Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania Edition
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Effective Non-Invasive Treatment for Plantar Fascitis

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. Patients typically complain of pain occurring with their first steps in the morning and worsening with activity. Factors that can increase the risk of developing this painful condition include being over the age of 40, being flat-footed or having a high arch, obesity, occupations that require a lot of standing or walking, and exercise such as long distance running. 

Fifteen percent of all patients who Dr. Robert Kaplan sees have plantar fasciitis. In-office x-rays are taken to rule out stress fractures and tumors. These x-rays often show a bone spur is present. Fortunately, surgery is seldom necessary. Treatment involves reducing the inflammation with either a cortisone or Traumeel injection. A homeopathic alternative to steroid shots, Traumeel injections contain a natural blend of botanical and mineral extracts with the ability to neutralize inflammation, allowing the body to heal properly with no side effects. Night splints and stretching exercises help to relax the plantar fascia. Icing the heel, along with anti- inflammatory medicines like Advil and Aleve, are helpful. Frequently, custom-fitted orthotics are necessary to correct the faulty foot biomechanics.

If a conservative cure is unsuccessful, Kaplan offers extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) as a better alternative to surgery. Sound waves are directed at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing and have a 92-percent success rate. Kaplan uses the Dornier Epos ESWT machine, which has in-line ultrasound allowing the physician to view the damaged tissue and spur site. The painful, unhealthy tissue is first targeted with the ultrasound and then the machine produces and directs powerful shockwaves to the damaged tissue. This causes micro-trauma to the tissue, activating the body’s own healing process. The newly traumatized tissue is replaced with strengthened new fibers called fibroblasts, which are stronger and more flexible than the previously damaged tissue. Unlike surgery, this procedure is not painful or invasive. There is no lengthy recovery period, no time off from work and no risk of causing further damage or injury. Patients typically bear weight after treatment and may return to work in a day or two.  The procedure is FDA-cleared to treat plantar fasciitis and heel spur syndrome.

Source: Dr. Robert Kaplan. Location: 1901 Hay Terrace, Easton. For more information call 610-253-2251 or visit TwinRiversPodiatryEaston.com.

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