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Treating Plantar Fasciitis: Stop Suffering! 

 August 31, 2010

By  Dr. John Vilkelis

 

Plantar Fasciitis is often a difficult condition to eliminate.  People will often try rest, ice and stretching with little success.  However, plantar fasciitis is not a condition that you should have to suffer with – it can be treated.  Stop Suffering!

First I would tell you that plantar fasciitis is less complicated to treat than everyone makes it out to be, but, it takes a consistent effort and some time to heal properly.

According to plantar-fasciitis.org plantar fasciitis is when the long fibrous plantar fascia ligament along the bottom of the foot develops tears in the tissue resulting in pain and inflammation. The pain of plantar fasciitis is usually located close to where the fascia attaches to the calcaneous, also known as the heel bone.  Most commonly people experience heel pain but it may also hurt further away from the heel going towards the ball of the foot.  Pain is usually worse in the morning and improves throughout the day as the fascia loosens up and gets warm.

There are many treatments for plantar fasciitis some are expensive and invasive and others are inexpensive and non invasive.  I would start with the least invasive treatments first since they may work and save you a lot of money and suffering.

The least expensive and least invasive is a series of exercises and stretches you can do at home.  Stretching the calf muscles by leaning your leg forward with the knee straight and then bent will allow you to stretch the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calf.  Doing calf raises on a step so your heel can hang below level will allow you to stretch your calf and the plantar fascia while strengthening the calf.  Using a towel on an uncarpeted surface keep you heel on the ground and scrunch the towel under your foot using your toes which will strengthen the anterior muscle of the lower leg.  Finally, use a tomato can or a can of peaches that should be kept in the refrigerator so it’s cold.  Place the can on the floor and place your foot on the can and roll the foot through the arch of the foot or from the ball of the foot to the heel bone along the plantar fascia.  This will stretch the fascia, massage the swelling out of the fascia and help your foot to maintain the proper arch.

This youtube video shows the proper movement but do not use a tennis ball as this will not cover the area consistently enough to help massage the swelling out of the fascia.

Another youtube video that I like is posted below and it shows you the other exercises I like except the towel crunch. The exercises start at 6:12 in the video if you don’t want to watch it all.  Thanks Dr. Abelson!

This last video shows the towel exercise.  I would try to start with 3 repitions daliy and move up to 5 repitions.  I would not follow the videos recommendation to perform this exercise 3 days per week working up to 15 minutes per day.  I feel that is too much.  Don’t over do it!

In my office I will adjust the foot and ankle as well as perform some soft tissue work on the foot and lower leg.  The proper alignment of your foot is important in resolving plantar fasciitis on a long term basis.  We have been very successful in treating plantar fasciitis even in stubborn cases.

Some people ask me about orthotics for plantar fasciitis.  I do cast orthotics for patients when I think they need them, however they are not necessary to treat plantar fasciitis.  In fact most of the time the orthotics are cast with the foot in an improper alignment and will support the weakness that has caused the fasciitis in the first place.

The last two options are not options I recommend and they are cortical steroid injections and surgery.  I am sure there are cases where these options are necessary but I have not seen any cases like that in 15 years of clinical experience.

Like I said start with the least invasive and work your way up.  Good luck.

Please let me know what you think of this article.  I would love to share your experience.

Dr. John Vilkelis


Dr. Vilkelis has been in private practice for over 27 years. He has a reputation for truly caring for his patients and goes the extra mile to make sure people get the help they need. He accepts patients of all ages and is eager to help you get well and stay healthy. Give him a call today at (914) 618-4330.

Dr. John G. Vilkelis

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  1. I hope you will keep updating your content constantly as you have one dedicated reader here.

  2. You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material

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