Plantar Fasciitis – What Is It and How Can We Treat It?
What is it?
Plantar Fasciitis is a condition causing pain and inflammation in your feet.
It is characterized by an inflammation of the ligament (the Plantar Fascia) that runs along the bottom of your foot – the Plantar Fascia. This ligament stretches from your heel to the ball of your foot.
This tissue is extremely important in managing your balance and also acting as a shock absorber when you walk, and is usually able to recover from the general wear and tear of everyday life. However, too much damage to the ligament can cause extreme pain and discomfort known as Plantar Fasciitis.
What causes it?
Plantar Fasciitis occurs when too much pressure is placed on the feet, therefore causing significant damage to the Plantar Fascia ligament on the bottom of your foot.
You may be more at risk of Plantar Fasciitis if:
- You are overweight or obese, or have suddenly gained weight
- You are a runner or use your feet for long periods of exercise
- You are on your feet for long periods of time
- You have pre-existing foot problems
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis can be:
- Pain & stiffness around the heel of your foot (can be sharp pains or dull aching)
- Some redness or swelling in the same area
- General stiffness and the inability to flex your toes back and forth
How can I treat it?
There are several treatment options out there including trying orthopaedic footwear and sole inserts, using a TENS machine, acupuncture, physiotherapy and generally trying to stay off your feet for 20-30 minutes a day until the pain begins to subside. All treatments should be discussed with your doctor and a correct diagnosis should be reached before self-treating at home.
If you do decide to use a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine for pain relief, see our quick guide below:
1. Determine the location for the electrodes:
Use a set of four electrodes on the affected foot: one pair on the left and right sides of the heel and another pair near the arch of the foot. Since you’re working with such a small area of the body, great care should be used when placing the electrodes. Alternatively, you can use an iSock to stimulate the whole foot without the need to place electrodes yourself.
2 .Verify that the TENS machine is turned off, then place the electrode pads, making sure they are placed at least one inch (2.5cm) apart, or put on the iSock.
3. Turn on the TENS machine. You should begin to feel a slight tingle in your foot, which will subside shortly as the area becomes acclimated to this setting. You may need to turn it up slightly after this.
4. Select the Programme in which the TENS machine will deliver the correct pulse. For plantar fasciitis, you’ll probably use a continual rate of delivery – Programme A or D.
5. Let the TENS machine deliver the pulse to the foot, stimulating the muscles and treating the pain. Depending on your treatment plan, you can the machine running for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours per day – slowly reducing your sessions as you recover.
In conjunction with the TENS treatment, we suggest that you regularly rest the affected foot to encourage quicker recovery.
If you have any questions on Plantar Fasciitis or our range of TENS machines, please feel free to contact us.