Heal Your Heel Pain

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The foot and ankle is an area of the body that takes a beating with

almost every physical activity. Most sports produce varying degrees

of high-intensity stress on the foot and ankle as the athlete twists,

turns, starts and stops. The foot and ankle design is actually quite

complex, with many different interconnected bones, joints, ligaments,

and tendons which must work in a coordinated fashion to allow

flexibility while providing stability.

There are many connections within the foot and ankle that can be

injured by specific events or may wear out over time. When you have

foot and ankle pain, it is literally announcing its presence “every step

of the way”. One of the most common structures that is injured in the

foot is the plantar fascia.

The plantar fascia is a large connective tissue structure that runs from

the heel to the toes along the sole of the foot. It provides a spring

structure to support the arch of the foot and store energy with every

step. Enormous forces are applied throughout the plantar fascia, and

painful tears can occur. Pain can develop anywhere along the fascia,

but the most common sites are at the heel and within the middle of

the arch. This is commonly called “plantar fasciitis” which suggests

that it is an inflammatory condition. However, most experts now

conclude that plantar fasciitis when present for 3-6 months or more is

usually not just inflamed but is more of a degenerative problem.

This distinction is important, because if the structure is simply

inflamed, then steroid injections will resolve it. However, in many

cases, when the condition is more degenerative in nature, there are

tears and other significant structural injuries, and steroid injections

will not resolve the pain permanently. Pain from an injured plantar

fascia structure can improve with…

• specific stretching techniques

• use of properly fitted insoles and shoes

• changes to the exercise program.

Sometimes the pain is associated with tight hamstring muscles and

other imbalances in the legs and pelvis, and these may need attention

from an experienced physical therapist or chiropractor.

The most consistently successful treatment for persistent heel and

plantar fascia pain uses growth factor injections to stimulate healing

of the damaged connective tissues via a process called

prolotherapy, which has been used for over 70 years to heal pain

throughout the connective tissues of the body. An advanced form of

this technique uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which inspires a

growth and repair process to stimulate your body to heal the injury

and create new, stronger, healthier connective tissue where you need

it the most. These techniques provide a permanent, healthy, natural

method to restore the damaged tissue back to its flexible, strong,

stable structure, allowing the athlete to resume sports uninterrupted

for the long term.

If you or a loved one has challenging foot or ankle pain, you should

consider regenerative medicine techniques such as prolotherapy/

platelet-rich plasma to stimulate a natural permanent healing

response and “put your best foot forward”.




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