By Dr. Jon DeGorter, DC
That stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot near the heel usually indicates the common running injury plantar fasciitis. The pain is usually worst with the first few steps after getting out of bed, although it can appear after long periods of standing or getting up from a seated position.
The cause can be overtraining, tight calves, improper footwear, or foot stabilization issues such as excessive pronation or supination. The repetitive stress from the rolling of the foot when heel striking will cause irritation to the tissue. Many times a heel spur can also form. A plantar fascia injury usually involves other areas of the kinetic chain – the ankle, calf, knee, hip and/or lower back. The ankle can become unstable, the calf could be tight. The knee can develop soreness, the hip can be sore and restrictive. The lower back can develop instability and muscle spasms.
Rest, ice, orthotics or shoe inserts, and stretches for toes and calf can minimize symptoms. More serious treatment includes surgery or corticosteroid injections. Injecting the plantar fascia with drugs weakens connective tissue and increases the risk of rupturing the plantar fascia and damaging the heel’s protective fat pad. Surgical intervention should always be a last resort because cutting the plantar fascia results in a gradual destruction of the medial arch. The plantar fascia is an important stabilizer of the arch and when it is surgically cut, the arch eventually collapses.
Stretching and exercises are necessary for full rehabilitation and to rebuild strength and function of the muscles, however, they do not address the underlying scar tissue adhesions that develop in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues. Without first treating the adhesions that are restricting normal motion and interfere with the flexibility and contraction of the foot muscles, stretches and exercises are much less effective and slower to produce relief or recovery.
Active Release Technique® along with Cold Laser and Radial Pulse therapies, FDA-approved plantar-fasciitis treatments, are highly effective in treating stubborn foot issues like Plantar Fasciitis. A trained ART® provider pinpoints the specific problem areas contributing to the injury, then treats not only the plantar fascia, but the soft tissues surrounding the foot and the connective tissues that work in unison with the plantar tissues. The most effective treatment is deep tissue massage to the arch, calf muscles and muscles of the foot, complemented with specific foot strengthening and stability exercises. Unlike cortisone injections, ART®, Cold Laser Therapy and Radial Pulse therapy stimulate repair and accelerate healing by restoring normal tissue flexibility, and reestablishing full flexibility, balance and stability.
Active Release Technique® is a highly successful hands-on treatment of soft tissue injuries – muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. What makes ART® different from other treatments is how it identifies and heals scar tissue adhesions that are interfering with normal strength and flexibility, not simply stretching out the muscles. ART® and Radial Pulse therapy are completely natural and non-invasive and can prevent the need for more invasive treatments. The key to faster recovery is starting treatment at the first sign of symptoms – therapy is more successful and takes less time than when treatment is delayed.
Active Release Technique® and Radial Pulse therapy have been used extensively to help athletes work through injury and have shown outstanding results in treating foot pain and injury, and can have you back on your feet and running pain-free again.
Dr. Jon DeGorter is the USATF-Long Island Chair of the Sports Medicine Committee, and part of the Jonas Chiropractic Sports Injury Care team. Dr. Jon specializes in treating runners and triathletes — keeping athletes doing what they love to do.