Plantar Fasciitis Treatment or Corrective Exercise? Does it "Feel Better" or is it "Getting" Better?

There is so much information out there for patients, clients and athletes to access and probably even more for practitioners serving them. It easy easy to be critical of most of it since in most cases, practitioners are honestly trying to help others, except for those trying to make a quick buck!

I received and email from a physical therapy group that was designed to be informative and offer solutions for a painful condition called plantar fasciitis. Here is what I received via email (WHICH I THINK ONLY TELLS SUCH A SMALL PORTION OF THE STORY);

“Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition affecting many people. It is characterized by pain in the bottom of the foot. This pain is typically worse in the mornings, the first few steps of the day. The pain can also increase after activities such as long walks or athletic activities. This condition is caused by tightening of the large ligament on the bottom of the foot. This condition can be started by an injury to this area or something as simple as a new pair of shoes.

Use a tennis ball or golf ball. Place the ball on the ground and run the sore spot on yourfoot back and forth across the ball with gentle pressure.

Freeze a 12 ounce plastic bottle with water inside. Place the bottle on the floor and roll your foot back and forth over the bottle.
Calve stretches: Place the effected leg back and stride forward with the other. Try to keep the effected leg heel on the ground. You should start to feel a stretch in the underside of the foot and your calf.

If you try these techniques and continue to have difficulty with heel pain, feel free to call us for
an evaluation_______________.”

I know a professional baseball player that followed this protocol for months until his plantar fascia ripped! This was from treatment advice from the team’s medical staff!!! This injury cost the team hundreds of thousands of dollars, home runs, RBI and the player unnecessary pain and anguish and probably dollars off of his next contract. How many regular “average Joes” have suffered the same fate???

People might receive soft tissue work…

Other might use modalities for pain relief or to break up bone spurs..

Stretching is often recommended..
BUT WHY ARE WE LENGTHENING THE PLANTAR FASCIA WHEN MOST PEOPLE EXCESSIVELY PRONATE and evert at the calcaneuous???? This will lengthen the plantar fascia more!!! This may feel good for a few minutes or hours, but often times the problem is being exacerbated while the symptom is being treated.

When you see people’s arch flatten excessively when the squat, walk or run then the plantar fascia is being pulled apart every time the foot comes in contact with the ground. Sometimes it looks like the foot is turning out…

Other times only the arch falls…

This causes undo stress throughout the rest of the body (kinetic chain) and is often caused by a genetic predisposition to laxity in the arches of the feet, or restricted joints and muscular imbalances. Knee pain, low back pain, headaches, fatigue…and the list goes on. This position wears out and wears down the human body. If you were born with this structure, you should probably get fitted for orthotics and if you have developed this condition over time (as it seems to be the case with most people) then corrective exercise can do wonders. RECAP-if you were born this way-see a medical professional (who gets it) for orthotics AND do corrective exercise to balance off the rest of the kinetic chain if you have DEVELOPED this situation then corrective exercise and then maybe an over the counter insert into your shoe may be helpful. It is extremely important to get some coaching from an experienced corrective exercise specialist/physical therapist/chiropractor/certified athletic trainer etc on this.

Over active muscles include the; lateral gastrocnemius, biceps femoris (short head), tensor fascia latte and more

These muscles need soft tissue work with something like the rollaxer ( can not beat a skilled manual therapist…but this product does a nice job!

and to be statically stretched while the arch is maintained, NOT FLATTENED
I have found this or similar adjustable slant boards to work best since it supports the base of the 1st MTP, 5th MTP and calcaneuous so well.

These muscles need to be strenghted the; posterior tibialis, anterior tibialis and glute medius (posterior fibers) and glute maximus.

And then you need to teach the body better movement patterns

There is always more BUT the biggest thing to take home is that if some one’s foot is flattening and causing plantar surface pain DON”T KEEP STRETCHING THE BOTTOM OF YOUR FOOT!

The discomfort is the symptom…not the cause. If pain persists after you receive an integrated assessment and corrective exercise program for your plantar fasciitis, then follow up with a licensed health care practitioner, you may have a bone spur or another condition that requires the attention of a medical professional.

Hope this at least has you looking at things at a different angle, I know so many people that chased the symptom and not the cause and wasted months if not years doing the wrong things for their situation.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Beard
Athletic Performance Enhancement Specialist
Corrective Exercise Specialist

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This entry was posted in fascia, foot pain, nasm, plantar fasccitis, rehabilitation, springfield college, wii, wii fit, wii-habilitation. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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