Case Study 3: Foot Pain or Plantar-Fasciitis

Does this sound familiar?

  • You’re crippled with pain in your feet when you stand on them, either in the heel, arch or ball of foot, or combinations of all three.
  • Rest doesn’t seem to help, as the pain seems worse when you get up after sitting, or having your feet up, and it’s worst of all when you get out of bed in the morning.
  • Once you’ve ‘got going’, it eases to a certain extent, but it never disappears, and seems to be getting progressively worse.
  • You might have had the pain diagnosed as ‘plantar fasciitis’.
  • On professional advice, you might have tried resting, gel cushions in your shoes, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory tablets and off-the-shelf orthotics.
  • In desperation, you might have paid for ultra-sound treatment, gone down the customised orthotics route, slept in a calf splint and/or just ended up ‘putting up with it’.
  • You have been told you are a ‘pronator’ and need supportive, stable trainers to prevent ‘pronation’.
  • Now the pain seems to be spreading to your ankle/knees/hips/lower back/shoulders/neck and you instinctively know it’s something to do with the way you’re now walking because of the original pain in your feet, which is still there.
Mr Chatterbox wishes he'd got to the bottom of his persistent heel pain

Mr Chatterbox wishes he’d got to the bottom of his persistent heel pain

And what about the ‘Why’?

Until you know ‘why’ you have the pain, it’s impossible to solve the problem.

Foot pain can come from a variety of sources:

  • Muscle imbalances in your feet – how often do you allow your feet to behave as, well, feet?  In traditional footwear, whether fashionable or not, whether heeled or not, only 2 out of the 34 muscles in the lower leg compartment are working to their capacity.  We all know that if you don’t regularly use muscles they get weaker (think of the withered muscles when a limb finally escapes a plaster cast after the 6 week bone healing period).  Feet muscles form the weight-bearing foundation for your body above them.  You can’t afford for them to be weak.  Support them in stable shoes … and that’s the only logical result.
  • Bone structure of feet – has anyone checked this for you?  30% of the population have a strong gene running through their family resulting in a particular bone structure. This causes a variety of gait compensations, which over time (think of it as a form of long-term repetitive strain injury) often results in foot/feet pain (and ankle pain, knee pain, hip pain and back pain!).  The only way you can solve this problem is to solve the structural issue – anything else is fruitless.
  • The way you move your body over your feet (gait) which could in turn be directly influenced by your choice of footwear, or poor posture or an undiagnosed foot bone structure.
  • Referred pain from a prolapsed lumbar disc.  There are often big clues available here.  So many times I’ve heard people tell me they have Plantar-Fasciitis (PF) but when they’re upright & mobile, it feels better. If the problem is the foot, then being on it would, logically, make it worse – not better!  If standing still makes the plantar-fasciitis worse, but moving eases symptoms, you should be looking a lot higher for the cause of the problem.
  • Trigger points in calf muscles, feet muscles, hamstring muscles, which would be made worse with inappropriate stretching regimes.
  • A ‘forward head’, which sets up a chain of compromises from the base of the skull to the tips of your toes; but which in turn could be initially caused by an undiagnosed foot bone structure …

So what CAN be done?

Until all the possible sources of the pain are found and all the pieces of the puzzle are put together, a logical sequence of treatment cannot be constructed and success will be either partial/minimal or non-existent.

Once again, an ideal ‘Call To Action’ would be a full CHEK assessment, the results of which would offer problem-solving answers to the questions.  The CHEK assessment can also uncover other – less pressing, but nevertheless present – issues, that can then be dealt with simultaneously if desired.

Another option would be to book a C1 Lower Leg Pain Clinic appointment, which would get the healing started and offer enough insight for forward progress.

 

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