The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes along the sole of the foot. This structure helps to maintain the foot’s natural arch, but also adds force to running and jumping, by stretching and rebounding like a strong elastic band.
Injuries to this area are common, especially in people who do activities that put a lot of load through this area. Long-distance runners and dancers are at an increased risk of plantar fasciitis, but any activity or job which involves lots of time spent on your feet can also give you a higher chance of developing it.
Plantar fasciitis typically presents with the following symptoms:
- Sharp pain on the sole of the foot near the heel
- Pain which is worse on the first few steps after a period of rest, or first thing in the morning
- Symptoms that typically ease during activity
- Pain that can also come on after long periods of standing
Why current treatments fail
Painkillers – While they can be useful to allow you to get on with certain activities, painkillers are simply masking the problem – rather than solving it. It is usually fine to take painkillers for a short period of time, but long-term use can be difficult for the body – particularly the digestive system, so it is best to avoid this if possible.
Stretching – The cause of plantar fasciitis is very rarely a lack of flexibility, so stretching is unlikely to solve the issue. This is backed up by evidence that shows incredibly limited benefit from stretching alone.
Surgery – Very few people require surgery for plantar fasciitis and it should be considered only as a last resort. Although effective for some, there are many cases where this can actually make the pain worse.
Plantar fasciitis can be a difficult condition to treat, especially for active people, as repetitive use of the foot (walking, running etc) tends to keep it in a state of constant irritation. Strengthening of specific areas of the foot is beneficial, and very helpful for preventing further episodes, but trying to strengthen a painful area can be very challenging. Our Magnetic Shockwave Therapy (MST) desensitises the nerves in the foot, giving you immediate pain relief, and opening a window for you to begin to strengthen.
How it works
MST works by delivering repetitive bursts of electromagnetism into the foot. This acts in two main ways:
- The signals interact with the nerves within the muscles of the foot, causing them to fire and the muscles to contract. These pulsatile contractions encourage blood flow to the area (promoting healing), as well as improving the foot’s tolerance to movement. The fact that no load is going through the foot means that the treatment is completely painless.
- The sensory nerves within the foot also fire in response to the electromagnetic pulses. These signals travel all the way up to the brain, and have been shown to reduce the sensitivity of the targeted area. This gives both immediate and long-term pain relief.
We love nothing more than seeing people recover from injuries like this, so get in touch to find out whether we can help you. Our friendly team are always happy to answer questions, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more.
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