I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis 3 months ago. I wanted to know if you can help me

I certainly can help you! Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the long band of fibers (fascia) that run from your toes to your heels. It helps support the arch and absorbs shock. Plantar fasciitis is caused by repeated micro tears in the plantar fascia which cause the inflammation and Pain! Injuries to the foot, repetitive pounding from running or other weight bearing exercises and standing
on hard surfaces for a long period can strain the fascia. Over pronation is also a common cause of plantar fasciitis. When a foot over pronates, it means the arches have dropped, sometimes so severe, it leads to a flat foot. A flat foot does not absorb shock that well. You can tell if you over pronate by looking at the heels of  your shoes. Do the heels wear out unevenly? Is one of
your legs shorter than the other? Do your feet “toe out” when you’re walking? The first thing I would do when you come to my office is do a weight bearing 3 D digital scan of your feet. This will show us where the imbalances are in your feet when you are standing. Feet are the foundation for your entire body. When your body is out of balance because your feet are not level, it will shift
your entire body out of alignment and you can feel pain throughout your body. For example, if your right foot rolls in, or over pronates more than your left foot, your left hip will be higher than the right, creating a curvature in your lumbar spine which can lead to degeneration in the discs and Pain. Over pronating also causes the knee to internally rotate which over time can cause arthritis
in your knee. I use cold laser therapy to reduce the pain and inflammation and to promote healing in the tissue. I can also fit you with custom functional orthotics to bring your feet back in to balance. They absorb over 80% of the shock that would other wise be absorbed by the fascia. They are not a rigid orthotic. They are very comfortable and my patients love them! Gina, of Farmington: “I came to Dr. Gibson with debilitating foot pain in both feet. After 8 sessions of Cold Laser Therapy on both feet and the new inserts that Dr. Gibson fitted me for, my pain
level has gone from a 10+ to barely existing. I couldn’t be more pleased with my results… the overpronation that had become habit for me was crippling me. Now, I sleep through the night without excruciating pain and cramping in my feet and I’m able to walk immediately when I get up. Thank you again Dr. Gibson!!” Call 479-587-0227 to make an appointment.

Exercise as Medicine: Spotlight on Walking

Do you want to become healthier and stay healthy longer? Take a walk. That is the message of two important new studies.

In the first, from Tel Aviv University in Israel, researchers found that a simple aerobic program based on walking was as effective in alleviating lower back pain as muscle-strengthening programs that required specialized rehabilitation equipment. The researchers recruited 52 patients with chronic lower back pain, and assigned half of them to complete a six-week, clinic-based muscle-strengthening program, exercising under supervision two to three times a week. The other half of the patients spent the six weeks of the study walking for 20-40 minutes two to three times a week.

According to study leader Dr. Michal Katz-Leurer, in research published in the journal Circulation, the walking program was “as effective as treatment that could have been received in the clinic.” He explained that when people walk, their abdominal and back muscles are forced to work in a similar way as when they complete rehabilitation exercises targeting those areas. And unlike rehabilitation, which requires specialized equipment and expert supervision, walking is an activity that can be performed alone, and easily fit into a person’s schedule.

In the second study, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analyzed data collected on the activity and sitting habits of 36,000 older men, over a period of 24 years. The researchers determined how much time the men spent sitting, performing other activities, and walking, and whether they walked at an easy, average, or brisk pace. What they found was that even a little walking each week significantly lowered the risk of hip fractures in men over 50.

Over the period of the study, which was published in in the American Journal of Public Health,  546 hip fractures occurred, 85% of which were from “low trauma” events such as slipping, tripping, or falling from a chair. The study data indicates that the more the men walked, and the more vigorously they walked, the lower their risk of hip fracture was as they aged. Walking over four hours per week was identified as the point at which the most significant benefits occurred, providing a 43% lower hip fracture risk than in men who walked only one hour a week.

Study author Diane Feskanich says about her findings, “It’s well known that physical activity helps to prevent hip fractures, that it helps to build bone and muscle tone. It can help with balance, too. One thing we’re pointing out here is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be strenuous activity. A lot of studies have focused on the benefits of strenuous activity, but we found walking alone helped to prevent hip fractures, and when you come down to it, older people are often more comfortable with walking.”

The Key to More Independence in Your Senior Years? Start Walking Now!

Will you be able to maintain your independence as you reach your golden years? Recent research indicates that the answer to that question may actually depend on how you answer another question: “Can you comfortably walk a quarter of a mile?”

If your answer is “No” you’re not alone. 24 million older Americans have trouble walking that far, and 13 million more can’t walk a quarter-mile at all. According to a new article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), this puts these people at a huge risk of becoming disabled and losing their independence.

In recent years, inactivity (leading a sedentary lifestyle) has been found to be a major risk factor for serious conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report suggesting that inactivity is now killing more people every year than smoking. Inactivity is an even larger problem for older people because without exercise they begin to lose muscle mass and their sense of balance deteriorates more quickly. This puts them at increased risk of injury from falls—the leading injury-related cause of death among seniors.

In the JAMA study, researchers in eight states worked with people in their 70s and 80s who reported that they had developed a sedentary, inactive lifestyle. At the beginning of the study, these people were (on average) active less than 20 minutes a week. As a result, they were considered at high risk of becoming disabled due to lack of strength in their legs.

The study participants met twice a week to perform simple exercises to strengthen their legs and walk in a group, and were also asked to walk more at home. The goal for all participants was to engage in 150 minutes of activity each week and to become fit enough to walk a quarter of a mile without any outside assistance (other than using a cane). Interestingly, the quarter-mile distance wasn’t chosen by researchers at random. Rather, this distance is significant because city planners use it as a “livability” reference point. A city is considered “livable” if all the goods and services you need for day-to-day life are attainable within a quarter-mile of the closest public transportation stop. This means that if you can’t easily walk a quarter-mile, you may have effectively lost your ability to lead an independent life.

At the end of the 2.6-year JAMA study, all participants were able to comfortably walk that distance, and all felt that their general health and mobility had improved. Even more important, a significantly smaller percentage of them had become temporarily or permanently disabled, compared to people of the same age who had maintained a sedentary lifestyle.

The clear message from this study is that you can (quite literally) take steps TODAY to improve your own odds of staying healthy, happy, and independent in the future. Developing a new walking habit is a great way to ensure that you’re getting enough exercise while maintaining your mobility. Plus, it doesn’t cost anything and it doesn’t require any equipment more elaborate than a comfortable pair of shoes. And—maybe best of all—walking is an activity that you can do either socially as part of a group or on your own. Many local communities around the country even have seniors clubs that organize walks on a regular basis.

The key to aging well is to stay healthy, stay active and stay engaged. Building good habits now can make all the difference years from now. If you’d like to learn more about how you can keep your musculoskeletal system in good working order, just call or visit our office today!