PLANTAR FASCIITIS, NATURAL TREATMENTSFor about 5 years, during the mid 2000’s I was experiencing one injury after another with my knees and feet. It wasn’t until I started going to an Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractor that I learned and realized how so many things in our body can be affected if we are not in proper alignment. In another blog, I will further discuss this chiropractic technique which has truly been a benefit to me. It is the painful condition of plantar fasciitis that I will now, hopefully offer some helpful information.
Trying to treat a painful condition is always a challenge, especially one that last for months or longer. When I was experiencing Plantar Fasciitis 8 years ago, it was frustrating and discouraging because it seemed as if there was no relief in sight. The tissue along the bottom of your foot that connects the heel bone to your toes, supporting your arch is the Plantar Fascia. For many different reasons this connective tissue can become inflamed and it affects over 2 million Americans. Typically, upon rising in the morning or after a period of activity, there may be intense stabbing pain in the heel. Often, as the fascia warms up the pain may decrease. But those with a chronic condition experience pain all day. Some of the reasons this inflammation may occur include; long periods of weight bearing, unsupportive footwear, obesity, inactivity, faulty foot mechanics, etc.
I had been working a part time retail job and was on my feet for hours. Added to this was the fact that aging bodies tend to lose some padding in the foot as mine had. Later I also learned my body was out of alignment. But initially, after 2 months of pain, I went to a podiatrist and was hopeful for a remedy. What a disappointment that visit was! He confirmed I did have Plantar Fasciitis and offered very little hope. Luckily I had done my homework on the subject and actually asked him about some of the things that could be done. First on my list was a night splint or what I called, my boot. This allows you to keep your foot at a 90 degree angle, placing a prolonged stretch on the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon while you sleep. Research shows that night splinting relieves symptoms over 80% of the time. There are many different styles and prices and I ended up purchasing 2 before my inflammation finally subsided because I used to put it on as soon as I came home from work! It really helped ease the pain. Then, I asked for physical therapy. That turned out to be very helpful as the therapist shows you stretching exercises and I also asked for and received ultra sound treatments. Ultra sound is high on my list of beneficial treatments for many painful conditions and I eventually purchased a home unit. Another good tip is to keep a small, plastic bottled water in the freezer and roll you foot over it whenever possible to calm down the inflammation. My foot was finally starting to feel a little better, but as soon as the PT and ultra sound stopped my foot was just as painful as before.
Now 5 months into the condition, I went to a second podiatrist. He offered me more hope by suggesting orthotics. The ones my feet were cast for and I purchased, cost $400 and they weren’t even the most expensive ones. They offered me no relief at all and were very uncomfortable. After 2 months of that, and in so much pain, I asked for a steroid shot. This was really against my better judgment, which I should have paid attention to. The shot did nothing for the pain and a month after receiving it, a layer of dead skin peeled off my heel. When steroid shots aren’t effective, the next step is surgery. I really did my homework on that and knew it wasn’t worth the risks involved. So I never saw the doctor again and tried to figure out more ways to help myself. I started taking MSM for pain relief (more about this in another blog), used MSM topical cream, iced a lot more, continued with the night splint, purchased a home ultra sound unit and found NAOT shoes. This was quite by accident when I was at the mall looking for something my foot would feel good wearing, tried on a pair of NAOT sandals and couldn’t believe the comfort! The sandals have cork beds with a well formed arch and are very light weight. It was a perfect shoe for my feet and I ended up purchasing 2 pairs.
A couple more months passed and one day I realized, the pain was much less. My foot was doing so good that I started going for long walks again and had finally turned the corner on this painful condition. To this day, NAOTS and Clarks Springers are my most comfortable sandals/shoes but I actually started walking barefoot again, in and out of the house. This is something I never thought would happen. But at times when I have over exerted myself or my resistance is low, I will feel little pangs of pain in my heel, a small reminder of my bout with Plantar Fasciitis. I hope this information has been helpful and contact me with any questions you may have.