Latest News and Information

Everything you need to stay up to date with Athletic PT news and physical therapy resources.

The Incredible Hulk Fights Heel Pain

Many people have foot pain. It is usually a nagging, burning feeling on the bottom of the heel. The question I was asked was “Does the size of my foot make a difference in my heel pain?”

In order to answer that question, let’s take a look at a treatment on one of the biggest and best known feet: The Incredible Hulk fights Heel Pain.

Watch the video here 

The foot is designed to be used as a lever to propel us on our merry way.  Levers of course need to be stiff and sturdy so that energy is not lost in the transference of force from our foot to the ground.

The foot is also designed to absorb the shock of the ground and balance our bodies.  Balancing our body on one or two feet both requires supple and adaptive compensations.

This is what makes the foot so amazing.  The foot is both a rigid lever and a shock absorber which are two diametrically opposing concepts.  As you strike your foot on the ground it needs to be able to absorb the impact. As your body travels over your foot it must transition into a rigid lever so your muscles can contact and make you move forward.

The process of transitioning form rigid lever to shock absorber happens over and over again and it doesn’t matter if you have a tiny foot or a foot as big as the Incredible Hulk. An important piece of tissue in the foot is the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia runs on the bottom of the foot between the heel bone and the toes.  Plantar fasciitis is a degenerative condition that causes scarring and inflammation of the plantar fascia insertion onto the heel.

The principles of treating plantar fasciitis are not based on the size of the foot but more on understanding and controlling the transition of the foot from shock absorber to rigid lever.  By controlling the forces being placed through the plantar fascia you begin to see an improvement in symptoms. Sufferers of planta fasciitis must understand is if an activity causes symptoms, they are perpetuating the pain, inflammatory and degenerative process.

By modifying activities you are at least able to stop the inflammatory cycle and avoid irritating the plantar fascia.  This allows the body to start the reparative process helping to remediate the condition and symptoms. Adding appropriate physical therapy treatment then begins to heal the fascia and the condition can be resolved. Treatment for plantar fasciitis includes many different techniques which will be discussed in further posts.