As mentioned before, 20% of my patients come to me seeking relief from plantar fasciitis. After I came across this TV news piece on the subject, I knew I had to address it because it’s filled with the kind of flawed, “easy fix” information I’m fighting.
(Thanks to @DrHurless for sharing this on Twitter.)
While it may appear to be a story with good information, most of it I disagree with. Not because the information presented is bad for you, but because it represents the usual incorrect, status quo rhetoric people continue to be given — whether it be from the news, the Internet, or even from their doctor. And unfortunately, these recommendations only continue to steer people away from meaningful and effective treatment.
About the only thing I agree with is the importance of daily stretching, which I can’t emphasize enough. Scientific literature has repeatedly shown how regular stretching of the calf is what will eliminate heel pain by getting to the source of the problem. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.
One of the first things I disagree with is how the doctor recommends the use of orthotics. Orthotics simply do not do anything about the cause of the pain, calf tightness. Don’t get me wrong, orthotics may in some cases give some relief from the pain of plantar fasciitis, but they don’t fix a thing.
Then there’s the idea of shockwave therapy. The anchor throws in that Dr. Kase “has [had] good success with acoustic shockwave therapy. It helps break up some of the scar tissue,” he argues.
After posting this clip on Twitter, @cathysucher asked me my opinion of this kind of therapy.
What’s being referred to here is ESWT, or Low-Energy Extracorporeal Shock Therapy. EWST is merely a flashy placebo. There’s no conclusive evidence to support its use, but it certainly helps doctors make money.
Treatments can get pricey, and insurance may not cover it. Therefore, patients who wish to have these treatments – which don’t even work in the first place – often end up paying out of pocket for them. At least it’s not an unwarranted surgery. A kissing cousin to ESWT is PRP, platelet-rich plasma, and I will have more on PRP soon.
Again, you will see better results from stretching – in combination with a little patience — than from any of the other feel good treatments.