Plantar fasciitis - the basics
We meet at the store each week to go over foot conditions and how to treat them. Just a good opportunity to talk shop. This week we got into some of the subtleties of plantar fasciitis and how to treat it. First though, to understand the basics of plantar fasciitis, be sure to read our knowledge base article on plantar fasciitis. I think that's really a great springboard to get you oriented to the condition.
Plantar fasciitis - how did I get it?
How did I get it? Think of plantar fasciitis as an overuse syndrome. You don't see plantar fasciitis in kids. They heal too quickly to ever have plantar fasciitis. And you don't see plantar fasciitis in old folks. They're just not active enough to generate the mechanical load need to initiate an overuse syndrome. You see plantar fasciitis in folks who are 35-60 years of age, active and perhaps just a tad overweight. Think about the onset of plantar fasciitis as a stage in mechanical load-bearing where your tissue just can't heal in time to have you ready to start a new day. That's basically the definition of an overuse syndrome. As we age, our tissue elasticity becomes a bit more brittle. Healing takes longer. So the onset of plantar fasciitis is really just a symptom of an overuse syndrome where your heel is just can't tolerate the loads applied to it.
Plantar fasciitis - how do I make it go away?
How do I make it go away? I think you'll read in the attached link to the knowledge base article on plantar fasciitis that one of the keys to treating plantar fasciitis is weakening the calf. The contribution of the calf and Achilles tendon to plantar fasciitis is the single most significant contributing factor to the onset and perpetuation of plantar fasciitis. Weakening the force generated by the calf is actually really quite simple. Think cowboy boot. Raise the heel and you'll weaken the calf. Weaken the calf and you'll see the heel pain respond in kind. Do you need to buy a pair of Tony Llamas? No, but hang onto that visual image. Raise the heel and you'll be a winner. Go barefoot or wear low heeled shoes and you'll continue to have heel pain. Let's talk a bit about this over the coming week.
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM