I suffered from chronic plantar fasciitis for 2 years and tried every method known to make it better and found little improvement. Finally , I think I have discovered a cure that works for me and hopefully it will work for others.
I am not a doctor. Take my advice at your own risk.
The following is in a very summarized form. There are no doctors or medical research other than my own to back any of the advice given in here and I recommend that anyone willing to try my methods get professional medical approval first.
First I must describe my former condition. I was 35 years old, in fairly good shape when my foot problem began. It started out as a result of simple foot abuse from doing a lot of hiking with poor shoes while on vacation. 1.5 months after I returned from the vacation the pain to started to set in. Of course I went to a podiatrist who recommended arch supports and orthodics and anti-inflammatories. I tried all of this but the pain quickly worsened until it felt like a spike was stuck in my foot. The burning sensations I felt extended through the entire bottom of my foot and was extremely painful at night while sleeping.
The doctor then put me in cast boots to help support the arch and although it helped walking my foot continued to get worse.
I then tried night splints to help stretch the arch but found this just increased the burning sensation no matter how low I set the stretch to.
After a while I couldnít walk at all without starting serious pain so I got a wheelchair in hopes that my feet would calm down and then I could resume walking. This felt OK as long as I didnít try and walk. The result was that I was in worse shape because my feet became tender more easily when I tried to go back to walking.
I then tried professional physical therapy with ultrasound, massage and ice fro several months. I found this helped quite a bit but didnít solve the problem. I had an acupuncturist stay at my house for 2 weeks and did acupuncture every day. This helped but didnít solve the problem.
I had two other podiatrists shoot cortisone in my feet several times and I found no relief at all from this.
They wanted to operate and cut the facia. Fortunately I stopped believing in these guys by now.
At this point I took a 3 month leave from my desk job and worked hard at getting better. I found that messaging my feet and keeping them cool was a big plus and so I messaged my feet using my hands for the next year.
I went to a rheumatologist. She said I had ankylosing spondylitus and that this was the underlying cause. She put me on heavy doses on indomethicine and nearly killed me. Feet still hurt like hell. Fired the doc. Later, I found out that the ankylosing spondylitus diagnoses was wrong!
The wheel chair prevented me from getting enough exercise on my feet so I crawled for most of the next year while I was at home.
Through all of this I was doing all of the stretches and physical therapy that was recommended by the various doctors and therapists.
I put ice in the bottom of my socks while lying down and found that this helped quite a bit .
I purchased a TENS unit and used this on my feet and found that this help also. The shocking numbs the nerves but more importantly it causes the muscle to contract and pumps fresh blood through your feet !
I put magnets in my shoes and felt that this may have helped somewhat but Iím not sure.
I developed carpal tunnel syndrome in my wrists and then my forearms had the same burning sensation that my feet had. My shoulder and neck muscles would cramp and burn also. A year had gone by with no relief. I quit my job and was left with no medical benefits because the doctors said I still could work from a wheel chair. I decided that the medical benefits werenít doing me any good any ways and so I needed to focus my own knowledge and figure this out.
Nearly two years after the problem began I went to Mayo clinic and saw podiatrists, endocrinologists, rheumotoligists, nerve specialists, etc. and had every test done that could be done. Nothing. They said I didnít have ankylosing spondylitus and couldnít find anything wrong except maybe I had fibromyalgia but not likely. They recommended anti-depressants so that the pain wouldnít bother me so much.
I then had a hair sample taken to do a toxicity test (of a different sort than other doctors had done) and then waited to get the results.
The idea behind the hair sample as opposed to a blood test is the a blood test looks at the blood which continuously cleaned by the liver and kidneys etc. Toxic metals etc. get lodged in the cell tissues and may not show in a blood test. Of course, traditional doctors will tell you that this is a bunch of hooey but they didnít do me any good so I was willing to try it.
At this point I read a book called Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins. He also had a serious problem that no doctor could fix but he solved it by taking high doses of vitamin C.
This book helped me a lot. I highly recommend it.
I got my hair sample back and the nutrionalists showed me that my copper level was 4 times the normal and my calcium was also very high (even though all of my blood tests showed normal except for some minor stuff that the doctors said were nothing, FYI --->total protein was slightly out of range, Albumin was slightly out of range, AST was slightly out of normal range, and bilirubin was slightly above normal range, and B12 was 1135 when 250-700 was normal range). The laboratory that did the test has a computer generated report which discusses the results.
The copper and calcium needed to be lowered and the report recommended a list of supplements that this company could sell you. The supplements were combinations of vitamins etc. which they wanted to sell me for about 200 dollars. By now I was pretty skeptical so I took the info to my endochronoligist (the only real doctors who understand the chemistry of the body)
On the internet I found an article about how chelation therapy could lower toxic metal contents in your body and how that High doses of vitamin C could would act as very mild for of chelation.
With this in mind , the endochronoligist and I came up with what we thought were the most likely combination of vitamins that could help lower the copper content (although he also was very skeptical of the hair analysis meaning anything). He was wary of the levels of vit C I wanted to try but I did it anyhow.
I have a fairly sensitive stomach and canít take large doses of vitamin C so I tried taking ESTER-C and found that my stomach was fine.
During the course of all the above I found the following results:
I only made serious progress when I combined the following things
1) Soft, fluidic, Aerobic exercise with a relaxed state of mind and body. Get your cardivascular system up a couple times a day. The problem with PF is that blood doesn't flow easily into the injured area. I do a lot of sit-ups and a variety of leg rasing activity and light weight work-outs while on my knees. You will notice significant pain relief in a few days if you do this every day. Doctors will tell you it is the endorphins masking the pain when you excersice, but actually that is only a temporary side effecct and a small part of it.
2) Contrary to many of the "new" stretching methods I find that if I keep my body moving slightly I can relax the muscle more and avoid pain stretch. Do not bounce while strecthing but rather move perpendicular to the stretch direction very lightly and the stretch should be so light it doesn't even feel like your stretching. Don't go till it hurts even a little . Be satisfied with slow progress, otherwise you will be going backwards.
3)3000-4000 mg Vit C (ester), 25-50 mg Zinc to replenish what the Vit -C takes out, 5-HTP (significantly improves state of mind, Iron (small amount), Vit -E 400 iu, also rub vit E-oil on inflamed areas, one banana for potassium replacement. Note take the vitamin C in small doses throughout the day. Say 500 mg ever couple hours. Note: Every time I stop taking the vitamin C the problem comes back after a few weeks. I tried to slowly stop 5 times so far.
THe Vitamin C is key to this whole solution. It must be taken slowly or you will just dump it out your urine. If you have week kidneys take less but keep the level up all day. Vitamin C will take other minerals out so you must replenish a little.
4)All new diet, red meat once a week max, as much fruit and vegetables as possible, protein (fish , eggs chicken, but go very light on protein), No sugars , no milk (I used to drink lots, this was tough)
5) Lots of positive love, laughter, music.
6) Avoid letting your feet get hot. Keep feet cool (not cold) but take your shoes and socks off when ever you Ďre off your feet.
7) Wear your orthodics if they help. Note a Good arch support also means that when you bend the shoe with your hands it should flex near the toes, not in the arch.
8)When you ice your feet do it immediately after heavy abuse, and donít immerse the foot in ice. Just make contact with the bottom of the foot. Lightly message after ice to restart circulation. Also do toe crunches.
9) Remember that circulation of the blood with plenty of oxygen is key to healing anything, and the feet are the hardest to get to as far as blood goes. Walking is a lot better than standing! but running is too aggressive if they are sore.
10) Do aerobic activity while lying down to avoid straining feet.
11) When your feet hurt take action to relieve the pain quickly. Cool them off. Then get the blood circulating
12) The main thing that fixed my foot pain are a)Orthodics b) Exercise and c) Large amounts of Vit C (ester) with the other vitamins mentioned above.
At this point I havenít confirmed that the Vit-C actually lowered levels of copper but after only four months of the above I am now assistant coach playing soccer and basketball with my son who has wanted to play with me for 2 years. I still ice from time to time but not so much now.
From my experiences and observations I believe that the correct state of mind is critical in the healing process, yet sometimes its the hardest thing to do.
My inability to participate as a father/husband over the last two year was very hard on my state of mind and this is the most important thing one must battle. Stay positive, happy, and believe that this problem can be made livable.