One of the most debilitating conditions treated at AnatomyPT is heel pain, otherwise known as “Plantar Fasciitis”.
Patients arriving with heel pain reported trying multiple other therapies and healthcare professionals and reported having the condition for longer periods of time than any other condition.
In fact, patients with heel pain had usually already tried at least three other treatments before they began healing at AnatomyPT.
Other treatments that had failed to make any difference included wearing a boot for six weeks (the boot of shame!). So unfair and a waste of time.
NB: in fact wearing a boot to treat the heel pain symptoms will actually make you worse in the long-term. Why? Because not only does wearing a boot not treat the specific cause of heel pain, it actually promotes muscle atrophy wasting or shrinking of all of the foot and ankle muscles and limits/excludes the patient from participating in physical activity which is detrimental for both mental and physical fitness… crazy! Don’t wear the boot!
Other ineffective treatments include:
- Massaging in the bottom of the foot
- Graston technique to the tendons (ouch)
- Prolonged rest
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory’s, including Advil, Aleve and prescriptions
- Injections- weaken tendinous and ligamentous structures, not treating the cause
- Electrical stimulation
- Night splints
- Shockwave therapy
- Heel braces and bandages
- Generic stretches
- Non-custom made orthotics
So if you were thinking of trying these treatments please let me help you save time, money and pain!
Heel pain falls into three major categories:
These different heel pain diseases appear in the population at different age ranges but, interestingly, are all manifestations of one single underlying common cause:
Dysfunction of the calf complex- In other words, A TIGHT CALF!
Example of each:
- 11-year-old boy with sever’s disease, Soccer player who was put into a boot
- 37-year-old accountant with Achilles tendinitis jogs on the weekend
- 42-year-old housewife with plantar fasciitis who just wants to walk the dog
- 37-year-old Colombian Woman whose calf implants went wrong
Each is a distinctly different diagnosis, with slightly different locations of pain, however they all share the same underlying cause.
The Calf muscle is unique, as it has 2 powerful heads merging into a single tendon, (the Achilles tendon) and attaching at just one place – the HEEL BONE.
The calf is one of the only muscle groups that is so powerful it can not only lift your entire body weight on its own, it can also accelerate your body so quickly that you can momentarily launch yourself against gravity, other wise known as jumping!
In fact the calf is so powerful that in Sever’s Disease the calf is stronger than the immature heel bone and to a certain extent it actually starts pulling the heel bone growth plate apart!
In Achilles Tendinitis the calf is so strong that the Achilles becomes overloaded beyond its capacity and becomes inflamed.
In Plantar Fasciitis the Calf pulls on the heel bone so hard that the fascial attachment at the front of the heel bone becomes so taught and overloaded that it becomes inflamed.
In each case we see that the strength of the calf and excessive tension in the calf is the cause of the dysfunction. This is the same reason why it is so difficult to treat. Just stretching the calf alone will have limited, or no impact on heel pain.
Although ultimately stretching and down regulating the tone of the calf complex is the goal, the muscles sheer strength and resilience to deformation is a road block to success. Stretching alone just can’t overcome the strength and tightness of a dysfunctional calf complex.
So what can you do?
The secret is in how you trick the calf to release so that it can be stretched effectively – and take pressure off of the heel bone. This requires a very specific style of soft tissue release at the calf muscle and then an immediate leveraged calf stretch.
Because I am so passionate about sharing my unique and highly effective solution for heel pain with you, I have developed the CalfPRO® , to alleviate tension in the calf complex and permanently maintain a pain free heel. The CalfPRO® is the only calf stretching device in the world that can comfortably fix the heel in place and allow a leveraged stretch of the calf muscles.
CalfPRO® is currently available for treatments in-office at AnatomyPT.