In our practice, we treat foot injuries every day. Many of these are sports injuries. Most sports involve running, where the majority of foot and toe injuries occur.
Dancing, most often ballet, has also been shown to cause extensive pain to the dancer’s feet.
The pain associated with plantar fasciitis is usually described as pinpoint or knife-like pain in the heel pad. Pain is usually worse in the morning, when the plantar fascia is stiff, cold, or tensed. The pain is caused when the damaged tissue is stretched, so when the person begins to bear weight on the foot, the pain level is very high, but lessens as he/she continues to walk/run, presumably as the plantar fascia becomes more flexible. The pain typically originates very gradually; starting only with pain at the beginning of exercise. However, without appropriate treatment; even walking becomes too painful.
Plantar fasciitis can occur for any number of reasons, most having their root in simple overuse. The pain is a result of the weakness of the plantar fascia, which then inflames. The body uses inflammation to heal, but traditional sports medicine uses anti-inflammatory drugs and cold compresses to reduce the inflammation. By getting rid of the inflammation, the body has then stopped trying to heal the weakness of the plantar fascia, leaving the patient with an injury, though the pain may be gone temporarily. Unfortunately it returns with a vengeance and can be debilitating, often causing athletes to abort their plans for sporting events. Don’t fret, we know of a solution.
A heel spur forms because the plantar fascia is barely connected. Thus, the heel spur is not the cause of the pain, but rather the result of plantar fasciitis. By administering Prolotherapy, the spur-producing process stops. This idea is applicable to any osteoarthritis process in the body. Prolotherapy stops every arthritis-producing processes because it corrects the root of the problem, which is tendon, ligament, and fascia weakness. Prolotherapy has corrected many a foot problem that would otherwise have had to have surgery that is often unsuccessful.
Turf toe is a very common condition among football players, as well as other “turf” sports. The combination of synthetic grass (turf) and light, flexible football cleats wreak havoc on the ligaments in the great toe. Turf toe is, simply, a sprain of the ligament of the great toe. This injury is most likely to occur then two linemen are pushing against each other. Their feet are held in place in the turf by their cleats, and the force exerted to move the other player causes extension of the metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ).
Some may question the significance of a great toe injury, but a study done by the University of Arkansas reported an average of six turf toe cases per year. In the same study, there was an average of 24.7 ankle sprains per year, during the same period. And yet turf toe was the reason for seven missed games, while ankle sprains were the cause of only six missed games (Coker, T. American Journal of Sports Medicine).
Why were these players side-lined? Turf toe may cause severe and chronic pain. If there is an injury to the MPJ, it can lead to prolonged disability, because the MPJ joint is vital to walking. This is the joint involved in the push-off phase of walking and running. If untreated, turf toe can cause hallux rigidus, or an immobile joint in the great toe (see foot figure above). Other long-term injuries include painful arthritis and bunions.
Three problems, one treatment
All three of these injuries can be treated with Prolotherapy. Prolotherapy is the safest and most effective treatment we know of for repairing injuries to tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Prolotherapy stimulates the body to repair the injuries by creating a mild inflammatory reaction in the weakened ligaments and tendons in the foot. The inflammation causes an increase in blood flow to the injured site, which signals the body that the area needs to be healed. In the simplest terms, Prolotherapy stimulates healing. This happens because Prolotherapy is directed at the source of the pain: the fibro-osseous junction, an area rich in sensory nerves. The tissue strengthening and pain relief in Prolotherapy is nearly always permanent!