What Is Plantar Fasciitis or Heel Spur Syndrome?
Heel pain is usually present during the first few steps in the morning and tends to ease until the next time the patient rests, sits or drives and tries to stand on their feet. Many patients describe this pain as "a hot knife being pushed into the bottom of my heel." If left untreated, pain can become constant, even hurting when at rest. For some patients, the pain is so severe that they can no longer participate in certain normal activities such as work and leisure activities. Achilles tendonitis hurts in the back of the heel and can hurt first steps in the morning, more as the day progresses and after walking or playing sports. Quite often, Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis occur together.
What Causes It?
Plantar fasciitis (heel pain) is caused by a mechanical imbalance in the foot called overpronation which causes the foot to roll in towards the arch and big toe joint. There is a very strong, fibrous band on the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia inserts in the heel bone and then spreads out and joins the toes. When the foot rolls in (over pronates) the band must try and stretch, but it cannot, therefore, the fascia pulls at its insertion at the heel bone which causes a small tear and swelling, hence pain. Over time, as the fascia continually pulls, it pulls away at the bone causing a heel spur. The size or presence of a heel spur does not always correlate with the amount of pain. One can have a heel spur with the absence of pain and vice-versa!
Radial Soundwave Therapy (RST) is the best solution for those who suffer from heel pain. Often called heel spur syndrome this painful condition can now be treated quickly and effectively. The new Radial Soundwave Therapy was introduced to Podiatry in Toronto and throughout Canada in 2002 by Hartley Miltchin DPM. Previously, he introduced a surgical procedure to Canada in 1993 called Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy (EPF), using a micro camera to treat plantar fasciitis. The RST procedure is utilized to correct chronic heel pain that afflicts men and women equally. This new treatment is non-surgical, non-invasive, involves no time off your feet and best of all, no anesthetic is required.
Will It Go Away?
This is possible in some patients, however, it will tend to return much worse than the first episode. In most cases, the longer it is left untreated, the more chronic the condition and the more difficult it is to treat. Prescription orthotics are the most important treatment for long-term relief of heel pain. Painful cortisone injections, anti-inflamatory medications, accupunture, physiotherapy, stretching etc only provide temporary relief and not long term.
Radial Soundwave Therapy (RST) combines air pressure and electronics to produce an accoustic (sound) energy with a computerized, controlled frequency. This newer treatment requires no anaesthetic and requires three 3 minute treatments over a 3 to 4 week period. Some patients feel relief after the very 1st treatment! This treatment is non-surgical and does not produce any shockwaves.
Local Effects of RST
Current theories suggest RST accomplishes the following:
- creates an anaesthetic type condition in the painful area
- increases local metabolism by creating new blood vessels to heal the affected area
- releases the body's own natural pain-relieving chemicals, called endorphins.
What Results Can I Expect? Studies have indicated up to an 88% success rate in plantar fasciitis cases. When plantar fasciitis treatment is combined with prescription orthotics, the success rate nears 100%. Although some patients feel relief after the first treatment, others feel relief after 12 weeks or more. A series of 3 RST treatments are used.