Plantar Fasciitis Debunked (Later I’ll Tackle ITBS)

So-Called Plantar Fasciitis Isn’t Really Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis Debunked?

plantar fasciitis debunked
  1. Questioning the obvious

    plantar fasciitis debunkedIt’s obvious that doctors know what they’re doing. Right? They are highly trained in the treatment of pain. As Tom cogitated, he remembered the doctor saying he might need a heel injection. A what? What was she thinking? This raised Tom’s suspicions concerning whether this doctor really understands the structure and function of the heel. As a medical professional, the thought of a heel injection horrified Tom. His thoughts went like this:

    The connective tissue of the heel isn’t a random blob of collagen and elastin. It’s a complex living structure that responds to load. Interactions with the ground, as we move, subject it to shear and compression forces. This creates patterns of strain throughout the collagen/elastin network, thus sculpting the structure of the molecular cross-links and alignments within this critical support system. Jabbing needles in there is like chucking paint on a work of art, or jamming a spanner (monkey wrench) in the works. Plus there’s the risk of infection [want to see an example, just click here and scroll down to see MRSA infection contracted via such a heel injection, if you have a strong stomach].

    Tom was suspicious, the first step in the scientific method. Clearly, more thought was needed.

  2. Tom had a lot more to learn

    plantar fasciitis debunked

    Click image for link to the Interactive Map.

    As a pathologist, Tom was left with a niggling doubt: Why call it plantar fasciitis, when the pain was all around my heel, and not confined to the plantar fascia? And why are so many different treatments advertised on Google? And why is there no consensus on the underlying cause? This would make a great research project for a graduate student or post-doc.

    Tom had retired from science. He no longer had a lab, staff or a budget. He still wondered whether he might tackle the problem.

  3. Therapeutics

    A branch of medical science dealing with the application of remedies to diseases.

    Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary

    While considering the weird array of plantar fasciitis treatments in his map, Tom’s mind is carried back to his first year of veterinary school, in the 1960s. He remembered an interesting class on the history of medicine and therapeutics. Tom recalled treatments for the plague in medieval England.

    plantar fasciitis debunked476 to 1492. The Black Death Killed Millions

    Plague, known as the black death, destroyed civilizations in medieval times. Entire towns were wiped out.

    Imagine you were born in these times, and the plague arrived in town. You’re scared to death, so you ask your priest, witch, or friend what to do. They might suggest you try one of the following:

    • Eat cooked onions.

    • Eat some ten-year-old treacle.

    • Swallow arsenic.

    • Eat some crushed emeralds.

    • Sit in the sewers.

    • Stand between two big fires.

    • Place herbs throughout your house, to keep the air clean.

    • Bury your plague bodies in a holy well.

    • Have a doctor drain the black bile from your blood.

    • Pray for forgiveness. The black death is God’s punishment for our sins.

    Of course, today we laugh at such suggestions. We know the plague is caused by bacteria (Pasteurella pestis, recently renamed Yersinia pestis). But that was ages ago. We’re much wiser now.

    Plague Treatment Today:

    Cure: We discovered the power of antibiotics to kill bacteria. This led to an easy treatment for the plague: Penicillin. Understanding the disease resulted in a reliable treatment.

    Prevention: We now know that we contract this disease from rat fleas. This discovery led to prevention, through improved hygiene.

    1918-1919. Influenza Killed Millions

    plantar fasciitis debunkedOnly 100 years ago, influenza killed tens of millions of people around the world. Here’s a few treatments you might have been advised to try, at the time:

    • Wear a necklace of garlic (also keeps vampires away).

    • Doctors recommend rectal injections of eucalyptus oil.

    • Rub wormwood on your chest.

    • Drink some pine tar.

    • Put an onion in your room to absorb the flu, then throw the onion away.

    • Smear steaming horse manure on your chest.

    • Have some teeth pulled.

    • Take strychnine.

    Flu Treatment Today:

    Cure: The discovery that influenza is a viral infection led to the creation of antiviral drugs. Knowing the cause of the symptoms resulted in effective nursing strategies. Antibiotics prevent secondary infections. Decongestants offset airway blockage. Intravenous fluids prevent lethal dehydration and shock.

    Prevention: The flu virus comes to us via chickens and pigs. So animal health monitoring is in place. A vaccine is available. Furthermore, health protocols reduce spread of the virus from one person to another. These protocols include staying at home rather than going to work, not coughing around other people, wearing a face mask and washing your hands regularly.

    2018. Plantar Fasciitis Afflicts Millions

    plantar fasciitis debunkedYou have horrible heel pain. Especially in the morning. Your doctor tells you it’s plantar fasciitis. She suggests an injection of cortisone into your heel. You’re not so sure about that, as you hate needles, and ask if you can think about it.

    You Google plantar fasciitis treatments, and discover dozens of guaranteed cures.

    • Roll your foot on a frozen water bottle.

    • Stretch your calves.

    • Put magnets on your ankles.

    • Take herbal supplements.

    • Wear a special boot in bed, to stretch your calves.

    • Get pregnant.

    • Ask your doctor to give you an injection of platelet-rich plasma.

    • Consider bare-foot running.

    • Lose weight.

    • Fix your collapsed arches.

    • Try calf surgery for muscle/tendon lengthening (Strayer Technique) to reduce tension in the heel.

    • Pray for it to go away.

    Sound familiar?

With the help of a coat hanger Tom’s the research progressed, and thus this little book.

Wishing you happy feet and happy trails,

kev aka FitOldDog

plantar fasciitis debunked


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.