Many of you reading this may have suffered from plantar fasciitis for years and were probably told to keep your motion control running shoes on and wear orthotics. Your pain may have improved temporarily but the situation eventually becomes chronic and doesn’t completely resolve. What else can be done before surgery? Do the opposite.
By removing your shoes and orthotics, you allow the foot to work the way it was designed and gradually become stronger. It may come as a shock being that most physicians and health care providers advocate “arch support” for this condition. The problem is the medical literature does not support it for chronic situations. When one functions barefoot or in a soft shoe with no heel or arch support, the foot becomes stronger and our gait changes. By doing this gradually, we can rehab the foot to get stronger and eventually overcome the plantar fasciitis.
This is an example of a 56 year old female of had dealt with chronic heel pain for 2 years. She was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and treated over the 2 year period with cortisone injections, traditional running shoes, and orthotics. Her pain had never completely responded and she presented with the classic frustration these patients tend to present with. I had advised her to do the opposite of what she had been told and explained that current medical literature does not support that paradigm of treatment for long term heel pain. She was directed to get into a pair of minimalist shoes and have a goal of making them her shoe to be worn all day long. Initially she was told to wear them 30 minutes a day and then return to the motion control shoes the rest of the day for a gradual transition. She was to build on this every other day increasing her time.
6 weeks later when she returned, her pain had diminished by more then 50%. She hadn’t felt relief like this in over 2 years. She was now wearing a pair of Leming shoes that she had purchased at the Cleveland Running Co.
Keep in mind it’s not the shoes directly that fixed her. She allowed her feet to function the way they were designed, and the shoes allowed her to do this. Her feet gradually became stronger in just 6 weeks of time.
Dr. Campitelli is a podiatrist in Akron, OH specializing in foot and ankle surgery with an interest and enthusiasm for running as well as helping runners with injuries. For the past several years he has been treating running injuries in patients by fixing their form and transitioning them to minimalist shoes. Having treated runners with all types of injuries through conservative measures with orthotics and shoe gear changes to reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, Dr. Campitelli has brought what works best and is most current to his practice as well as the Akron and Cleveland running communities.