Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis

Pain on the bottom of the foot can have many different causes, but one of the most common problems is plantar fasciitis, which is often an over-use injury. It is estimated that one in ten people will experience this condition.1 If you have seen your primary health care provider and have been given this diagnosis, you will likely have been suffering with heel pain that is worse in the morning, worse when walking barefoot, worse going up stairs and worse after exercise or working long hours on your feet.

Despite the ‘itis’ in fasciitis (denoting inflammation), there is actually a relative lack of inflammation in this condition2 (especially once it has become chronic) and some practitioners now use the term ‘plantar fasciopathy’.  It seems one of the main issues is degeneration of collagen fibres in the fascia on the bottom of the foot.3

The common profile of someone who gets plantar fasciitis is a 25 to 65-year-old working adult. Contributing factors to plantar heel pain may include tight calf muscles, flat feet or abnormally high arches, being overweight and a sudden increase in activity levels. However, some researchers note that other factors may be linked to the degenerative changes seen in the connective tissues, including “vascular and metabolic disturbances, the formation of free radicals, hyperthermia and genetic factors”.2

It is noted that approximately "90% of cases will resolve within 12 months with conservative treatment”1; conservative treatment often includes calf stretching, gel heel inserts, injections and slow, high-load strength training.3

If you are looking to speed up your healing timeframe for this painful condition, consider adding acupuncture to your regimen. No, I won’t stick needles in the bottom of your feet and yes, I even have needle-free options!

In 2012 the researchers Clarke and Tighe reviewed five randomised controlled trials and three non-randomised comparative studies that looked at the effectiveness of acupuncture for plantar heel pain. They found that the high-quality studies included in their review demonstrated that there were “significant benefits”, and that the effectiveness of acupuncture for plantar heel pain was comparable to the evidence available for conventionally used interventions.4

As with most conditions, the longer it has been occurring, the longer it takes to remedy, so don’t delay in getting help. Use the contact form to get in touch or give me a call. ~ Laurina

1. Monteagudo, M. et al. Plantar fasciopathy: A current concepts review. EFORT Open Rev. 2018 Aug 29;3(8):485-493. doi: 10.1302/2058-5241.3.170080.

2.  Wearing, S. et al. The pathomechanics of plantar fasciitis. Sports Med. 2006;36(7):585-611. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200636070-00004.

3. Rathleff, M and Thorborg, K. Editorial.

4. Clark, R. J., and Tighe, M. (2012). The effectiveness of acupuncture for plantar heel pain: a systematic review. Acupuncture in Medicine: Journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society, 30(4), 298–306. DOI: 10.1136/acupmed-2012-010183