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Rejoicing Family Running After Conquering Persistent Heel Pain

Today I received a beautiful family picture from Katie, completing a fun family running event over the Summer. This is such an amazing victory and a long-awaited success for her, fighting over persistent heel pain and its associated with fear. Her story begins here.

Katie is a 35 years old female, a mother of three children, whom really enjoyed running and keeping up with kids’ activities.

Her heel pain started during pregnancy of her youngest child and continued gotten worse over 2 years. Her level of functional mobility significantly declined due to high severity and irritability of heel pain. As a result, she couldn’t even maintain basic functional mobilities such standing and walking. Every morning, she had to drag her feet and unable to stay on barefeet. She developed fear-avoidance behavior with physical activities.

Soft Tissue Release under Loading

Over the course of her illness, she sought many standard recommendations (orthotics, exercises, taping, pain medications, injections), physical therapy, and finally ended up having heel surgery (plantar fasciotomy). Despite of these effort, she did not seem to have any relief from persistent heel pain. Surgery even caused neuropathic pain described as burning and tingling pain caused by the development of excessive star tissue under the incision, compressing the posterior tibial nerve.

I was recommended to her by one of my previous clients for conservative pain management as a clinical expert in this field.

Scar Tissue Release by Dry Needling

Initial consultation revealed that Katie presented with increased mechananosensitivty in the heel region, and its connection up to the posterior chain (upper/lower leg including low back). She also presented with overall decondition and fear avoidance.

We agreed to work on the whole body system together rather than focus on heel region solely. Katie was quite determined to fight her persistent heel pain. We incorporated comprehensive management plan including local/global treatment on heel area and its related problem areas, pain education, relaxation techniques such as breathing, pacing/exposure (cognitive functional approach), activity modification, overall development of strength/endurance of core and lower extremity, and finally a progressive running program with pacing.

Pain Control Using Electrical Stimulation Dry Needling

Specifically, Katie responded in favor of the utilization of Dry Needling (DN). Based on her perceived improvement, DN was added to improve changes of tissue properties in trigger points, scar tissue, and to facilitate pain control in addition to functional rehabilitation. DN involves the insertion of one or more solid needles into the muscle and related tissues to affect change in muscle and related tissues. DN can help resolve pain, muscle tension (knot), and promote healing.

Eccentric Progressive Loading to Plantar Fascia

We reviewed activity modifications (utilizing pacing/exposure) with trials and errors as she continued progressing toward her functional/recreational goals. At the end of rehabilitation phase, we utilized walk/jog/run program so that she can enjoy running races.

The overall process to her rehabilitation was not really a smooth ride but she embraced inner challenges and fought to overcome her own fear. Finally she got over her persistent pain and returned her normal life. SHE NOW BECAME A REAL WARRIOR.

"After 2 years with Plantar Fasciitis pain, trying orthotics, other physical therapy and finally surgery, I was given the name of Dr. Jung. After working with him, I am finally able to RUN again, in comparison of dreading the .1mi walk to drop my daughter at school. I finally have my normal life back thanks to Dr. Jung."

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