A Few Common Myths About Plantar Fasciitis

When people start to experience pain in their feet, the first thing many of them do is go see a doctor. After all, doctors are supposed to be the experts when it comes to any kind of body pain. But the reality is that yours is probably mistaken when it comes to plantar fasciitis/fasciosis. It’s a pretty good bet that you’ve been told at least one of the following:

First Myth: NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. are a good treatment for plantar fasciitis

Very often, doctors will prescribe Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and the reason is that they believe plantar fasciitis is a result of inflammation. But the most current research shows that this really isn’t true. Since the origin of the problem isn’t what the doctors believe it to be, naturally NSAIDs can’t do much to help. If you’ve ever taken ibuprofen and so on for plantar fasciitis, chances are that you might have gotten some temporary pain relief…but it probably didn’t really do anything to help the underlying condition.

Second Myth: You have to take some time off and let the plantar fascia heal.

It’s true that stopping the motion or exercise that caused your problem will result in less pain during the time that you’re resting, this isn’t really going to “cure” the problem. You need the right kind of help, and if you don’t get it, once you resume the activity you’re going to experience a repeat of the exact same pain. This is basically another example of fallout from the (incorrect) idea that plantar fascia pain results from inflammation. If you really do have inflammation, some time away from the activity will let your body heal, but with long-term plantar fasciitis (a word that is starting to be looked at with distrust; if you’ve had the condition for a while it’s almost a sure bet that it’s plantar fasciosis) this doesn’t happen. Besides, think about it: if you’re a professional athlete or do something like work as a store clerk (i.e., stand on your feet all day for a living), can you really take that much time off? Personally, I don’t know too many people who can.

Third Myth: Plantar fasciitis can be cured with herbal supplements

The alternative medicine crowd – doctors included – really likes this one. Yes, some herbal supplements can lessen fasciitis pain – if you can get enough of it in a pill or capsule – but none of them is an actual cure. Stuff like tumeric and willow bark, which are usually recommended, function through the inhibition of the production mechanisms for COX-2. What is “COX-2”? Well, it’s an enzyme that controls some forms of inflammation and pain. But here again, what’s generally called “plantar fasciitis” is usually actually plantar fasciosis, which is not an inflammatory condition. Any relief you get from these supplements is probably because of their effect on the actual pain reduction mechanism rather than the root plantar fascia condition.