As I sit at my computer composing this article, I have a golf ball underneath my left foot and am rolling it back and forth across the carpet. I have to say, it hurts so good. While I would not necessarily admit that I suffer from debilitating foot pain, I do notice that my feet are often tired, achy, and sore, and I attribute that to the many miles I run each week. The golf ball is a welcome relief!
However, two other runners in my household – my husband and my oldest son – have not been so lucky. They have been experiencing a lot of pain in their feet, courtesy of a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Both of these guys can frequently be seen limping around as if they are walking on tacks or something. Both of them have sought various treatment methods, but nothing has really seemed to alleviate their continuing discomfort.
Imagine my excitement when I was informed about a new treatment method for this annoying condition. Amazingly, it involves something as simple as stretching.
According to a recent study from the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, individuals who suffer from acute plantar fasciitis can enjoy superior results with manual stretching exercises as opposed to shockwave therapy. This study involved a group of 102 patients who presented with acute plantar fasciitis pain. They were randomly assigned to two groups. Fifty-four of the patients spent an eight-week period engaged in a stretching program while the other 48 received consistent, low-energy radial shock-wave therapy. No other form of physical therapy was used during this experimental period.
Long story short, those in the stretching group fared far better than those who were the recipients of the shock-wave therapy, with 65 percent of the stretching patients reporting relief as opposed to 29 percent of those in the other group! What a difference!
According to John Furia, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the study, if you develop plantar fascia pain, you should commence the non-operative method of treatment immediately.