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Feldenkrais Method
Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs

An inflammation of the tough broad band of connective tissue (called fascia) on the underside of the foot is called plantar fasciitis. This fascia provides passive structural support of the long arch of the foot, found between its origin on the bottom of the calcaneous (heel bone) running up to the toes.

Various short and long muscles of the foot and ankle provide dynamic support of the longitudinal arch. When these muscles are fatigued by excess standing/walking or over-taxed by excess body weight, the fascia then takes more of the weight than it should. With prolonged or repeated strain the fascia can become inflamed.

Pain is usually felt on the bottom of the foot, closer to the heel. Deep palpation of this area can elicit the pain. (See clip Pf 2) If strain on the fascia continues it may pull the fascia away from the bone slightly. This is called periosteal lifting; and it produces deep pain at the origin of the fascia. Over time the body continues responding by filling in this gap with bone. This bone becomes a heel spur. (See Pf 1) Inflammation needs to be addressed early, to avoid progression of the process leading to spur development and chronic pain. If spurs exist preventative measures can be taken to avoid injury or re-inflammation of the area.

Causes: Excess body weight (don't forget pregnancy); excessive walking, running or standing; fallen arches; wearing shoes that have very little cushion in the sole or that have poor arch support, especially walking on hard floors; walking on one foot during the healing of the other; thinning of the normal fat pad under the heel due to either extreme weight loss, or age; a hard fall onto one's feet or repeated hard jumping.

Treatment strategies:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication if pain is limiting your function. See homeopathic, allopathic

    • Reduce the weight on your foot by limiting your walking, standing, running, jumping.

    • Wear lace up supportive shoes with good cushioning.

    • Don't walk barefoot or wear non-supportive slippers.

    • Wear arch supports.

    • Try a soft heel cushion with or without a hole in the middle of it. Remember to put one in each shoe, so that you don't create a longer leg on one side.

      • Don't wear clog type shoes for a week and see if that helps (wearing high heeled clog type shoes for daily prolonged standing can cause heel pain).

      • Consider taping to support the arch and fascia. It is non-invasive and can quickly take tension off the fascia. (See clip Pf 3).

      • If you have not responded to the above treatment strategies you can get a cortisone injection from your orthopedic doctor. However the underlying cause should be addressed to prevent further episodes.

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MovementWise Christine Inserra P.T.
Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique & Feldenkrais Method
Physical Therapy serving Chicago and the Greater Chicagoland Area