Resolving Five Year Heel Pain In Ten Weeks With Shockwave
50-year-old Ella first came to see us with pains under her heels that had been troubling her on and off for five years, and progressively worsening over the past 12 months.
As a full-time chef, the pain was now interfering with Ella’s ability to stand for the second half of her shift. This meant that she recently had to take time off work, and had to sit down regularly throughout her day.
Ella’s Heel Pain
Ella’s heel pain was most painful during her first steps in the morning, first steps after her lunch break, and progressively worsening towards the end of her day. She described the pain as a stone bruise, and graded her pain 8/10, with 10/10 being the worst.
Her goals were to finish a day of work without pain.
When we assessed Ella’s feet and legs, she had very flexible foot joints - something we call hypermobility. As a result, when standing, her ankles and heels roll inwards towards each other, and arches collapse.
Ella’s footwear was supportive, but not enough to do a good job of supporting her feet. There was pain when pressing the bottom and inside surfaces of her heels - right where the plantar fascia ligament connected to.
Podiatrist Martin’s Diagnosis: Plantar Fasciitis
We diagnosed Ella with plantar fasciitis. When our feet are too flexible and excessively roll in, a significant load is placed on the fascia. When combined with the time Ella spends on her feet at work, the fascia is further strained, which has ultimately resulted in micro-tears and injury.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
If plantar fasciitis is treated early - within 3 months of symptoms arising, we would expect the problem to resolve within 6 weeks when following our proven processes.
Unfortunately, when left for longer than 3 months without the right treatment and care, plantar fasciitis can take much longer to heal, especially when the ligament continues to be regularly overused - like when your job requires you to stand for prolonged periods.
We started Ella on our proven treatment process for plantar fasciitis, which includes:
- ✔ Strapping using a plantar fascial supportive strap
- ✔ Stretching tight muscles
- ✔ Strengthening weak muscles
- ✔ Using orthotics and supportive footwear to support the arch so that the healing process can occur without interruption
Due to the length of time that Ella’s pain had been present, we anticipated a recovery time of 3-6 months. An additional treatment that we use for chronic pain that has been present for over 3 months is shockwave therapy.
Shockwave is designed to speed up the healing of the damaged fascia. It uses acoustic pulses delivered at precise points into the foot to stimulate the cells responsible for healing - cells that can otherwise become quite lazy and dormant in chronic pain.
With this technology, used in addition to the usual management, we can often receive much faster healing outcomes. This worked brilliantly for Ella, and her pain resolved within 10 weeks.
We reviewed Ella’s progress in another 3 months, and she is still working without pain and has even started at the gym in her free time.