this problem, "flat feet" and "highly-arched" feet. They both place excessive tension on the foot’s structures; however they must be treated very differently.

"Highly-arched" feet suffer because their tissues and joints are too tight to begin with. Each step instantly places tension on this tight plantar fascia. "Flat footed" people have a foot that is too sloppy. Through every step the plantar fascia and foot joints are stressed from too much motion. These conditions should be treated individually and not lumped together.

Many people associate plantar fascitis with heel spurs. Heel spurs result from increased traction on the heel stimulating bone growth. However, the heel spur is not the cause of pain, it is the result of a long standing foot problem. The change within the plantar fascia causes the pain. This is very promising because soft tissues can be treated non-invasively but bony spurs can’t.

Rest and avoiding the problem will help decrease the pain, but the problem, foot dysfunction will persist. Treatment with Active Release Technique® and specific rehabilitative exercises are very effective at addressing this problem. Don’t let heel pain slow you down this summer season. If you have any questions, please contact In Motion Spine and Joint Center, please contact us at (615) 302-4747.