Thursday, July 6, 2017
Has your foot ever hurt so much that you could hardly walk on it? Have you been experiencing a sharp pain in your heel? If so you just might be a part of the four to seven percent of the population that is afflicted by a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic condition characterized by sharp pain in the bottom or heel of the foot. The pain is usually the worst when first waking up in the morning, and after sitting for prolonged periods of time
This conditioned derives its name from how it affects the plantar fascia of the foot. The plantar fascia is a thick aponeurotica its primary function is to support the arch of the foot, and assist with walking by stretching so that the toes can be flexed when walking. The suffix itis would suggest that the condition has something to do with inflammation, however this has been proven to be inaccurate. In the last decade or so research has discovered that this condition is actually caused by micro tares in the fascia.
These micro tares can cause the fascia to tighten which leads to pain. The fascia can become torn by; overuse of the foot in the case of runners, standing for prolonged periods of time, tightness in the gastrocnemius muscle that can because by wearing high heels for prolong periods of time, or by overworking the gastrocnemius. Bone spurs in the bottoms of the feet can also cause this condition when the spurs grow larger enough to be able to stab into the fascia. People with flat feet have a higher chance of developing plantar fasciitis. Lastly obesity will also increase your risk of developing this condition.
Chinese medicine would say that this condition would be caused by insufficient kidney and bladder chi, because those meridians are on or close to the foot. Since the kidney and the bladder are a part of the water element there is could be an imbalance of the earth or metal chi. Since the earth is what controls the water element if the earth is to strong it will weaken the water, and since metal feeds water if metal is weak then the water chi will be starved. These imbalances can be caused by, eating to much or not enough of a particular type of food, seasonal changes, or being in a particular mood for too long.
Western medicinal treatments for this condition include: pain medication, non steroidal anti inflammatory to manage inflammation, Extracorporeal shock wave therapy which uses high amplitude shock waves to reduce pain and decrease recovery time, corticosteroids for inflammation control, physiotherapy which involves stretching and strengthen muscles, special insoles for your shoes to help elevate the pressure on the feet, and surgery as a last resort.
The primary treatment for plantar fasciitis in Chinese’s medicine is acupuncture on the bladder and kidney meridians that will increase chi, improve blood flow, and strengthen the sinews. Other treatments could involve changing the diet to incorporate more pungent foods like almonds broccoli and eggs to strengthen the metal element. Another dietary approach would be to eating more sour foods such as oats, limes, and soft dairy to strengthen the wood element.
Deep tissue massage is a very effective treatment for plantar fasciitis it increases the circulation promoting faster healing, it can eliminate adhesion, and it relaxes the muscle thus reliving pain. . Starting with the gastrocnemius apply deep slow strokes paying special attention to the heel were the plantar fascia originates. Its also a good idea to massage along the entire plantar fascia as small fascial tares can cause the surrounding tissues to adhere to the plantar fascia creating localized trigger points. This can be one cause of the disorder. By relaxing the gastrocnemius, and treating the entire plantar fascia it increases the odds of treating the cause of the symptoms.