Arch-Foot-Heel Pain

If you currently have foot pain, arch pain or plantar fasciitis, or if you have had it in the past - you know how it can totally interfere with your life.

I personally have had foot, arch and heel pain so bad that when I climbed out of bed and stood on the floor the pain was so severe that I walked like I was walking on nails and on one occasion I literally had to crawl to the bathroom. Just the pressure of my foot weight resting on the floor caused considerable arch and heel pain. I wouldn't wish this kind of foot pain on anyone.

Due to my own issues with severe periodic foot pain, I was compelled to search for solutions that were effective and expedient. My professional work involves standing on my feet most of the day along with a lot of walking. I also prefer an active lifestyle outside of my office which combines bicycling, running and walking for longer distances and having foot pain was not something I wanted to try to have with me the rest of my life.

My search led me to some surprising solutions that totally eliminated my pain and I would like to share them with you. Feet are an engineering miracle and when they function correctly they support all of our weight with no pain whatsoever for our entire lifespan. The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons and three arches. The 52 bones in your two feet make up about 25 percent of all the bones in your body. Abnormal function of the joints, muscles, ligaments can certainly bring about foot pain. However, problems further away from the foot can also cause pain in our lower extremity, including our feet.

The problem with most medical and therapeutic solutions to foot pain (and other painful areas for that matter) is that the solution, more often than not, is solely focused on the foot itself.

Most people are used to a linear thought process when it comes to pain in the body. In other words, if they have a pain in their foot, the problem must be in the foot. Often times the problem IS located in the foot but sometimes the problem is multifocal meaning that the pain is coming from multiple sources such as the muscles, nerves, tendons and/or ligaments.

If you have tried multiple treatments for your heel or foot pain or plantar fasciitis unsuccessfully, you likely have a problem in your foot as well as some additional causes elsewhere.

Common medical foot pain treatments include:

  • Braces and Casts
  • Ultrasound
  • Laser
  • Extracorporal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT)
  • Injections
  • Iontophoresis
  • Medication
  • Orthotic Devices
  • Physical Therapy
  • Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
  • Surgery

When you have foot pain that is resistant to the treatments listed above, it is time to think outside the proverbial box.

In my case, my foot pain had multiple causes. Stubborn foot pain patients who have successfully conquered their foot pain have had multiple underlying causes. Once the impediments to healing foot pain are identified and handled with the appropriate treatment, success is achieved.

Perhaps the most common cause is a vicious cycle set up by the foot pain itself. Basically the nerves that trigger a pain response (called small diameter afferent [SDA] nerves) are actually registering the pain in a part of the brain called the parietal lobe. The longer the pain nerve pathway is activated, the easier it is for the pain pathway to fire and the end result "PAIN".

Often the nerves that send normal sensations from the nerve endings in the foot are damaged. This cause is common in neuropathy due to diabetes, chemotherapy, gluten intolerance damage, etc. The way our body is wired is quite interesting when it comes to pain. As it turns out, the normal sensation nerves (called large diameter afferent [LDA} nerves) when functioning as intended, turn on circuitry that inhibits pain both in our spinal cord and in our brain. When the normal sensation nerves are compromised for whatever reason, the pain nerves become active. This situation is the reason why patients who consult my office receive a functional nerve evaluation for their foot pain, including plantar fasciitis.

Another area that can cause foot pain although rare is a problem in the lower lumbar spine.

If you weren't aware, the nerves that enable you to feel and control your feet come from your lower back. In fact the nerves that go to your feet are from branches that come from the sciatic nerve. If you have any abnormal function or damage to your lower back you could have foot pain. Part of my thorough evaluation is to determine if there is any involvement of the lumbar spine.

Additional areas of investigation necessary to solve the mystery of chronic foot pain and plantar fasciitis are:

  1. A functional muscle evaluation to determine if any of the muscles that concern the feet are weak or too short.

  2. A joint function assessment to determine if the foot and ankle joints have lost their ability to have normal end range of motion called "joint play".

  3. Evaluation of imaging such as x-ray and much less frequently; CT or MRI to visualize the extent and nature of any foot anatomy derangements.

Before you opt in for more medications, another battery of corticosteroid injections or even surgery, explore the possibility of conservative care. We have wonderful results with plantar fasciitis, heel/arch/foot and ankle problems and the favorable response to care is often immediate. Is that fair enough. I pride myself on results. If I can help you I will tell you and if I can't I will at least explain what you have and point you in the right direction. Life is entirely too short for me to be wasting my time and your time. So there is no sales pitch, I frankly don't have time for it. I am a former Assistant Professor and I do get a little long winded. There is never a cost to speak with me about your condition, no charge to you and no billing to your insurance company. If I can help you we will schedule an appointment for an evaluation. Hopefully that is fair enough, schedule an appointment for a Case Review to see if you are a candidate for care.

Give us a call.