Take a moment to consider just how much work that your feet actually do. Most of us, when we think of body parts that work hard will first consider our arms, legs and hands. However, the amount of stress that the average individual places on their feet, over a lifetime, is phenomenal. We’re talking about appendages that are required to support the rest of the body, which is far more massive, and transporting that bulk over a distance of approximately 2,000 miles each year. Unfortunately, we don’t give our feet all that much thought, until the pain starts.
Foot and ankle problems have increased dramatically over the last 30 years. A common example of this type of injury is plantar fasciitis. This injury can occur when an undue amount of stress is placed on the “plantar fascia”, which is the ligament that supports the arch of the foot. The pain that is experienced by the inflammation of this ligament increases greatly when the sufferer gets up to walk again, after a period of rest. The level of pain that is experienced can be quite intense and even debilitating. In the U.S., 2 million suffer from this condition yearly and it’s estimated that 10% of the entire population will experience this condition during their lifetime.
The reasons for the increase in foot issues
There are a few reasons why there has been a surge in the number of foot and ankle-related disorders. First of all, Baby Boomers became far more obsessed with health-related activities than previous generations. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in the amount of stressful pounding that their feet experience, which has led to an increase in repetitive-stress disorders.
There has also been a sharp increase in degenerative disorders of the feet, which has resulted from the increased levels of toxins in the environment and poor diet/nutrition. These include; arthritis, chronic inflammation, peripheral vascular diseases and neuropathies. In addition, the increase in man-made surfaces (asphalt, tile, concrete, hardwood floors, etc.) has forced our feet to deal with walking environments that our feet weren’t originally designed to accommodate.
The problems that traditional treatment approaches face
One of the main problems that come from a traditional podiatrist’s approach to plantar fasciitis therapy is the lack of an integrative approach to the problem. In other words, doctors tend to treat the foot as a completely separate part of the body. However, your foot is connected to the rest of your body. Thus, if you want to treat your foot, then your entire body must be taken into consideration. This is the most effective way to treat foot and ankle problems – which normally can be very difficult to treat.
Different treatment approaches
The type of plantar fasciitis therapy called for, will depend on what is causing the injury, in the first place. For example, identifying an incorrect exercise regimen, and replacing it with a beneficial one, may be in order. There are other types of treatment approaches to consider, such as:
- Physical Therapy
- Orthotic Therapy
- Therapeutic exercises
- Stretching Exercises
Once the initial biomechanical problem(s) has been addresses, then the focus can be placed on healing the injured and inflamed tissue, without having to worry about additional injury to the foot. At this point, we can take other factors into account, such as lifestyle, dietary and environmental influences. For example, you may be directed to closely monitor your diet to determine if you’re consuming too many refined carbs, eating too much protein (or the wrong types) or not getting enough omega-fats and vegetable servings.
Once all the aspects of a complete body plantar fasciitis therapy have been initiated, the recovery process will run a lot more smoothly and you’ll be back on your feet again!