In my article Plantar Fasciitis -Its Cause And Treatment, I discussed a common cause of stabbing foot pain. Here I’ll explain some of the treatments for this condition.
The heel pain resulting from plantar fasciitis is often intractable (non responsive) to any one type of therapy. For this reason, many different types of therapy are used to treat this condition:
- Apply Ice Packs
Icing will help to diminish some of the symptoms and control the heel pain. Icing is especially helpful after an acute exacerbation of symptoms
- Exercises and Stretches
Designed to relax the tissues that surround the heel bone. Some simple exercises, performed in the morning and evening, often help patients feel better quickly.
- Night Splints
Help prevent the plantar ligament from contracting while you sleep, and so hopefully it will not be as painful in the morning.
- Shoe Inserts
Typically, have built in arch supports to take the stretch out of the plantar ligament, or heel pads to cushion the areas of pain.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Help to both control pain and decrease inflammation. Over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient, but prescription options are also available.
Unfortunately, all of the above treatments frequently have limited success in eliminating the heel pain.
In 1971, I published a paper in the Journal American Podiatric Association that challenged the then current thought that Plantar Fasciitis was frequently due to a heel spur irritating the long plantar ligament. I suggested that Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain syndrome) was the result of excessive foot twist. My paper was based on my findings that:
· Many of my patients with heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis) did not have heel spurs.
· Many of my patients with heel spurs did not have heel pain.
· All of my patients with heel pain had foot twist.
In this paper, I described the step by step process in which foot twist can culminate in heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis):
· Foot twist expands the foot (longer and wider).
· As the foot becomes longer, the long plantar ligament is stretched.
· As the long plantar ligament is stretched, micro tears occur in the attachment of the ligament into the heel bone.
· These micro tears result produce an inflammatory reaction, culminating in heel pain.
My research remained controversial for approximately 20 years until the early 1990s when other research teams came to the same conclusions
However, the question that still needed to be answered was: what causes the foot to twist? This question was answered in a paper I published in 2002 in the Journal Movement Bodyworks Therapy, in which I linked foot twist to two embryological foot structures, the Rothbarts Foot and the PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity. I theorized that these two abnormal foot structures force the foot to twist due to the incomplete osseous development of the calcaneal (heel) and/or talar bones.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis with Arch Supports
Plantar Fasciitis is traditionally treated with arch supports. The rationale of this therapy is to reduce the stretch on the long plantar ligament (plantar aponeurosis), thereby allowing the inflammation at its insertion points to heel (See Figure 1 below). However, a randomized trial published by Landorf et al (2006) concluded that this approach resulted in only “small reductions in pain for people with Plantar Fasciitis”. In my practice, I have found that arch supports frequently increase the pain in patients suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.
Figure 1 – Therapy using arch supports which actually increase the tension of the plantar aponeurosis, which in turn, predisposes this ligament to further micro tears.
Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy
Eliminating heel pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis has proven to be very effective using Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy. This approach is so effective because it treats the underlying cause of foot twist, which in turn, decreases the elongation of the long plantar ligament (and resulting inflammation of its insertion points as it is being torn away from the bone) (See Figure 2 below).
Why struggle with temporary fixes and treatments that only work in the short term when you can be free, once and for all, of the chronic muscle and joint pain that is making your life miserable?
As you learn more about my innovative therapy, you may find that addressing and effectively treating your foot structure may be the missing link to ending your long time battle with unrelenting muscle and joint pain.
If you would like to contact me regarding an appointment, click here.
Professor/Dr Brian A Rothbart
Chronic Pain Elimination Specialist
Discovered the Rothbarts Foot and PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity
Developer of Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy
Inventor and Designer of Rothbart Proprioceptive Insoles
Founder of the International Academy RPT
Author of Forever Free From Chronic Pain and The Foots Connection to Chronic Pain