Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

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Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby Kaelyn on Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:24 am

Heel pain and plantar fasciitis affects nearly 2 million Americans per year. The pain can range from mild to murderous. There is a lot of professional debate about treatment methods, but too many professionals ignore the role of basic foot mechanics.

I am a medical massage therapist with 24 years in the field, my first 5 working for an orthopedic surgeon, doing hip, knee, and ankle injury and surgical re-hab. We simply did not do surgery or shockwave for plantar fasciitis or tarsal tunnel syndrome. We didn't need to. 3-6 sessions, @ 30 minutes per foot was sufficient. Most patients took 4 treatments. No patient we treated in this fashion required surgery in the 5 years I was there. Understand, this is not standard, Swedish, "Calgon!., take me away" massage. It is firm, and VERY muscle specific. You will absolutely feel results your first session, often as soon as you stand up. The pain isn’t all gone, but it IS significantly reduced. Once the course of treatment is completed a few patients, usually those heavily involved in competitive sports, will do a "tune-up" every 6-12 months, but it's uncommon. I am a firm believer in giving people the tools they need to help themselves, which is why I’ve been teaching classes to massage professionals and the public since 1992. It’s why I’m writing and posting this.

Your feet bear active moving loads much more often than your hands. Mother Nature's way of getting you to stop doing something is to swell up and make the activity difficult. We must also consider the wound healing process that is activated every time you have pain. Your body sends building materials like proteins to the site of injury or pain in an effort to stabilize it and prevent further injury. This can cause greatly reduced mobility, adding strain to tendons that already have too much of it, which obviously causes more pain. The crude analogy is that these tendons are much like the bunch of spaghetti that someone threw into a pot and didn't bother to stir. The treatment for tarsal tunnel, is basically to gently separate the tendons, release the adhesions to the tarsal ligament, and then stretch the muscles that drive them. Once this is done, you perform MET (Muscle Energy Technique) to the involved muscles, re-training them to allow proper movement. The treatment for Plantar Fasciitis is to gently release all adhesions in tendons and ligaments throughout the ankle and all the way up to the knee. Then you use lateral techniques (not direct pressure) on the sole of the foot to release adhesions at the tendinous attachments, and through the plantar fascia. Then you do MET to re-train the muscles. Please note that this is the quick & dirty description.

So, what about night splints? Most people sleep with their toes at least somewhat pointed, which allows the tendons in the feet and calves to draw up and adaptively shorten while we sleep. This is why standing up first thing in the morning can be so excruciating. Night splints can be helpful in stretching the calf muscles, and they make it difficult for the plantar fascial tendon to shorten up at night, but it’s only part of the equation. Night splints do not re-program the muscles to keep the longer length. MET does. We discovered the technique in the 40’s and 50’s when we were combating the muscle shortening so prevalent with polio and other types of paralysis. Unfortunately, this great technique with 50+ years of research behind it is too often ignored in the name of prescribing pills, and injecting cortisone.

So what about stretching? Helpful, and very much needed, but you also have to re-train the muscles w/MET. You also can’t get a good stretch if everything is all bound up. Again, it’s part of the equation rather than the entire solution.

So what about orthotics? Again, part of the equation, but not the whole solution. Orthotics artificially reduce the amount the plantar fascial tendon can stretch, thereby reducing the pull on the insertion of the tendon at the heel. This can give the tendon time to heal, but it doesn’t solve the root problem when bad mechanics are involved. Please note: Good shoes with proper support are important for EVERYONE!

So, the next question is usually, "Can I do this at home?" For plantar fasciitis? Sometimes. The only reason this is a "sometimes" is because there are angles that are very hard to reach on your own body. If you have a helper who is willing to follow instructions, it makes relieving plantar fasciitis much easier. If people are interested in specific home massage techniques, I am willing to post a DETAILED guide and "how to". It's long, with diagrams etc. I don't know if I'm allowed to post the URL to my own website here, but if the moderators allow it, I can put the entire thing on my website in a few days time.
Kaelyn
 
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby brooke on Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:35 pm

Kaelyn I would be interested in that massage technique you mention. I've had PF for about 6 months now. I DID invest in the costly orthotics. My feet feel better during the day but my heels hurt when I get out of bed in the morning and when I get up after sitting awhile. I've only been wearing them full time for about a month and I don't know how long their effect takes. I used to have regular massages, about 3x a month, before the economy went down the tubes with all my savings. I also moved into a house a year ago that has tile floors which I never had before. I'm wondering if the lack of massage and the addition of the hard floors is the cause of my problem. I've never had anything wrong with my feet before. I also have morton's neuroma on my right foot. Burns like #&@%. I'm a great believer in massage. I wish I had the money to have one regularly again but if I can do some of it by myself, that would be good too!
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby Kaelyn on Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:12 pm

Brooke,
Go to my website, http://www.kaywarren.org and fill out the contacts page so I have a real e-mail to send it to.This kind of massage is most likely much more detailed and precise than you're used to, and the MET will make all the difference in the world. The heel pain first thing in morning will be helped quite a bit. Just follow the directions, and you'll get through this. Walking on tile when you're not used to it will definitely make things worse. Orthotics help, but they're incomplete. I don't know where you live, but buy a really good pair of sandals, (NAOT, Birkenstock, or Mephisto) to wear in the house until this goes away. They cost about 110-125, but wearing them just in the house means they'll last 3 years or more. I abused my NAOTs for 5 years before I replaced them.

Kaelyn
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby brooke on Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:18 am

Kaelyn, I was getting myofascial massage combined with deep tissue. I miss it. My body is definitely tighter than it was and my thoughts are also more constricted! Feet - grounding!!! I've already been wearing Mephisto sandals for years. I'm sure much of this has to do with having the financial rug pulled out from under me. I'm a believer in reflexology. It's all connected.
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby Kaelyn on Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:05 am

Brooke,

It is all connected. Your therapist has to have a rock-solid understanding of ankle anatomy. The tendons on the inside of the ankle, and all the way up through the calf have to be full released. Deep tissue is only part of the equation, same goes for fascial release, and MET, but when yo put them all together, you get amazing results. I just sent you the self-help file....

let me know if you have any questions.

Kaelyn
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby brooke on Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:39 am

Kaelyn, I tried again. Internet explorer blocks it and firefox gets nothing but a blank page and freezes up :o(
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby Kaelyn on Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:18 pm

Brooke,

Many e-mail servers refuse to accept anything larger than 10 MB, I've managed to shrink it down to just over 5, I'll try again.

Kay
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby brooke on Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:39 pm

Kaelyn, unfortunately my computer couldn't open that one either.
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby Kaelyn on Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:11 pm

Brooke,

AAARGH!!!!! Are you downloading and saving right out of the e-mail or trying to open it within the e-mail. I'm sending through firefox.

Kaelyn
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby brooke on Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:35 pm

Kaelyn, I tried opening it in the email. It froze up my computer both times and when I restarted it, everything was slowed down considerably until I actually deleted the email. Maybe my firewalls won't accept it.
Brooke
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby Kaelyn on Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:44 pm

Brooke,

I don't know what's up with your firewalls. I wrote this myself, there's no malware in it, and no weird code either. I'm not good enough with computers to write code anyway! Can you open the overall e-mail? or is it just the attachement that's a problem?

Kaelyn
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby ginapf on Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:03 pm

Kaelyn wrote:I am willing to post a DETAILED guide and "how to". It's long, with diagrams etc. I don't know if I'm allowed to post the URL to my own website here, but if the moderators allow it, I can put the entire thing on my website in a few days time.

hi kaelyn,

this might be the better way to go, w/ a link to the specific info on your site, rather than email.

i'm interested (never heard of MET!), and no doubt many others reading this forum are, too.

best, gina
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Re: Healing Plantar Fasciitis Without Surgery

Postby petecrawford on Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:34 am

hi kaelyn,

my question is....along with massage therapy, could you use a light ultra sound massage also? my wife has plantar fasciitis and it does seem to be worse in the morning, and in the evening before bed.

thanks,

pete
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Re: Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Postby heyfonzie06 on Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:58 pm

My doctor put me on Feldene over a week ago. The bottle says it may cause drowsiness, but I have been completely exhausted all day, every day. I can't think, I can't work, I have difficulty walking, not just because of the fasciitis, but because of the fatigue. I am wondering if there are any non-drowsy anti inflammatory medications out there. Has anyone come across that?
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