Preventing Plantar Fasciitis
Taking steps to prevent plantar fasciitis rather than trying to fix it after it happens can save you from foot pain and disruptions with your activities. Plantar fasciitis can be difficult to prevent as your symptoms often start long after you've had the condition. In any case, there are a number of things you can do to keep yourself healthy and prevent further damage.
What's on Your Feet?
Wear proper footwear for the activity or work you are participating in - ensure it is comfortable and there is padding, a stiff sole and sufficient arch support (especially if running). If purchasing new shoes leave a 1/2 inch space between your longest toe and the inside of the shoe; try to buy them in the late afternoon, as your feet swell during the day. Properly sized footwear made out of breathable and flexible materials will also help prevent against corns, calluses and bunions (try to avoid vinyl or plastic). Foot devices or inserts may help to ensure support and cushioning.
Treat Your Muscles and Tissues Right
Always warm up and cool down your foot and leg muscles before and after working them, and learn the proper form and techniques for your activity.
Avoid doing too much too soon to give your body an opportunity to build up its endurance. This is especially important when participating in a new activity. Gradually increase your participation to prevent over-straining your muscles. Also vary your routines and the type of terrain you are participating on to provide relief and avoid over-stressing the same area on your foot. Avoid walking on your toes, up stairs or walking barefoot whenever possible.
Stretching and strengthening exercises will help to keep your feet strong and supple, which will prevent further injuries. It is important to build the strength of your toe flexors, as well as your foot, lower leg and hamstring muscles to ensure proper muscle balances.
Regular endurance activities such as swimming, water aerobics, or biking will help to keep your body healthy and prevent foot tension. Follow this by gently massaging your feet after activities or long periods of standing to ease any tension in your feet.
Do Not Overload Your Feet
Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if required. Your feet carry the load of your body so there will be less stress on the plantar fascia if there is less weight to carry. Eating a balanced diet will help to ensure optimum health.
Stretching your plantar fascia can help increase your natural elasticity of the ligament and prevent tightness in your foot. This slight increase of blood flow to the area will help ease your pain. Tight calf muscles can put added stress on the fascia leading to more pain. Adding calf and plantar fascia stretches to your conservative treatments can offer a slight improvement.
Re-occurring or chronic plantar fasciitis
Scar tissue is a major contributor to re-occurring or chronic plantar fasciitis. During the healing process your body will fill in tears in your fascia with dense, brittle tissue called "scar tissue". The human body will use scar tissue as a temporary solution and will try to build the scar tissue as fast as possible to heal a tear in the fascia ligament. Scar tissue can form fast to bring together the edges of a tear, but working fast doesn't mean that the job's done right. When scar tissue forms it doesn't come together as neatly as regular (healthy) plantar fascia tissue would. Scar tissue fibers will lay down over top of your tear in a cluttered, messy and jumbled up way.
Imagine throwing a bunch of drinking straws in the air... When those straws hit the ground they will land in a random, unorganized way. It even seems silly to think that those straws could land perfectly straight and all in the same direction.
This is how scar tissue works. The scar tissue that forms on your plantar fascia will be unorganized and won't line up properly with the healthy tissue surrounding the tear. This scar tissue will also attach to everything in and around your plantar fascia including the surrounding healthy tissue as well. This can result in a long-term fusing together of your ligament that stiffens your foot reducing your range of motion and strength. Making your condition even more painful!
Plantar Fasciitis Treatments
Conservative treatments are the best way to treat plantar fasciitis. However, it can take months to years to heal depending on your situation and commitment to treatment (6 weeks to 8 months or longer). To improve healing time and treat your pain naturally, cold compression therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ are recommended. More than 90% of people with plantar fasciitis will improve within 10 months of starting a simple conservative treatment methods. (source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
Cold Compression Therapy
When you are experiencing pain, swelling, and inflammation in the bottom of your foot, the step is cold compression therapy. Cold compression therapy reduces tissue damage caused by swelling and inflammation and treats your foot pain quickly.
Cold compression therapy works by interrupting and slowing nerve and cell function in the damaged area. This is important because once blood vessels are damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood to the plantar fascia and tissue cells begin to break-down.
Although RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) can help to treat your plantar symptoms, ice and freezer gel packs reach temperatures so low they can cause cryoburn, an ice burn on your skin. The problem is, up until now there hasn't been another option to treat painful conditions and injuries, so ice and freezer gel packs have been the only choice.
Fortunately, you no longer have to settle for these ice cold methods that are uncomfortably cold against your skin, provide short term relief, cause ice burns, and numb your skin and underlying tissue beyond feeling so you don't even notice the ice burn until it's too late. This is the ColdCure Technology® Advantage. The Plantar/Spur Freezie Wrap® allows you to treat yourself in an effective, convenient way, and gives you pain relief!
The cooling gel pack inside every Freezie Wrap® have been designed with ColdCure Technology®. The specially formulated gel allows the pack to be supercharged in the fridge, not in the freezer like ice or other freezer packs. The Freezie Wrap® gives you deep cold compression therapy without the risk of 'cold burns' or cryoburn to the layers of your skin. This unique technology, inside a soft and completely adjustable neoprene wrap, gives you comfortable, convenient, and effective cold compression therapy. The specially designed Freezie Wrap® has an adjustable compression band so you can control the amount of pressure that feels good around your foot.
Click here to learn more about ColdCure Technology®
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™
Once inflammation and swelling have been reduced in your plantar fascia, nourishing and strengthening the tissue in your foot is the goal. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) promotes blood flow to the treatment area bringing the necessary oxygen and nutrients to your plantar fascia and other weakened tissue. BFST® speeds up the body's natural repair process for faster healing, softening scar tissue and encouraging the growth of health tissue.
Extremities of the body, like the foot, do not receive much blood flow naturally and when you stop moving your foot because it hurts, you are not creating the natural blood flow it usually receives. With the use of Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ you can increase your body's blood supply to the plantar fascia.
In addition, the fresh blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins (including lactic acid, commonly found in trigger points) that have built up from the injury leaving the area clean and better prepared for healing. Our Plantar/Spur Inferno Wrap® provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief with no side effects.
Keeping your plantar fascia and foot as healthy and strong as possible throughout the healing process will allow you to get back to your regular activities faster. The Plantar/Spur Inferno Wrap®, available exclusively from MendMeShop®, provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
The benefits of BFST® do not end once your foot pain stops! Even when your plantar fascia has healed, your activities can put it at risk of an overuse injury, tightness, or another tear. An Inferno Wrap® treatment before activity is an easy way to warm up the tissues and prepare them for use. Then, end your day with another treatment to prevent tightness from setting in overnight. This incredible healing tool will be the ticket to healthy feet for years to come!
Click here to learn more about BFST®
Dealing with plantar fasciitis can be like
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Using therapeutic ultrasound will soften scar tissue as your body heals as well as breaking down any scar tissue that may have already formed. How? Ultrasound uses a sound-wave to cause 'cellular fraction'; the cells rub against each other to encourage the brake down of scar tissue.
Ultrasound can also administer therapeutic medicines deep into the body through a process called phonophoresis.
For those who suffer from other conditions such as heel spurs or tendinitis, ultrasound can help. With dedication to your ultrasound therapy you can soften the tough and inelastic scar tissue and reduce inflammation.
If you are also experiencing pain in other parts of your body, your plantar pain may be the cause. Plantar fasciitis can lead to other overuse injuries if left untreated. The pain can cause you to re-adjust your posture and change your gait to take weight off your sore foot. This can cause excess strain in your back, knees, hips, and ankles. The Mendix™ Ultrasound System can be used to treat all of your strains and tears, as well as other painful conditions like bursitis, tendinitis, and joint pain. It is a great tool to have on hand for so many soft tissue injuries! Click here to learn more about Ultrasound Therapy
Enhance Your Ultrasound Treatments With Phonophoresis
When using an ultrasound unit, proper conductive ultrasound gel is required. Without it, the sound waves will not transfer into the tissue making the treatment ineffective. Although you will receive all the benefits of ultrasound therapy with standard ultrasound gel, medicated ultrasound gel can multiply the benefits without any extra time or effort. All you have to do is use medicated gel instead of standard ultrasound gel during your treatments.
Here's how it works! The sound waves carry the medicinal molecules found inside the gel deep into your tissue. This process is known as phonophoresis and it increases the healing power of therapeutic ultrasound.
Our exclusive MendMeShop® Lavender Infusion Gel is specially formulated with Natural Bulgarian Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Menthol. These ingredients have been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and relax tissue to speed healing. Now they are available in this incredible ultrasound gel to give you 2 therapies in 1 treatment. You get the benefit of the regenerating sound waves from the ultrasound device itself AND the added bonus of the therapeutic ingredients inside the gel being delivered straight to your plantar fascia where it is most effective to reduce your foot pain and speed healing. And that's not all - our Lavender Infusion Ultrasound Gel is free of the potentially harmful ingredients of paraben, DEA, or dyes.
1 FREE bottle of MendMeShop® Lavender Infusion Ultrasound Gel comes with every Mendix™ Ultrasound System. If you have skin sensitivities or are sensitive to scents, you have the option of using our Non-Fragrant Ultrasound Gel with your Mendix™ Ultrasound System. Just like our Lavender Infusion Gel, it does not contain paraben, DEA, or dyes!
During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your foot until your pain and inflammation settle. With these EASY therapies you will notice great improvement within a few weeks, with most patients seeing some improvement quickly. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results. If you start using your plantar fascia before it has a chance to heal properly (even though it may feel better), you can end up doing a lot more damage than good!