Heel pain also known as plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation in the plantar fascia. This is a strong band to tissue that stretches from the heel bone to the middle foot bones and supports the arch of the foot. The cause of planter fasciitis is thought to be repeated small injuries to the fascia. Being overweight, shoes with poor cushioning, recent changes in running or walking surfaces or sudden stretching of the sole.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Pain is the primary symptom, present any where on the soles of the heel. Pain is usually worse first thing in the morning, or after periods of rest. Long walks and sudden stretching aggravate it.
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
Although slowly, usually with time the pain will ease on its own. It can take several months to subside. Conservative treatments include, rest, foot wear with good arch supports, heel pads, pain relief medication and exercise to stretch the Achilles tendon. If these treatments fail then steroid injections may be given and finally surgery in very stubborn cases.
Integrative & Complementary Medicine
Acupuncture studies have shown good benefits for plantar fasciitis. The mechanism of action is through pain control where the pain signals entering the nervous system is inhibited. Insertion of acupuncture needle stimulates the pain nerve receptors which stimulates the secretion of endogenous opiods. In addition, neurotransmitters endorphins, encephalin and serotonin is also released which influences the transmission of the pain signals into the spinal cord and brain, as well as being effective in creating a positive psychological state.
Nutrition: Being over-weight is a risk factor and aggravates the condition. Good levels of nutrients, vitamins and essential fatty acids are important to reduce inflammation and promote tissue recovery.
Aromatherapy & Massage can help the healing and recovery process. Essential oils like, black pepper, ginger and rosemary help to reduce inflammation, while massage may help to ease muscular tension.
Revised: Dec 2014