Heel Pain – Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.

What are the symptoms?

Most people with plantar fasciitis have pain when they take their first steps after they get out of bed, or sit for a long time. You may have less stiffness and pain after you take a few steps. But your foot may hurt more as the day goes on. It may hurt the most when you climb stairs, or after you stand for a long time. 

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension and stress on that bowstring becomes too great, small tears can arise in the fascia. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed, or Trigger Points shortening the fascia. This is more likely to happen if:

  • Foot mechanics. Being flat-footed, having a high arch or even having an abnormal pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when you’re standing and put added stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Certain types of exercise. Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue — such as long-distance running, ballistic jumping activities, ballet/Irish dancing, and aerobic dance — can contribute to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis.
  • Being overweight.
  • Occupations that keep you on your feet. Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage their plantar fascia.
  • Inapproriate footwear. 

Neuromuscular Therapy –  Dry Needling for Plantar Fasciitis.

Trigger points can be the cause of or a major contributing factor of your pain in these cases Dry Needling can work magic!

In the course of a treatment Dene will:

  • Be able to locate the little crystals that are the Trigger points hidden in the taut bands of the Plantar fascia.(often the epicentre of the pain).
  • Expertly place the needle in to the right place for incredible immediate results.
  • Use deep tissue massage to release tightness in the calf muscle and other leg muscles,  which will help foot function.
  • Show you how to self-massage the arch of the foot.

Dry needling the arch of the foot is going to be painful, no disputing the fact. (However one of the treatments for this condition is a steroid injection into the foot and this is much more painful).   The discomfort is worth it though, as the results are felt immediately. After just one needle the pain on touching the arch of the foot will be greatly reduced, and you will notice the difference as soon as you  place your weight down through the foot. The shock absorbing properties of the foot will have returned.

If you suffer from Trigger points rehabilitation exercises such as rolling it out on a ball, and stretching will be painful and consequently achieve nothing. However after the removal of Trigger points the foot will benefit from rehabilitation exercises.

Dene’s own personal experience suffering from Plantar Fasciitis:

 ” I bought a pair of shoes on sale that were too small for me,  wearing them gave me Plantar fasciitis in my right foot. A very low point in my life, I got depressed and started to gain weight as I stopped running and I couldn’t  walk very far.

I tried Physiotherapy – which was ultrasound and some stretching exercises. Nothing happened when I stretched the foot it was completely bunched.  I then went to an Acupuncturist, the first two sessions he scraped down the arch of the foot with the end of a cow horn, which was excruciatingly painful. On the third treatment after breaking down the area, he used acupuncture needles right into the crystals he’d been previously scraping over.  The needless worked, after such a good result and positive outcome, I studied Dry Needling and qualified in 2006 (I didn’t do the cow horn scraping course!) The arches of my feet are a lot stronger now from Bowspring Yoga techniques, which I also teach.”