The sole and heel of the foot can be an extremely irritating and bothersome area to be hurt because we use our feet so often. Each step can be a constant reminder that our body is not completely healthy.
In order to alleviate the pain, most people will try walking a bit differently in order to minimize the impact of pain on their heel, but this only creates another level of problems either further up the leg or on the other side of the body.
Western medicine often uses anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the pain, but this works only temporarily and does nothing to heal the problem. Most people are given a prognosis that it will take around 6 months to completely heal, but in my clinic, I have seen many patients who have endured pain for well over a year.
Acupuncture is very useful in this particular type of problem because it is so good at reducing inflammation without side effects and in helping the body to repair itself better and quicker.
Plantar fasciitis and Lenoir spur are the two most common causes of pain of the sole and the heel. In plantar fasciitis, there is an inflammation in the plantar fascia, which is the fibrous covering of the tendon that forms the instep of the foot. Small tears appear in the fascia and inflammation results in order to repair the fibrous membrane, but this also creates a sharp, persistent pain in the foot.
This pain is most apparent in the morning when getting up.
The pain can also disappear and then reappear after a period of physical activity. Sports enthusiasts are the most commonly affected with this pain, because they frequently use all the structures of their feet. Sports such as jogging, jumping, skiing, tennis, and aerobic dance create the most risk for this type of injury. Walking or standing for a long period of time on a hard surface can also be a cause. People with flat feet and obese people are frequently affected. It is always a good idea to look at your shoes to make sure that they are not the culprits. One should be particularly careful with shoes that have a heel or sole which is too hard. Finally, the normal aging of the plantar fascia can play a major role. This region loses its suppleness with age and is susceptible to tears.
If the plantar fasciitis is not properly treated quickly, a Lenoir spur can appear. This is a bone growth where the plantar fascia joins the calcaneus (heel) bone. About half the people who have plantar fasciitis also have a Lenoir spur. Most often, the pain associated with this bone growth is created by the inflammation of the fascia. When the area is healed, the Lenoir spur is still there, but does not cause pain.
Acupuncture is a good treatment option for both these problems as it helps to reduce the inflammation causing the pain.
With proper stretches and massage, acupuncture can help speed up the recovery time and reduce the risk of pain recurring. It can also help to correct any biomechanical imbalances that have resulted from the heel pain.
In my experience, prevention is always the best medicine.
Here is some advice to help prevent the appearance of plantar fasciitis or it returning, because people who have already experienced this pain often continue to have a certain weakness in this area.
- Regularly do exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon and calf muscles.
- Always stretch and warm-up before doing sports.
- Gradually increases distances when jogging.
- Try not to run for long distances on asphalt or uneven surfaces.
- Respect your need for rest.
- Watch your weight.
- Wear shoes that are well adapted to your sports or work.
- Replace shoes that are worn out. Joggers should replace their shoes after about 800 kilometers of jogging.
When there is pain, it is best to reduce the intensity of physical exercise or to choose activities like biking or swimming. It is important not to walk barefoot until the pain has completely subsided. Wear slippers or shoes at home to protect the heel.