Help for Those Suffering from Foot or Heel Pain
You may have plantar fasciitis, a painful condition that is very common in runners or people who stand on their feet for long periods.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia (flat, fibrous ligament tissue) where it attaches to the heel on the bottom of the foot. Symptoms may be pain, stiffness, or an aching burn on the bottom of the heel.
What can contribute to plantar fasciitis are tight calves and Achilles tendons, often due to overuse such as running on hard surfaces,” said David Burchuk, owner of Lighthouse Physical Therapy with offices in Dover and Portsmouth.
“This causes limited ankle flexion that results in a rolling inward of the foot’s arch to compensate, causing excessive soft tissue tension on the plantar fascia.”
Some common traditional treatments for plantar fasciitis are anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications, heel and foot stretches, night splints, supportive shoes and orthotics (shoe inserts) and physical therapy.
“Surgery is needed for severe cases, mostly if there is a bone spur irritating the fascia,” Burchuk said.
It is difficult to manage and can take up to two years to heal without the right treatment.
Julia Landrigan, a 48-year-old woman from Madbury, was experiencing a lot of pain in both feet.
“At the time, I was doing a lot of running,” she said.
Suspecting it might be from the increase of activity, she sought help at Lighthouse Physical Therapy’s Dover location.
She was diagnosed with bilateral plantar fasciitis and a treatment plan was made for her beginning with undergoing therapy twice a week.
She was shortly able to be treated just once a week as she saw a quick improvement of her symptoms.
Lighthouse’s physical therapists are utilizing a treatment that uses neural tension techniques, and it is seeing quicker results than common traditional modalities.
“This is a type of physical therapy that releases nerve track tension, or restriction, by working on the soft tissue of the leg to release the nerves that are instinctively protecting themselves and don’t want to stretch,” Burchuk said.
These gentle techniques can restore ankle movement and allow the foot to heal. This treats the whole leg, not just the foot and ankle. The therapist will spend the 45-minute session of treatment with the patient one-on-one.
Some patients receiving neural tension technique, combined with kinesiotaping, are seeing results within the first month or two.
Kinesiotaping uses a soft elastic tape that helps to decrease tension on subcutaneous fascia, lymphatic vessels and blood vessels.
Burchuk said with the neural tension techniques his therapists employ, many of his patients don’t have to “wait it out” for up to two years and can get back quicker to doing the things they love to do.
Landrigan said she saw an improvement after just two sessions. “The therapist noticed my hips are out of alignment,” she said.
By working on the whole leg, Landrigan was able to have better posture and balance correctly on her feet. She also had kinesiotaping in the beginning and was taught how to do some stretching of the foot at home to relieve the painful symptoms.
“I also cut sugar out of my diet at their suggestion,” Landrigan said. “It is an inflammatory, and I feel this, too, helped.”
Another Lighthouse patient, Paula DePlanche, said she tried many different treatments for plantar fasciitis of her left heel.
“I’m a certified public accountant and sit a lot during the day,” said the 50-year-old woman from Dover. “I’m sure my alignment isn’t that correct from sitting.”
DePlanche said she definitely felt a release of the nerves that were contributing to her heel pain while receiving treatment at Lighthouse Physical Therapy.
“Their gentle approach also helped with neck pain I was having,” she said. “It’s a very holistic treatment.”
DePlanche said her physical therapist also suggested dropping gluten from her diet, which may have been causing some inflammatory responses.
“While I haven’t given it up completely, I try to watch what I’m eating,” she said. “I also find that by taking long walks four or five times a week, it helps keep my heel pain under control.”
We are proud to have our practice featured in Seacoast Online discussing Text Neck, written by Suzanne Laurent…