Welcome to a new series of blogs dedicated to understanding and fixing many common foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, bunions and hammertoes.
The frustrating thing about a foot injury is that it affects almost every part of your waking life. If your foot is injured, it hurts to run, jump, squat, and even go up and down stairs. Every step you take is a constant unfriendly reminder that there is something wrong.
If you’ve ever had foot pain, ask yourself if this story sounds familiar.
Julie is a 40-year-old mother of two. In between her day job and running her kids between school and activities, she somehow finds time to attend her local CrossFit box three days a week. Recently, a few of her training partners decided to sign up for their first marathon. While running had always been a fun hobby for her, it was never something she had seriously trained for until now.
The first few weeks of her running program went off without a hitch. She was running more than she ever had in her life and feeling great. Then things started to take a turn for the worse.
Half way through her third week, she woke up one morning and it struck. The first step out of bed felt like a knife had been jabbed into her right heel. She limped slowly to the bathroom and instantly grabbed some Advil. After walking around the house for a few minutes the pain eventually started to let up and she was able to get on with the rest of her day.
At first, she attributed the symptoms to extreme muscle fatigue. So, she kept running. Unfortunately, the pain continued and worsened to the point where she was unable to run at even a light pace without her foot aching with each step.
Eventually Julie went to see her primary care doctor who listened to her story and said she was likely dealing with “plantar fasciitis.” The doctor wrote her a prescription for an anti-inflammatory medication and to take a few weeks off running to let her injury heal.
After a few weeks Julie had yet to see any significant changes in her symptoms. Her frustrations led her to a podiatrist who gave her a cortisone shot and recommended expensive custom orthotics. He told her if the pain didn’t get better in a few weeks, they could then discuss the potential for surgery.
Have you found yourself in a similar situation?
If you are currently dealing with foot pain, you’re not alone. In fact, in 2014 the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) conducted a survey in which it found nearly 8 out of every 10 Americans have experienced foot pain at some time in their life.4 In fact, doctors’ offices across the United States give the common diagnosis of “plantar fasciitis” to over one million patients every year!1,2
In the past, most in the medical community have focused their treatment of many foot issues by largely trying to reduce inflammation and pain. In fact, one research study revealed that in 47% of visits to physicians for foot injuries during a 5-year period, pain medications (including anti-inflammatory drugs) were the onlyintervention provided.2 This focus by our medical society on treating symptoms rather than addressing cause is one reason why nearly one in every two people diagnosed with this “plantar fasciitis” still have foot pain 15 years after the initial onset!3
What you’ll soon learn is that while there are many types of injuries that can be sustained at the foot, the reason why they often develop is often the same.
Foot Pain (How To Fix ‘Plantar Fasciitis’ and Other Common Foot Problems)
Continue to Part 2: Foot Anatomy 101 (“Normal” Vs “Natural”) or skip around below!
Part 1: Introduction
Part 3: How Shoes Change Your Foot
Part 4: What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Part 5: How To Screen Your Foot Pain
Part 6: Foot Pain – The Rebuilding Process
Part 7: Foot Pain – Should You Wear Orthotics?
Part 8: Foot Pain – What About Steroid Shots? – Coming Soon…
Until next week,
Dr. Aaron Horschig, PT, DPT, CSCS, USAW
Dr. Kevin Sonthana, PT, DPT, CSCS
- DeMaio M, Paine R, Mangine RE, Drez D Jr. Plantar fasciitis. Orthopedics. 1993;16(10):1153-63.
- Riddle DL, Schappert SM. Volume of ambulatory care visits and patterns of care for patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis: a national study of medical doctors. Foot Ankle Int 2004; 25:303-10.
- Hansen L, Krogh P, Ellingsen T, Bolvig L, Fredberg U. Long-term prognosis of plantar fasciitis a 5-to 15-year follow-up study of 174 patients with ultrasound examination. Orthop J Sports Med. 2018;6(3):1–9.
- “Public Opinion Research on Foot Health and Care” American Podiatric Medical Association. March 2014. https://www.apma.org/files/APMA2014TodaysPodiatristSurveyAllFindings.pdf