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Heel Pain (aka Plantar Fascitis)

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Probably 6-7 yrs ago I had a very bad case of Plantar Fascitis.  At that time, I was making a lot of money as well as having great insurance.  Maybe that was a crutch because I leaned on other people too much such as doctors, therapists to help me deal with my excruciating heel pain.  After going regularly to a chiropractor, massage therapist, sports medicine doctor, a physical therapist (he was the therapist for the Arizona Diamondbacks then), wearing these awful socks at night, and even considering getting steroid shots (I did not succumb to this, though), none of those things worked or really did much to relieve the pain.

I was in my 30s and still very active, but the heel pain made it barely tolerable to even walk.  I dreaded putting any pressure on my feet due to the pain I was having in both heels.

Then, one night when I couldn't sleep due to the pain, I was surfing the internet and came across this book by Clair Davies called Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, 2nd Edition.  Mr. Davies has since passed away, but next to God and people you think would be the most important people in your life (spouse, children, family, etc), I rank him up there for the work he did in this area and him disseminating this information to the world.  I have bought maybe close to 10 copies of this book, some people never returning it.

A couple weeks ago, when spending 6-7 hrs walking around at the zoo, the next day, I had heel pain again.  Granted, in the past 6-7 years, I have had hardly any heel pain because from Mr. Davies book, I found out the reason for my particular heel pain and got rid of the reason and kept at it.  Since then, however, I learned that heel pain can come from a number of different areas of the body, not the just the area I thought.

For me, way back years ago, the root of my heel pain was from Tibialis Posterior:

Once I started to get rid of the trigger point, which a trigger point is basically a muscle knot that creates pain in some part of your body.  Where the trigger point is does not necessarily mean the pain is there, as you can see in the above diagram.  Once that trigger point is released, the pressure and pain decreases and/or is eliminated, depending if you have gotten rid of the trigger point completely or not. 

How I got rid of the trigger point was using my thumbs on that area as I sat down, pressing on the trigger point.  Because that trigger point was really set in, it took me a couple weeks to work through the trigger point and I could only take so much pain, had to give my body time to heel.  But, the very first time I exerted pressure on that trigger point, I could feel the pressure on my heels releasing some.

When my pain started again, this time I tried to locate the same trigger point, but there were none in Tibialis Posterior, so I looked in the book for other areas.  I found working on Soleus 2 helped a bit:

With Soleus 2, I could still use my thumbs, but that hurts my thumbs, and years later now and having worked on a number of trigger points in my body for other things, I have learned to use some inexpensive aids.  I used a ball that is about the size of a softball and while sitting on the bed with my legs extended, I place my calf on top of the ball and press, rolling the ball some.  That was painful and I just kept at it.

What I have found is when trigger points are really set in there, I have to give my body time to heel after working on the trigger points.  Once that area gets sore, I let it heel until it is no longer sore, which is often 2-3 days, making sure I get plenty of rest and drink water.

The pain lessened after working out that trigger point, but there was still some pain, but this time it was on the inside of my heel where the abductor hallucis is.  

How I worked out this trigger point was initially with my thumb, which wasn't smart, so then I used my knuckles.  That really hurt.  After my knuckles got tired, I switched to placing my elbow on those points.  My elbow gave me the best leverage and force I could exert and made me feel nauseated.  I had to stop after working on this a bit.

As of right now, the area is very sore and still hurts some.  Something I forgot to do all this time was take some Alleve and ice down the areas.  The trigger points not only cause the pain in whatever area, but inflammation occurs.  So, you really need to work on bringing down the inflammation.  Though I don't like to take medications, but I found this to be helpful to take a couple Alleves and ice down the area a few times.  

The icing REALLY helps a lot.  I would recommend everyone buying a therapy icing bag, a larger one as this has come in handy for all sorts of injuries and pain and is a very natural way to help bring down inflammation.  Here is a nice one at Amazon you can get - Physical Therapy Ice Pack.  I recommend getting the larger size as that can be used anywhere on your body.  We keep ours in the freezer all the time and it takes about 30 min. to get cold again.

Another area I worked on that also helped some was the Quadratus Plantae area.  How I addressed this trigger point is put a golf ball in a sock on the floor and applied pressure there.  The sock helps it not to roll around as much.  

Here are some other areas that can cause heel pain that you can try.  The stuff in the back of the legs, I would use a softball or a baseball (your leg on top of it pressing down) to get down into those areas over your thumb.

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