I have been treating patients of plantar fasciitis since I started my clinic a decade ago. At first there were patients mostly coming from the professions that needed long periods of standing, like those of teachers or professors or advocates. Recently, one of my happy patients wrote a testimonial in a reputed daily newspaper and that followed a huge number of patients reaching my clinic to get relief from the most troublesome ailment of their life. Let’s discuss few things about it.
Our feet are made up of almost 25-30 small bones that are arranged in an arch-shaped manner. Every time we put a step ahead, we put our whole weight on a single foot. This weight bearing gets divided at the knee-joint, the ankle-joint and finally the arch of the foot. To keep the bones in place and to add a buffering or spring-like function, we have got a thick fibrous band, called plantar fascia, that extends from the heel bone till the balls of the foot. It not only helps to reduce the impact but also maintains the curvature of the sole. If due to some reasons it gets overstretched or if it gets weak, due to age or poor health, it starts getting inflamed, resulting into the condition called plantar fasciitis.
The radiograph of many patients suffering with this ailment also show a spike like overgrowth at the base of the heel-bone, popularly called as calcaneal spur. It is a result of the normal wear-and-tear of the bone due to walking on it for our life time and the subsequent healing by calcium deposition by the body. Since it’s a repair without absolute rest, it doesn’t attend the smoothness it requires and results into a thorny shape. Presence of such spur can result into an additional bothering factor for the inflamer fascia.
As regards the symptoms, the patient of plantar fasciitis typically complains of excruciating pain in the heel region, especially when s/he steps out of the bed first time in the morning or starts walking after a long period of rest. The pain is so severe that the patient almost limps for some time. The pain gets relieved once you walk a few steps. It also gets relieved with cold compresses. Few patients also get pain if they stand for long time or sit on a high-chair with their legs hanging down.
The usual treatment options are giving some pain-killers or anti-inflammatory drugs, that give a temporary relief. If you are aiming for a permanent cure, the best relief can be obtained by trying out homeopathic remedies. I have been treating patients with homeopathic drugs like Calcarea flur, Valeriana, Natrum carb, Cimicifuga and Rhus tox, prescribed as per their individual indications. Once there is more than 80% amelioration in the pain, one should start doing plantar exercises that should be continued for few years to give a better load-bearing capacity to the plantar fibrous tissue.