Joint Preservation Blog

January 11, 2009

Plantar Fasciitis Foot Brace

 

plantar fascia support brace

plantar fascia support brace

 

As a doctor, I have seen many patients have a difficult time understanding plantar fasciitis. Think of the plantar fascia as a piece of duct tape that travels along the bottom of your foot from your heel to the bottom of your toes.  It’s job is to support the normal arch in your foot, especially when you put weight on the foot.   As this piece of duct tape (plantar fascia) gets too much stress (due to extra weight on the person or too much force from changes in the way the foot moves), the heel area where it attaches can get easily overloaded and become painful.  A plantar fasciitis foot brace is therefore simple, it’s something that helps reduce the extra stress on the duct tape.  However, rather than bracing the plantar fascia, we often find that it’s much more effective to fix the problem.  How?  We strengthen the duct tape!  That can be as simple as taking the patients own adult stem cells and injecting them into the heel area under x-ray guidance (we numb the area first so it’s not uncomfortable).  This allows that heel anchor point to become much stronger and the pain to go away.  Click on the link about to learn more about this type of procedure.

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December 14, 2008

Torn Achilles Tendon Physical Therapy

A tear in the Achilles tendon can be either partial or complete.  Torn Achilles tendon physical therapy depends greatly on how the tendon is treated.  Surgical repair usually means significant immobilization.  This is a two edged sword.  On the one hand, immobilization can help the tendon mend, on the other, it also dramatically weakens the strength of the natural repair.  For a complete tear of the tendon (when it’s disconnected), aggressive casting may be the only way to promote even weak repair.  However, when the ligament is partially torn, the rehabilitation and recovery plan can vary widely depending on treatment method.

The rehab plan depends on if surgery is needed or not.  If the tendon is sewn back together, rehab will have to be non-weight bearing (on crutches) so at least 4-8 weeks.  However, there is a better way that can allow for quicker return to activities.  Recent research has shown good results when implanting the patient’s own adult stem cells into the tear.  This treatment technique is available now to patients in the first link above.  This is an injection of stem cells to heal the partial tendon tear.  If the Achilles tendon is repaired by this method, activity can start immediately as it helps stem cells differentiate into fibroblasts to repair the tendon.

For our patients, it’s critical to get rid of myofascial trigger points in the gastrocnemius muscle.  This can be accomplished by IMS.  This allows the muscle to function normally and allows for quicker strengthening of this critical muscle.

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