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Posted by Dorothy on 10/16/03 at 15:40 (134154)

This is from a podiatrist's website. Please see my other disclaimers as I am tired of writing the disclaimation! I just simply came across these descriptions and thought they were to the point and pretty good and thought someone else might find them of interest, too. This is about TENS treatment for PF, something that has been wondered about on heelspurs:

'Count to TENS and heel pain hides'
TENS or trans electrical nerve stimulation is an excellent non-invasive treatment modality for heel pain. It principally uses the 'gate theory' of pain threshold stimulation. The inflammatory response has four components including: pain, redness, warmth, and swelling. It is the pain component of inflammation which is controlled by TENS application. TENS will elevation the body's pain threshold naturally by over-stimulating the nerve endings at the source of pain. This elevated pain threshold thereby requires more pain stimulus (substance P) to generate a pain signal. Therefore, TENS application will decrease pain in the affected area and allow healing to occur without the disabling effects of pain.


Ed Davis, DPM on 10/16/03 at 18:00 (134176)

TENs is a means of blocking pain signals originating from any painful condition. It can be an alternative drugs for people with chronic pain.
It does not actually cure PF.


Dorothy on 10/16/03 at 18:43 (134185)

I have used TENS units for back problems in past, but not for PF.
I only posted this for informational purposes for others who have inquired/discussed TENS. It was actually pasted/taken from a podiatrist's website - not from my own information. He didn't say it would cure anything, did he = just block pain from inflammation...
anyway, it is information for those who were wondering about TENS recently.


john h on 10/17/03 at 09:19 (134274)

I have a tens unit that I have had for many years. it is Empi model. I have found no place that gives instructions on how you would place the electrodes for PF. Obviously you could only use it on the feet while lying down. I did speak to one nurse who's husband is a Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon and she showed me where he suggested the electrodes for a Muscle Stimulator that might benefit PF. Most of these were around the calf with one or two on the top of the foot. Electode placement is paramount if it has any value in reducing pain. It is certainly no cure.


Dorothy on 10/17/03 at 11:41 (134319)

It would seem to me that if you used the same principles that are used when using the TENS unit for back pain, it might be a guide. For example, when they used the more powerful unit in PT, they placed the 'electrodes' (is that right?) in a pattern but not a pattern that was specific to an individual patient. The pattern was related to the unit. So on the home TENS unit (less powerful), the same pattern was used. I can't believe I have forgotten all the details of all of this, but I have - in spite of living with and loving a TENS unit for a good while. Guess time heals and all wounds - and, as we here all know, it also wounds all heels.

It would seem to me that the idea of placing the electrical ends on the lower calf, around the ankle, around the Achilles tendon juncture, maybe at that 'spot' that is always shown in all PF illustrations -- I think starting with those areas and experimenting a little might yield some patterns. You could also contact the product manufacturer and inquire about its use for PF and how to place it - or maybe a local PT would give you some advice about it. You could experiement with your TENSunit and let us know what you think!


John H on 10/17/03 at 13:44 (134353)

Dorothy: I did fool around with my unit a few times on the foot and you can really get some crazy sensations when you get the electrodes placed on particular nerves. Some could cause pain. By placing an electrode on he side of the achilles tendon and one in the area of the baxter nerve on the bottom of the foot you could get a major sensation on the bottom of the foot near the toes. I would guess that is what some people with TTS might experience. The muscle stimulators are mainly used to activate the muscles in the calves and thus prevent atrophy. My daughter used a powerful one and she describes it as very much like a back rug. It has eight electrodes and can be adjusted as to wave length, peak power, etc. My tens unit is no cheapie and had a number of adustments as to power output, burst power, wave length, etc. It has two channels with two electodes each although I have never used but one channel. The thearapist had me place one electrode right on the L-5 / S-1 vertibrae and one on the buttock on the major nerve leading down the left leg. I no longer have any left leg pain since surgery but still have residual pain in the low back. I was pretty much able to keep this under control for 20 years before PF by exercise and strangely enough, running. When I stopped my high level of activity my back pain worsened.