By Dr. Nicholas Pagano, Podiatrist
Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of a ligament that extends from the heel to the forefoot and is responsible for maintaining the integrity of your foot structure its main job is to maintain your arch. It’s extremely important. When you experience tearing and inflammation, every step you take can hurt.
What patients will experience is they will experience pain when they’re walking. A lot of patients will report pain after a period of rest.
One of the major common complaints is, “by the middle of the day I feel fine, but my God, if I drive for while or even when I wake up in the morning, it really hurts.”
What basically is happening is you get small micro tearing of the Plantar Fascia in that area, so you’re dealing with a couple of things.
One thing that you’re dealing with is a musculoskeletal injury. The Plantar Fascia has some tearing and you become inflamed, that inflammation causes pain. It also can put pressure on a nerve that runs right there, that’s why Plantar Fasciitis pain is like none other, because it has a component of nerve entrapment, it also has that musculoskeletal injury.
If you’re having a strain to your arch, either with a foot position or an injury, or tightness in another location, you can get inflammation around the area of your heel.
Sometimes if the Plantar Fascia, or the lower extremity muscles, are tight, a spur can form. That spur is a result of the tightness of your Plantar Fascia.
The other thing that can sometimes happen is that pain can go along the fascia, so a patient will complain about pain and tenderness along the sole of their foot.
These are all real common signs.
So, what can you do to effectively treat heel and foot pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis?
Treatment consists of stretching, rest and supporting any foot deformity that may cause your issue. Injections can be helpful and physical therapy has been wonderful for my patients. But I have something new… EPAT Therapy!
When it comes to treating Plantar Fasciitis and the pain it causes, EPAT which is also called Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is diabolical in its treatment, it’s extremely effective.
EPAT comes in and basically what it does is it begins the healing process around the tearing of that ligament. It also helps cool down pain. By cool down, I mean it decreases the pain response that you feel and it helps stimulate that healing.
The EPAT Therapy in conjunction with correcting whatever medical issue is causing it is the key to success at treating Plantar Fasciitis.
What is EPAT, also known as Shockwave or Extracoporeal Sound Wave Therapy? It is the most advanced and highly effective non-invasive treatment method based on the use of pressure waves that stimulate healing in areas of injury (like the plantar fascia) by enhancing blood circulation to speed up the healing process. Damaged tissue is able to reform and heal using this form of acoustic wave therapy.
This is a great option to avoid steroid use, limit non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (to avoid side effects) and allow patients to continue to live their lives while healing.
Most often one appointment a week and a range of 3 to 7 treatments is all that is needed for total for recovery. The treatments are short in duration taking between 15 to 30 minutes at a time.
This new EPAT option has made such an incredible difference for my patients and it can for you too.
What I would say to someone suffering from top of foot pain, bottom of the foot pain, heel pain or ankle pain about looking into EPAT as a possible treatment option, it’s all about your quality of life. In the world that we are in today, it’s a 24-hour newsreel, people are on the move. People need to keep moving.
Instead of limping your way through your injury and pain hoping that it goes away, you can take the steps and actively take control of your own health. Exploring treatment options such as this can lead to a more fruitful life, a pain-free life, and just a happy life.
Personally for me as a physician that’s really what I want to do, I just want to make people happy.
You deserve to get better!
*If you would like some information about using EPAT to treat heel and foot pain or to locate an experienced physician in your area contact us. If you are located near Plymouth Meeting, PA you can call our office Barking Dogs Podiatry 484-681-9484.