Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Options

By Dr. Trent Artichoker

November 9, 2016

From lasers to scalpels and everything in between, there is no shortage of treatment options when it comes to dealing with heel pain and its associated problems. That classic first severe painful step in the morning is the hallmark of Plantar Fasciitis, and your next step may have a role in it becoming chronic.

Plantar Fasciitis treatment options are like box of chocolates when it comes to different providers, and I’m here to help you pick the best the option.

Provider Options in Treating Plantar Fasciitis

Let’s delve into your options in getting rid of this uninvited guest. As a Denver chiropractor, I’ve heard of many stories in how people deal with their heel pain. The first thing that comes to mind with most people is trying to identify the main cause and how to get rid of the heel pain as fast possible.

The home option: This should be the first line of defense and with the help of your pals google and WebMD, you’ll find plenty of home remedies. Some will freely go straight to the nonsteroidal anti inflammatories, and others will flock to the natural anti inflammatories, topicals, and other chemical agents. Neither of these choices really do any good, as your heel pain is a much more complex process than an easy nuke with some NSAIDs.

Other home options usually recommend a home stretching program of lengthening the Achilles tendon. With some cases, this can be valuable as most people with the dreaded PFS (plantar fasciitis syndrome) are overly tight, everywhere. As one of my patients described, “it feels that every muscle in my body is shorter than it should be”. Stretch your achilles, hips, back, and even your neck. There are long strips of fascia in the body that interconnect these areas that needs stretched. A posterior night splint can also help the process.

Besides becoming a black belt in yoga, other usual home remedies include changing your foot wear, ice massaging the heel, and rolling your foot on a golf ball. So, ditch the flops, cool off, and grab a titleist and get to work. This is no guarantee in a quick recovery, but it does make you feel like you’re getting something done.

White coat options: Once your google recommendations have failed, it’s time to up the ante and the heed the advice of the trained professional. Here’s where it gets dicey folks, option overload like a bad mixed up combo meal at the golden arches. You are either going to pick massage therapy, physical therapy, general practitioner, orthopedist, chiropractor, podiatrist, acupuncturists, and don’t get me started on going to your grand master reiki practitioner.

I am a bit biased, as I am a chiropractor in Denver that sees way to many failed treatments for plantar fasciitis. Some chiropractors are not suited for treating your heel pain, as well as all of the other providers, but the right combination of these providers may actually be the best for your recovery.

One observation that I’ve noticed is that most people that have PFS usually have low back pain and issues that need dealt with.  Each one of the provider options carries a level invasiveness that must be considered. Starting with the least invasive is a good bet as I’m not a fan of corticosteroid injections and unnecessary surgeries. Truthfully there are better options and when analyzing the current research, Shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis truly stands out as one of the best options.

Shockwave therapy machines can come in a variety of flavors from cheap table top units to very expensive air compressed units. Providers of shockwave therapy can be rare as the high quality machines are cost prohibitive to clinics. Podiatrists are the most common providers of shockwave therapy for PFS, but you find an occasional lone wolf chiropractor, such as myself that provides this unique therapy option for foot pain.

The difficulty in treating PFS is that it is a condition of degenerative effects that happen over time. It seems like it comes on all of a sudden out of nowhere, but in truth, it is having been slowly percolating for years. The process is one that involves scar tissue build up from repetitive stress. The scar tissue build up prevents blood from reaching the area and thus allowing the area to degenerate. The home remedies are a very temporary fix and until the scar tissue is removed, the problem will keep waxing and waning.

The True Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

Shockwave therapy is a noninvasive safe option that helps break down scar tissue. It also helps stimulate need blood vessel and nerve growth in the area. The shockwave travels into the area and through a series of events creates a mechanical force that breaks that scar tissue. Most cases of heel pain require 3 treatments over a period of 3 weeks, and healing will take place over a period of the next 3-6 months. Pain relief is usually immediate with shockwave therapy.

Other treatment options are usually necessary to help the surrounding tissues up the kinetic chain work more appropriately. This can be achieved with massage, physical therapy, dry needling, active release technique, chiropractic adjustments, losing weight, and changing foot wear. At Denver Chiropractic, LLC we are proud to be the only clinic to offer EMS Swiss Dolorclast Shockwave therapy in Denver.

Treating heel pain can be very difficult, but with the advent of shockwave therapy that produces quick results, your relief is around the corner.

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