Is it Plantar Fasciitis or Plantar Fasciosis?

For years, the most common diagnosis for common heel pain has been Plantar Fasciitis, a condition where the strong, fibrous band of tissue around the heel bone is inflamed. However, more and more studies show that the pain is not caused from inflammation. 

Now the more common diagnosis is Plantar Fasciosis, which focuses on deterioration of the Plantar Fascia, the ligament that connects the heel to the toes, caused by repetitive stress. This slight difference in causes can make a big difference in how the pain is treated. 

“Patients and physicians do not always think of physical therapy treating plantar fasciosis. We see many patients with this condition and our hands-on approach helps them get better, faster.” - Craig O'Neil, Results VP of Learning and Affiliation

What causes Plantar Fasciosis?

The Plantar Fascia supports the arch and absorbs the stress placed on it when walking. But each time we push off on our foot, the Plantar Fascia tightens, much like a cable, and acts as a lever. If too much stress is placed on the fascia, small tears occur over time, much like the way a rope frays. The structural integrity of the ligament is compromised and it becomes injured even further.  

The condition is most common in middle-aged men and women. Being overweight, wearing shoes that don’t offer proper support, and having high arches can contribute. However, it also occurs in younger people who are on their feet for long periods of time, like runners and other athletes or soldiers. 

How do you treat Plantar Fasciosis?

The most common treatments include stretching, ice, massage, rest, and orthotics, along with ultrasound or iontophoresis, electrical stimulation of the muscles. If the pain is diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis, treatments may include anti-inflammatory injections and oral medications. 

How does Results treat Heel Pain? 

Hands-on, manual therapy, the approach we specialize in, has consistently demonstrated a higher level of relief in patients. Deep tissue manipulation of the foot, in conjunction with a program of exercises, achieves better results faster. 

Manual therapy is the standard of care at all Results clinics. Combined with exercise and education, it is part of a custom-tailored treatment plan we provide every patient after evaluation and diagnosis. If you’ve been suffering from heel pain and are unable to find relief, schedule an appointment for an evaluation. Today, most insurance does not require a referral from a physician for physical therapy. 

“My heel was killing me each morning, as soon as I got out of bed. After a couple of sessions I learned how to take much better care of it.”

Recent heel pain research

Results of a recent study published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy showed that manual therapy and exercise is more effective than traditional physical therapy in treating Plantar Fasciitis and Fasciosis.

Subjects who received manual therapy interventions reported a significant reduction in pain at four weeks and significant improvement in function at both four weeks and six months. At six months, the patients who received both manual therapy and exercise described their symptoms as a “great deal better.” Subjects in the traditional therapy group reported their symptoms as only “moderately better.”

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