Upper Canada Sports Medicine

Services

Plantar Fasciitis

How you are treated at Upper Canada Sports Medicine

The cornerstone of our treatment regime for Plantar Fasciitis is the Electro-Acuscope. With a combination of probes, we are able to breakdown and normalize both the electrical component of the Plantar Fascia at the cellular level, significantly decrease or eliminate the fibrotic/scar tissue like texture of the Plantar Fascia

If your condition has been around for more than 6 months if you firmly drag your thumbnail along the plantar fascia (from the toes towards the heel) you may feel a bumpy or crunchy like texture of the plantar fascia. (If you cannot, do not worry, many therapists cannot either if their expertise is based on other, non manual (hands on) therapy techniques.) This sensation is amplified by the probes that are used to treat the scar tissue and inflammation.

Once the tissue has been “smoothed” significantly, a series of frequencies are used to bring about different biological responses. To be exact, the initial treatment will utilize a frequency of 2.5 Hz (cycles per second) to decrease the discomfort of the initial treatment. Within 2-5 minutes you will notice a decrease in the discomfort of the treatment itself.  On feedback from the patient, the therapist will change the setting on the Acuscope to 5.0 Hz which is theorized to increase local blood flow to the area. After 2-5 minutes the setting is changed to 10 Hz which is theorized to have a sedative effect on the nerves in the area that may be irritated from the inflammation in the area or from mechanical friction of the local nerves by scar tissue. The final two settings of 20 and 40 HZ are theorized to have a relaxing effect on the local muscles and connective tissue in the area. Both the patient and therapist can feel this relaxation of the tissues.

All these changes occur within the first visit. Ninety (90%) percent of our patients report a significant reduction in their pain. We are too busy treating people and too small to conduct a large double blind study to establish the effectiveness of our treatment protocol so our claims are anecdotal. The owner of the clinic has been using the Electroacuscope for over 16 years now and has had a ninety-to ninety five percent cure rate.

Following the Electroacuscope portion of the treatment, there may be an application of therapeutic ultrasound to gently heat the tissues to increase the general blood flow to the area. The therapist may or may not do this portion in the first treatment to evaluate the effectiveness of the Acuscope treatment. There is extensive controversy about the effectiveness of using ultrasound for plantar fasciitis. The possible explanation for this is that the single use of one modality is often not effective. If therapists were to use only one exercise for strengthening a joint after injury or surgery, would it be fair to state that the exercise is ineffective if the patient did not get better? Of course not!  Many treatment protocols need the combination of modalities and exercises, not unlike the use of pharmacological cocktails in the treatment of HIV positive patients.

At UCSM the goal of the ultrasound is to increase the tissue temperature in the treatment area. The resultant temperature increase will trigger a response by the body to send more blood to the area. The key to any healing is the amount of blood flow to the injured/inflamed tissues.

The involved foot may be taped with Leukotape (Leukotape P Sports Tape is rayon-backed tape with an aggressive zinc oxide adhesive and is manufactured by BSN Jobst) that will provide support to the plantar fascia during activities of daily living. The taping may be used in conjunction with the patient wearing orthotics. Significant reduction in pain while taped may give the patient some indication if orthotic intervention may be effective in preventing or reducing the return of his or her pain.

Exercises to strengthen the foot muscles and calf stretching complement our protocol. If there is significant tightness of the calf musculature, significant stretching may be needed to help the overall reduction of Plantar Fasciitis.

MRI Image of Plantar Fasciitis

MRI Image of Plantar Fasciitis

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