Saturday, February 28, 2009

Plantar Fasciitis: What has Ice got to do with it?

I had a patient that was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis.

Her doctor had her wearing a restrictive device at night and told her to stay off her feet to recover, which of course for her, was impossible but actually, that is exactly what is needed to repair.

First, I will explain a little about Plantar Fasciitis, so you will understand why, and then
I will give you another option to consider that helped my patient recover...

Fasci"itis" is inflammed Fascia:

Fascia is the connective tissue that for illustration purposes, connects the bone to the tendon, to the muscle, to the skin.

Imagine fascia as the matrix of the body. I liken it to a sponge. When the fascia or the matrix "sponge" is dry, it is unflexible, in fact if you try to bend a dry sponge, it will crack and that is what is happening to your fascia, it is cracking or being injured and becoming inflammed, every time you walk. Why? It can be for several reason...

First, the bone in your foot could have had an external injury, or your fascia could be dry or compressed/restricted and deprived of body fluid to nourish it or keep it flexible (perhaps from improper walking or restricted movement) but more commonly your calf muscle could be tight and pulling on the tendon that connects the muscle to the fascial sheath around the bone.

Generally, I have found that people who love to walk, overdid it one day and now they have this issue.

A little background on bone: when bone is "pulled" as by the tendon pulling on the fascial sheath that covers the heel, or when rubbed together as in a 2 bones rubbing in joint, it actually begins to create more bone, usually this bone substance is not beautiful, it is a little disorganized and can be sharp or pointy depending on the pulling.

This pointy bone then irritates the sheath that encapsulates the heel bone and creates tearing which creates inflammation and it becomes a viscious cycle.

Considering that you now have this plantar fasciitis, (whether or not you are to the stage of having the bony build-up) and that most people are like my patient and cannot simply stay off of their feet, I will offer to you, what I offered to my patient, that eventually corrected her fasciitis:

Ice your calf muscle as often as possible.

When I say ice, this is the most beneficial process...
Ice your muscle until it is numb: first it will feel really cold, then it will burn and feel tingly or hurt/ache, after that stage, you will not feel it, that is numb. Now take the ice off, if you do not take the ice off that will create a loop of inflammation again, so pay attention, it may only take 5 or 10 minutes, but don't go by the time, go by the numbness that occurs after the burning/ache/tingly period.

Now allow the area to warm up, you could massage the calf a little to get the blood to flow in the area again, or wait about 15-20 min and do the icing again if you have time. The way I see it, if you can ice it once a day, that is better than nothing but ideally 3 times in a row, allowing it to warm up in-between is a good starter.

Now, what does that do?????? It releases any contraction in your calf muscle and puts less pulling on the tendon, which then puts less pulling on the sheath around the bone, which stops pulling on the bone and so the bone stops growing more pointing bone "spurs".

But what about the bone that is there??? Actually an age old recipe of rubbing a good castor oil on the area of the heel that is sore and keeping the area warm is what I have found to break up bony deposits. Don't ask me why this works but it seems to do the trick. But before you use castor oil, you might want to talk to your physician as it can also interfere with medication absorption on some level.

My patient, however only used the icing method and some nutritional information I gave her.

As for the dry fascia cause, consider rehydrating your body and rubbing the area around the fascia (not on top of any sore spot) to get blood flowing in the area.

When I say rehydrate, I mean getting some electrolytes or good purified water and an organic, food based mineral, but that is a whole other blog :)

Best of Luck!

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