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Concerned About Heel Pain? Read This

IS IT PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

The foot is a complicated body part with many bones, joints and hundreds of soft tissue. These many components represent many opportunities for injury and chronic pain. One of the most common foot injuries is plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick tissue connecting the heel with the toes.

Statistics for who gets plantar fasciitis vary, but they consistently are reported at around 1 in 10 people for the general population, for runners, and for people who seek medical treatment for their foot pain.

In treating dozens of patients with foot pain, we have found that those with plantar fasciitis can check off two or more of the following:

  • Heel pain first thing in the morning
  • Over the age of 40
  • Heel pain lasting at least six months
  • Recurring heel pain becoming sharper, more stubborn, or more disruptive of daily activities.
  • Received heel injections or referred by doctor

Home stretching and exercise, such as plantar stretches, may help with heel pain. While exercise and over-the-counter pain meds may help, there comes a point where they stop working as well as before.

In that case, seek physical therapy before opting for more invasive options.

The reason we advocate seeing a physical therapist is not simply that it’s in our name. Rather, physical therapy is non-invasive, which places it at an advantage in terms of the risks for infection, nerve damage, and pain that surgery presents. Additionally, medical researchers consistently find that conservative medical treatments have the advantage of being low-risk and cost-saving.

FINDING A PHYSICAL THERAPIST

There is hope for successful treatment with the right physical therapy, which begs the question: What is the right physical therapy?

This is what we recommend: When you call a clinic to schedule an appointment, ask if the therapist specializes in treatment of the foot and ankle. The receptionist may hesitate and ask the physical therapist, but if the therapist hesitates or says no, keep looking. You want a physical therapist who is using the latest techniques supported by research.

PATIENT EVALUATION

After you find a physical therapy clinic, you’ll schedule an evaluation. At Be Fit, we examine you completely and then take a look at any accidents, injuries or day-to-day activities that may have led to your problem.

THE PHYSICAL THERAPY PROCESS

There are three objectives of physical therapy, no matter the injury. The first two are pain reduction and increasing range of motion. The third is muscle strengthening. Therapists provide hands-on treatment to help restore normal movement. Treatment for your plantar fasciitis could include electrostimulation and manual therapy for pain.

A typical plan of care can last as long as 12 weeks, for a patient to return to full activities with no pain. A minority of patients will need invasive interventions. One study detailed in Orthopedic and Muscle Systems put that figure at 10 percent.

GET HELP

People who handle pain best, handle it early. Foot pain is tricky because it can come and go, but if pain recurs, and if you over the age of 40, seek the help of a specialist to see if there isn’t any serious tissue degeneration.

Long-Time Tech Promoted to PT Assistant

Montel Viudez, Rehab TechnicianMontel, our rehab tech of three years, became a physical therapist assistant in October, working full-time. He earned his associate’s degree from the physical therapy assistant program at Fox College in August.

 

Montel took and passed the grueling licensure exam in October, too. It is notorious for the rigorous security at the testing centers and for the difficult questions on musculoskeletal pathologies and anatomy. The most difficult questions for him were about neuro- and cardiopulmonary systems. “It was very stressful,” he says. “I was always second-guessing my answers.”

 

His new role will differ from the old one in that he will be employing manual therapy techniques (“going hands-on” as we say) in addition to supervising exercises.

 

Montel decided upon Physical Therapy as an occupation during his senior year in high school. Then a defensive lineman and discus thrower, his decision was based upon his love of helping people (and recovery from a femoral fracture for which he spent six weeks in PT).

 

The progress Montel sees patients make during their treatments along with the relationships he forms with them are his reward. He also feels rewarded by the relationships formed over multiple visits.

Wonderful Florida Trip Because of Physical Therapy

Joy was a patient of ours (is. Once our patient, always our patient). She wrote a letter about her visit to the Kennedy Space Center.


April 1, 2017

Hi Mary Lou,

Just a note to tell you that my vacation to Florida was wonderful, and it is mostly due to your outstanding staff.

After weeks of therapy at another facility, I still had significant pain in my hip and leg. I started therapy at Be Fit unconvinced that I would ever be able to live a normal, pain-free and active life. Larissa and Natalie kept assuring me that I would be fine. And they were absolutely right. After just a few weeks, I felt so very good again.

Larissa gave me an exercise plan to continue during my vacation. She included pool exercise. It all worked. I am feeling so well.

Another plus is that my travel companion, a doubting Louis, observed me dong my exercise and decided he would give it a try. He suffered with back pain for years and did not think therapy would help. Well, need less to say, relief for him was almost immediate. (Shall we bill him?)

I am so grateful to you and your dedicated staff. You do wonderful things at Be Fit.

Joy

Pilates Instructor Explains Passion for Whole Foods

Audra, one of our new Pilates instructors, is crucial to our team. She is a certified group fitness instructor, Zumba instructor, and Peak Pilates instructor. In fact, this month she will take an exam in pursuit of the next level of her Pilates certification.

Audra is also quite the cook. She makes homemade meals for her family as much as possible, and it’s not just because she loves to eat.

One of the reasons Audra cooks daily is because that’s how she was raised. A native of Joniskis, Lithuania, much of the food she ate came straight from nearby farms. “I am very lucky to know where food comes from,” she says. She ate fresh bacon and drank fresh milk, and her grandparents taught her gardening. Also, she developed a passion for baked goods from a bakery near her primary school. She would go during lunchtime and buy melt-in-your-mouth pastries for five cents a piece. It’s no wonder that she bakes her own rye bread.

Another reason Audra is very hands-on with cooking is more serious. Eight years ago, her daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The news startled and upset the family. That was when “our journey of finding answers on how to stop disease began,” she says. “I found out and realized so much about unhealthy food and the type of junk that is sold at stores and so on. This illness opened a new page to a healthy way of eating.”

She and her family have tried veganism and vegetarianism. Now she jokes that she has an addiction to greens and vegetables. “I really want to find the right way of eating.”

Weight Loss Workshop for Finally Achieving The Right Change

Weightloss couple standing back-to-back

 

Staying healthy is a big job. Just achieving a healthy weight involves many decisions, the right mindset, and time. That’s why we started a nutrition & weight program. We help people fill in the gap between knowing what to do and how to do it. To help people figure out the right approach to achieve lasting change, we’re holding a Nutritional Weight Loss Workshop on Saturday September 30th, 2017, from 9 am until 10 am. Register now for lasting change.

Arthritis and Back Pain

herniated disc
A herniated disc can lead to degenerative disc disease.

Three issues are the most common cause of back pain: Herniated disc, pelvic disorder, and degenerative disc disease (DDD). DDD is noteworthy because it is a category of conditions and because diagnosis correlates with age.
DDD means that spinal discs decrease in size, reducing the space between the vertebrae. Rarely will a person have DDD which does not cause stenosis and lead to arthritis. Arthritis is joint inflammation. Stenosis is the narrowing of space within the bone where nerves pass. Most people over the age of 50 will have Degenerative Disc Disease, stenosis or arthritis somewhere along the spine.

Symptoms include pain while standing or walking for a long period of time, with relief being found from sitting or bending forward. A sign of DDD is leaning on a shopping cart at the grocery store.

Successful treatments DDD, arthritis, and stenosis include traction, hands-on treatment and physical therapy exercise. This approach gets many people to pain-free or close-to-pain-free, along with keeping the pain from getting worse. Note, too, that relief can occur without long-term medications, injections or surgery!

As always, be sure to ask your doctor about your back pain and, unexplained numbness, weakness, or radiating pain. There is more hope for pain relief the sooner you address it.