Plantar Fasciitis

Greg Zadow, PT, DPT, JSCCI, CACI Green Ridge Physical Therapy & Wellness
Sisters, Oregon

Description

Plantar fascia pain is likely a more accurate description of this condition.  Recent studies looking into the cellular make up of the involved tissue reveal less of an inflammatory condition (-itis) and more of a tissue degenerative process.  Either way, the majority of symptoms felt are along the inside aspect of the foot and often concentrated towards the front of the heel bone in the arch of the sole of the foot.  It is very common to have pain immediately after weight bearing onto the foot or feet after getting up from a non-weight bearing position, such as sitting.  Often the first few steps taken in the morning after getting out of bed are very painful.  Most patients describe the pain starting gradually after no particular incident, but occasionally there may be a traumatic injury involved.  It is possible for this condition to become chronic.

Typical interventions for plantar fascia pain involve stretching the plantar fascia, stretching the calf muscles, and the use of night splints to prevent the fascia from shortening up during sleep.  Podiatrists often prescribe custom orthotics (shoe inserts) to stretch the plantar fascia during the day or to support the arch of the foot in a way to relieve pain.  Deep tissue massage to the feet and lower legs is often performed by massage therapists or physical therapists.  The use of scraping tools to loosen tight facia on the foot directly is also common.

Fascial Counterstrain Treatment

Most commonly, by the time pain from plantar fascia stress or irritation reaches our conscious level, there are multiple layers or tissue systems involved.  A Fascial Counterstrain evaluation will look for fascial dysfunction throughout the entire body including ligaments of the spine, boney tensions and torsions within the feet, muscle fascia chains stretching from the feet to the spine and ribcage, and the vascular flow into and out of the leg.  Fascial Counterstrain treatment of these fascial restrictions involves a gentle shortening of the involved tissue, often through a glide of a specific structure or positioning of the body around the structure to facilitate relaxation of the spinal cord reflex that is causing the dysfunction.  This will immediately improve the ability of that tissue to function properly, whether that is a ligament that is now no longer neurologically shortened or a vein that has been relaxed and now able to remove toxins from that area without restriction.

After successful Fascial Counterstrain treatment of these reflexes has been performed, there can be immediate improvement in symptoms such as pain with walking and after rising to the feet from a non-weight bearing position.  Especially after treatment of a chronic problem, there may be a period of time following treatment in which the tissue undergoes remodeling and healing before it regains full strength.  Because this unique technique addresses multiple tissue systems (nerves, arteries, veins, muscle chains, periosteum, ligaments, etc.) and their involvement in the condition and not just the plantar fascia itself (including its attachments through the foot and lower leg), long lasting relief and return of tissue strength are much more likely to occur.

Testimonial

Keith K. Describes his experience with the technique as follows:

“I woke up one morning and in standing up from the bed, I experienced a sharp, shooting pain emanating from my right heel.  I had to sit down and massage the area gently and after walking gingerly for a few seconds, the pain receded to a point where I could walk with manageable pain.  

I usually walk our dog at least one mile on paved path but I had to make that a shorter walk on the golf course, where the impact on the feet was less. I also usually walk the whole round of golf, but I had to take a cart after nine holes to complete the round.

I received a total of three treatments, but after the first two there was a major improvement in reduction of pain.  I have resumed playing golf and walking the whole 18 holes as well as walking the dog, although, in order to prevent reoccurrence, I walk on the grass instead of pavement.

It seems that everything in the body is interconnected so that a stress at any point can cause stress points along the body.  So the treatment can be best described as finding various stress points starting at the base of the skull, small of the back, hip, thigh, leg, all the way down to the feet and releasing those points with a gentle positioning causing relaxation of those points.”