Building my own modality for chronic Plantar Fasciitis

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Hi All,

First I would like to give a little background about what I have experienced and tried so far. I started experiencing mild arch pain in October of 2012. At this time I was very active playing tennis and working out nearly every day ( I was 6ft male 29 and 175-180 lbs). I ignored the pain and over the next several months it stayed with no substantial change. I then began reading about plantar fasciitis and started stretching and bought some otc shoe inserts... this seemed to make stuff worse and I ended up with pain more at the front of my heel. By February 2013, the pain became much more severe and I began a long and ineffective process of trying to solve it. this consisted of buying z-coil shoes, getting two different sets of custom orthotics fabricated, buying various night splints, icing, nsaids, compression and padded socks, other shoes, going barefoot only, only wearing shoes, resting, standing a lot. None of these seemed to help. I recently tried ESWT; however, this only resulted in mor epain... it has become worse since this treatment. Now, I am tired of consulting orthos podiatrists, gps, physios... They do not seem to have more than a superficial interest or knowledge in getting this problem resolve (fair enough because they are just people too). I have scoured medical literature and begun to build my own treatment plan. I feel that I have a much better chance of fixig this problem myself and I suspect that is true for some of you as well so here is my plan:

Iontophoresis: a number of studies have indicated positive results with iontophoretic application of acetic acid (vinegar). This is probably because some instances of pain in pf arise from accumulation of Ca precipitates in the inflamed tissue (precursor of heel spurs). This may be dissolved and carried away by the blood stream if acetic acid is applied. I am going to use white vinegar as the medicine and self administer through iontophoresis using 2 or three 6v batteries (plenty of plans and videos describing how to make these for people who are trying to treat excessive sweating). I have not decided yet how long or how many times a day to perform this treatment... am thinking once per day and 20-30 minutes in undiluted vinegar.

Full rest: I am going to go to crutches and avoid all weight bearing on the affected foot for at least the next 2-3 months. I think this is a critical step in the treatment and probably the hardest to achieve.

I am going to use an EMS unit to stimulate muscle contraction in my feet to minimize atrophy while not weight bearing. I expect to do this 2 times per day every day for 60-90 minutes.

I while institute a stretching regime that will consist of moderate tension on the faciaa and full movement of my foot. Stretching will be at least two times per day.

Severe weight loss: I know lots of people (myself included) have a hard time with this but it is actually really simple. If you really want to stop your pain you have to be committed. Every time you feel hungry, you should feel happy that you are making progress. STOP eating all the time because there is nothing else to do. I will lose weight until I am down to 140-150 pounds. You guys can do it too.

Exercise: Let me say that I hate swimming. Everyday I am going swimming. EVERY day. This will help the weight loss, help the mind, and provide an environment to test partial weight bearing and water walking as my treatment progresses.

Additional: I am still contemplating getting a prp injection for this treatment regime as well. I would do this in 2-3 weeks. Am consulting the podiatrist about this right now.

So... anybody else have any suggestions for this treatment plan? Any questions regarding it? Any advice? Good luck to all of you people who are dealing with this miserable condition.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Wearing a PF boot at night provides mild stretching while you sleep and has helped me.
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  • Posted

    It is better but not perfect yet. I have resumed walking and don't normally have any pain but still have a stretching sensation in my foot and I have not resumed running or heavy impact sports. I am going to stick with it without any change for the next couple months and then I will be adding some additional treatments if I am not seeing continued progress. Best of luck... 5 years is a long time to have any condition like this.
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    • Posted

      AMEN Brother! It definitely is. 8 months is a long Tim too for that matter. Mama never warned me about this..... (weak smile)
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  • Posted

    Have you tried aircast airheels?  I suffered for over a year before discovering these online.  They cost £50 each including postage but are worth their weight in gold.   Made of lightweight neoprene they have an air sac under the foot and one around the achilles tendon area.  These two airsacs are connected by a small plastic tube. As you walk air moves from one sac to the other.  I took one look at them when they first arrived and almost sent them back without trying them.  Thank goodness I didn't.  I had tried various heel shoe inserts from a well know chemist, sports physio, acupuncture (absolutely agony without any benefit) none of which did any good whatsoever.  Aircast airheels, absolute bliss for me from the first few steps.  If I am away from home overnight they are in my luggage as the thought of a return of the dreaded PF is too horrendous to contemplate without my aircast airheels being immediately available.  Although full blown PF has been at bay for several years now for me if I get a twinge and think it may be coming back then I wear the heels for a few days.

    A word of warning about swimming.  I am a keen swimmer but doing a lot of crawl -either  front or back - can cause the calf muscles and achilles tendon area -which are connected to the plantar fascia - to tighten up.  I would recommend a few calf stretches every few lengths.  I speak as a retired PE teacher.  Breast stroke if done with correct foot and ankle movement has a built in calf stretch.  I am lucky that I have a mile and a half walk to the pool I use so I walk either side of my swim sessions which I think helps keep the muscles stretched.

    In addition to the above, once the PF is at bay I feel it is important to walk every day to help stop the muscles, tendons etc from tightening up.  I aim for no fewer than 5,000 steps and prefer to br closer to 10,000.  I wear a pedometer that hangs in a trouser pocket specifically for that purpose.

    The weight loss idea is a good one.  After being diagnosed with a badly arthritic knee I decided to lose 2 stones - although I have never been overweight.  Being  within a stone of the lowest advisable weight for my height has made a tremendous difference to my knee and, I suspect, my feet.

    I, also, feel footwear is important.  A chiropodist once told me that trainers are the best unisex shoe ever invented.  I understand not everyone has the luxury of being able to wear those in their working life.  Proper walking shoes are agood alternative.

    Hope this helps.

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  • Posted

    If ESWT made the condition worse it is generally for two reasons either the Pt has heel spurs or the ESWT loosened the fascia allowing the arch to drop. This is normally solved with a padded orthotic.

    Remember the only reason this condition starts is because of a change in the mechanics of how the foot is stressed.

    The approach you have chosen is a novel one and I would be interested to know the results. I would recommend that you introduce an orthotic into the programme to stop repeatable over stress to the PF.

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