STATEMENTS ON THIS WEBSITE REFER ONLY TO THE ORIGINAL FasciaDerm® Heel Pain Relief System (in the orange package) which is no longer sold. For information regarding FasciaDerm PFTAPE® contact Mueller Sports Medicine or visit MuellerSportsMed.com. PFTAPE® is a trademark of Mueller Sports Medicine. FasciaDerm® is a trademark of Applied BioKinetics LLC.

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Recovery from Plantar Fasciitis

Our previous articles have been focused on describing the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and to provide an overview of the most commonly recommended heel pain treatments. In this post, we take a look at the process of recovery from plantar fasciitis to better understand it from a biological and biomechanical perspective.

Cure for Plantar Fasciitis

There is only one scientifically proven cure for plantar fasciitis. Unfortunately that cure is time, and lots of it. One study drew this conclusion after surveying a large group of plantar fasciitis sufferers, then followed up on subjects after an extended period of time (over 24 months later). Researchers found that over that timeframe, nearly all cases of plantar fasciitis had been resolved, even those cases which went untreated by participants. It is a common premise that the time required for recovery from plantar fasciitis can be shortened by “rest.” However, for effective results, this means “bed rest” – a no-impact rest that completely removes the potential for re-injury.

Since no stress is placed on a healing fascia during “bed rest,” the body has the opportunity to repair the small tears in the fascia. A complete pause in activity can end the inflammation cycle and bring pain relief. This type of passive recovery model has plenty of benefits – it’s drug-free, low-cost, natural and very effective. However, it is also slow (can take weeks) and so limiting as to be unrealistic for most people. Work, family, social and other obligations have us scrambling for more time to DO things, making bed rest appear to be “out of touch” with the demands of modern life.

When you are in pain, managing a single day can seem like an eternity. Pair that with our desire for immediate results, and it becomes pretty clear that few individuals are in a position to be able to just wait out the pain. It is common for cases of plantar fasciitis to continue for months on end. So what can you do if the sharp pain in the bottom of your foot can easily linger for six months to a year, even with current medical treatments (see comparison of plantar fasciitis treatments)?

For those seeking a ‘quick fix’, painful steroid injections can provide some relief by reducing the inflammation and associated pain. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. If you have inflammation, then it safe to assume the underlying tissue has been stressed, damaged or irritated. Unfortunately, injections are not without risks, and they primarily address the symptom of inflammation, not the root cause of the condition. While these treatments bring pain relief, they wear off and typically need to be repeated in a few weeks’ time, usually with a limit of 2-3 total injections. This is certainly one path to feeling better, but if no other treatment is in place to facilitate healing the patient may be extending his recovery time and missing an opportunity to make significant healing progress. The effectiveness of injections can be increased when combined with a support system (we recommend the FasciaDerm Heel Pain Relief System) which provides protection and support to the fascia, especially during the critical recovery process.

The Problem: Continuous Interruption of the Healing Process

The fascia is a tough connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It is incredibly durable and resilient when healthy. Once damaged, however, the fascia is very vulnerable to re-injury. Under a microscope, the fascia’s physical structure can be described as similar to a collection of bundled fibers (think of a steel cable of rope-like structure). While the structure is intact, stress is distributed throughout the tissue and handled effectively in support of the foot’s anatomy. However, damage to the fascia takes the form of tears in the structure. If nothing is done to limit the stress placed on this damaged tissue, it is common for the fascia to undergo a repetitive cycle of damage and inflammation as activity continues. Even a single step or incident of moderate stress can re-damage newly forming fascia, which is attempting to repair the injured area.

Supporting the Foot

The plantar fascia undergoes tremendous stress during the walking cycle. A peak of stress occurs during the foot contact phase as the arch is flattened by the forces of the body against the ground. This arch flattening is called pronation. Supportive footwear, insoles and arch supports can be helpful in preventing plantar fasciitis by managing stress through this portion of the walking cycle. If your plantar fasciitis was caused by excessive time on your feet, you should invest in supportive footwear. However, don’t expect footwear alone to bring you the fast pain relief you seek. Near 24/7 support of the fascia during recovery from plantar fasciitis is essential to breaking the cycle of damage and inflammation (i.e. this includes the portions of the day when you are not even wearing shoes). FasciaDerm is compatible with orthotics, insoles and all footwear.

Stretching of the calf muscles and weight loss are also helpful preventative measures. However, stretching the plantar fascia during the healing process risks re-damaging newly formed fascia, which can delay recovery from plantar fasciitis. We suggest avoiding any activity which can re-damage new tissue during the early phase of recovery, including fascia stretching or aggressive massage techniques. If you have a night-time splint or stretching device, stop using it now. You can potentially re-introduce it as part of a prevention or maintenance program once your bout of plantar fasciitis is over.

For many (particularly athletes), the maximum and potentially most damaging stress on the fascia occurs during propulsion, or the heel lift phase, of the gait cycle. Insoles, arch supports and heel pads do little to reduce the stress on the fascia during heel lift. Clearly, stress through the full walking cycle needs to be effectively managed to ensure a timely recovery from plantar fasciitis. FasciaDerm is compatible with, and can increase the effectiveness of the support provided by orthotics, insoles, heel pads and footwear. FasciaDerm also provides vital protection to the fascia during the portions of the day when no shoes are being worn. FasciaDerm can be worn for up to 24 hours per day (even during sleep) to provide support and protection through all load bearing hours.

For a timely recovery from plantar fasciitis heel pain to occur, a continuous, uninterrupted condition of low plantar fascia stress must be maintained.

For most people with plantar fasciitis, the telltale symptom of this condition is the pain experienced when taking a step after a long period of rest (or sleep), due to severe inflammation of the fascia. The inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to injury. It is necessary to stop the cycle of continuous tissue damage in order to alleviate inflammation and relieve the pain.

The Origin of the FasciaDerm Heel Pain Relief System

FasciaDerm has been developed from the ground up to provide all-day support to the plantar fascia, in order to create conditions (similar to bed rest) conducive to a rapid recovery from heel pain. It is common for FasciaDerm users to report an immediate feeling of support and significant pain relief within just a few days of use. To achieve lasting heel pain relief, typical use of the product is in the range of 9-18 days*, making FasciaDerm a cost effective solution for plantar fasciitis heel pain. The actual treatment period will vary from patient to patient. We recommend that use of FasciaDerm is continued for a period of 6 days (or more) after the pain has subsided to allow newly formed fascia to strengthen to better resist re-injury. Many active people, including walkers, hikers and travelers use FasciaDerm to protect their fascia during periods of increased activity, as a preventative measure. If you are prone to plantar fasciitis, FasciaDerm is great to keep on hand as it can be used from the moment you first experience pain symptoms.

“This is a GREAT product!!! Product was received without delay. By the end of day two I walking with very slight pain. I was pain-free by the end of day three. I started running again on day 10. I probably could have started running sooner, but I chose to let the healing process continue before I put the foot under stress conditions.”
– Steve M., Houston, TX

*Most users experience significant pain relief in the first 1-4 days. Typical product use duration is 9-18 days, which includes a number of days beyond the point where pain has subsided. Results will vary.

Plantar Fasciitis Treatments

In our last article, “What is Plantar Fasciitis?,” we described the classic plantar fasciitis symptoms, common causes of heel pain and tips for prevention. For anyone dealing with plantar fasciitis heel pain, ongoing inflammation in the fascia makes everyday activity painful, uncomfortable and frustrating. Conventional plantar fasciitis treatments include non-invasive options, as well as medical procedures ranging from injections to surgery. In this article, we will break down the most commonly recommended plantar fasciitis treatments to help you identify the pros and cons of these treatments and the typical results you can expect.

Unfortunately, each of the conventional treatments listed below has limited effectiveness, so the average person normally moves from one treatment to the next. According to WebMD.com, “most people recover completely within a year,” which means that someone searching for heel pain relief may have to try multiple methods over a long period of time, during which they may spend lots of money, agonize with daily pain and generally suffer a reduced quality of life.

The goals of a plantar fasciitis treatment plan should include:

Plantar fasciitis treatments comparison

Treatments compared.

  • Providing pain relief in the shortest time possible
  • Minimizing disruption to our daily lives (e.g. minimum inconvenience, and enable a timely return to normal activities)
  • Creating conditions which enable the body to achieve a lasting recovery
  • Minimize the financial burden (i.e. total spend)

Initial Plantar Fasciitis Treatment

Many people suffering from plantar fasciitis will first try simple home remedies, such as applying ice to the heel, or taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), such as Advil®. While some users may experience a degree of relief, due to the severity of plantar fasciitis pain many sufferers report that NSAIDs barely take the edge off their pain.

Other common “first steps” include taping the foot with conventional therapeutic elastic tapes (e.g. Kinesio) or rigid athletic tapes. If taped properly, a user may experience some pain relief and support to the injured fascia. However, therapeutic elastic tapes were designed to support muscles and other soft tissues. It is critical to note that kinesio tape was originally designed to provide 140% elasticity (the same elasticity as human skin). This ease of elongation and low rebound quality is well suited for supporting soft tissue and muscle, but lacks effectiveness in supporting the much tougher plantar fascia. Rigid athletic tapes can provide support temporarily but have been shown to lose effectiveness within less than 30 minutes of use as the product stretches and the adhesives slip. According to published studies, taping has not been demonstrated to be a cure for plantar fasciitis. The fact is that both of these categories of taping product are more of a general purpose in nature, and they were not designed specifically for the difficult task of managing plantar fasciitis stress.

Those with plantar fasciitis may try one of the above approaches for a month or longer before realizing that there is no significant improvement. In their search for other plantar fasciitis treatment options, they often seek out advice from medical or sports websites, including blogs and forums. Most-web-based resources tend to direct visitors to the “next steps” listed below.

That Didn’t Work…What’s Next?

Often, these users will be steered into night-time stretching devices, which are designed and marketed specifically as a plantar fasciitis treatment. The biggest problem with this approach is that stretching is most effective as a preventative method, and stretching damaged tissue is an indirect treatment and has not been demonstrated to provide rapid results. Furthermore, while stretching is beneficial to healthy fascia, it may be counterproductive during recovery because it can lead to the re-injury of newly formed tissue. Nevertheless, this treatment is often mistakenly promoted to those with fascia inflammation, and stretching devices are readily available locally or online.

Another problem with stretching devices is that they are very inconvenient, and many users find it difficult to sleep while wearing the device. Moreover, during the active, load-bearing hours of the day, these devices do not protect the the fascia from re-injury, which can often leave the user back at square one.

We recommend stretching devices only if you are prone to bouts of plantar fasciitis, but are NOT currently suffering from heel pain. This will help improve calf flexibility which can aid in preventing recurrence of heel pain due to PF.

Other treatments that are commonly recommended include heel cushion products or over-the-counter orthotic devices, such as soft or rigid arch supports. Once again, these products are only partially effective at best. These products are ineffective during the propulsion phase (“push-off”) of the walking cycle. Not supporting the fascia in this critical phase makes it vulnerable and often contributes to a continuous cycle of micro-trauma, which in turn prevents a timely recovery.

Depending on the severity of heel pain being experienced, the mix of treatments described can stretch over many months and still fail to deliver adequate results. This lack of positive progress often frustrates those with heel pain, and they give up on trying any new treatments. In some cases, the prospect of incurring additional cost plays some role in this decision. Instead, they revert back to whichever combination of the above methods seemed to deliver the most reduction in pain and wait it out.

Time for a Second Opinion?

A small percentage (estimated to be less than 20%) of those suffering from plantar fasciitis heel pain will eventually seek medical care, only to find that the medical community has limited options available. We’ve listed these here.

Non-invasive Treatment Options:

  • NSAIDs – Sound familiar? As the most “conservative” treatment option available, doctors and nurses will often advise that one use an NSAID to dull the pain.
  • Padding and Strapping – Usually felt padding applied during a consultation with a podiatrist. This is an “apply-once” treatment that must be kept dry and worn for a number of days. Because of the foot’s shape and the stiffness of the padding, it may be difficult to put on certain types of shoes. Just as with other tape products, this technique may start losing effectiveness as materials stretch and adhesives slip.
  • Scraping (Graston technique) – A painful physical therapy procedure that consists of “scraping” the plantar scar tissue with a handheld device (very firm handheld device-to-skin contact). The goal is to break down the scar tissue externally, and the patient’s level of inflammation and scar tissue buildup can make this an excruciating plantar fasciitis treatment option.
  • Stretching Devices/Stretching Exercises – Not advisable for someone currently suffering from plantar fasciitis as it can can set back the healing process. Excellent when you are not currently suffering from plantar fasciitis to avoid a recurrence or extend the time between bouts.
  • Bed Rest – A great treatment option, but the most limiting and inconvenient – who can afford to remain in bed?
  • Night-time Stretching Devices – Uncomfortable to sleep in, and does nothing to protect fascia from re-injury during normal activities. May be good when used with health fascia to extend the time between bouts by improving flexibility.
  • Orthotics – Transition into orthotics while suffering from plantar fasciitis can be very painful as the rigid structure of the orthotics often adds pressure to the injured fascia. It is much easier to adjust to these devices when you are not suffering from an inflamed fascia. However, proper support to the biomechanics of foot (such as can provided by correctly fitted orthotics) is one of keys to avoiding a returned bout of plantar fasciitis.

Other Treatments:

  • Steroid Injections – Injections are directed at the damaged fascia, meaning that the area is already inflamed. This can make the injections extremely painful. These injections are typically administered as a series, repeated a few weeks apart, with a maximum of three to four injections typically being allowed.
  • Immobilizing Boots – These devices protect the fascia and address the root cause, but only when worn compliantly (used throughout all load-bearing hours of the day). However, they compromise mobility, limit activities and are cumbersome and inconvenient.
  • Surgery (Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy) – This is the most invasive plantar fasciitis treatment option available. Cost, time to recovery and associated risks should all be carefully considered prior to any type of surgery.

As you can see, the basic toolkit from a medical practitioner’s standpoint doesn’t offer a convenient, fool-proof, and risk-free method for helping one overcome plantar fasciitis. That’s where the FasciaDerm Heel Pain Relief System comes in.

Got Plantar Fasciitis? Get FasciaDerm

For the plantar fascia to have the best conditions for recovery, it should be protected from excessive tensile stress during the entire walking cycle, and through all active, load-bearing hours of the day, regardless of whether the user is wearing footwear or not. It is only in protecting the fascia in this manner that one can expect to halt the continuous cycle of re-injury, and true progress toward lasting recovery can begin. Remember the clear, specific plantar fasciitis treatment goals we outlined above? They included:

  • fast pain relief
  • minimal disruption or discomfort
  • lasting recovery
  • low cost

Only FasciaDerm meets all of the above criteria, delivering results that no other plantar fasciitis treatment can match, and at an unbeatable low cost. FasciaDerm was designed specifically for the treatment of plantar fasciitis, so every characteristic – from precisely-engineered support, to ergonomic fit and convenience of application – was designed to solve the problem of managing plantar stress without compromising effectiveness. For these reasons, doctors and sports medicine professionals are using FasciaDerm to help their patients and athletes get healthy and back to normal.

“My Plantar Fasciitis appears with no warning – In the past it has been visits to the Podiatrist, steroid shots, and wearing 2 pair of of socks and sneakers to the office for a few months before the pain subsides. I heard about this product from a friend and decided to give it a try. In just 2 days my heel pain was greatly diminished and completely gone after approximately 1 week. The instructions were easy to follow and the straps were thin and flesh colored which worked great under stockings for work. Awesome design and worked fabulously. No More Foot Pain !!”
– Michel

Get off the “treatment treadmill” (or avoid it altogether) with the FasciaDerm Heel Pain Relief System. FasciaDerm is 100% guaranteed to reduce plantar fasciitis heel pain when used as directed.

Plantar fasciitis treatments comparison
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