PART II: HOMEWORK- the cheap and "easy" solution

Being actively involved in your care will drastically improve how quickly this nagging condition can be treated. In the last post, we reviewed the underlying causes of true Plantar Fasciitis; remember how every case has a different cause? It would stand to reason that every  case will respond differently to each technique used. Not all of these are recommended for every case. Here are a few rules to follow:

  • Never stretch or push to the point of pain. Tenderness or a deep stretch is fine; pain is too far.

  • If any of these increase your pain- stop; if they make it feel better- continue. If it doesn't make much difference either way, keep it up.

  • Be very diligent with these for 7-10 days as soon as your pain begins (many cases are slow to improve because we wait too long or we are not truly diligent about using these methods).

  • Try to choose the methods that most closely match your underlying cause of pain (then add additional methods as needed).

  • Even if your pain goes away completely, use these tools for at least one more week (they also work great as warm-up/cool down exercises long-term).

  • If your pain has not improved significantly after 10 days, seek professional care.  Also get professional advice if this becomes a frequently recurrent problem (you need to address the underlying cause not just manage the pain).

Most people are familiar with Night Splint, Ice Bottle Rolling and calf stretching for homecare so they are included (there are details of these as well that many people forget!). My focus here is to address a variety of home tools and techniques that provide additional relief and should be considered but are less commonly known.




Did you ever think you may have something in common with big names like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan,  Ryan Hall, Pete Sampras, or Scott Podsednik? "Walking on sharp glass" especially early in the morning is one possible symptom of Plantar Fasciitis. Sharp pain localized in the heel can be another symptom. The reality is that from basketball to tennis, running to baseball, even football to hockey does not discriminate when it comes to this condition.

 What most people don't realize is that there are a number of conditions that cause pain in the bottom of the foot or heel; yet the term Plantar Fasciitis is often wrongly used due to its familiarity to many people. It is important to see a professional for a correct diagnosis and to determine the underlying cause of the condition causing pain (muscle, fascia or tendon tears, nerve entrapment as well as stress fractures are just a few of the other conditions that should be considered). Early treatment is very important to better long-term outcomes, so instead of "running through it," read up on this 3 part series for information about treatment options, tips for home remedies and what to expect if you do need to seek care!

The Cause...

Before we can discuss how to treat it, we need to take a step back to understand exactly WHAT it is and what may have caused it to begin with. True plantar fasciitis was once believed to be inflammation of the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot known as the Plantar Aponeurosis (Fascia) - hence the name ending in "itis."  In recent years, a change in the cause of the condition has been recognized. Current research suggests that although inflammation may be present, the true cause of the condition may be atrophy or chronic degeneration of the fascial tissue (3, 4). The smaller and deep foot muscles (known as intrinsic muscles) are also sometimes affected by this degeneration or inflammation.  

Since everything in the body is about balance, we have to consider all 33 joints, 28 bones and over 100 muscles in the foot. The plantar fascia has direct connections to the muscles in the calf while at the same time opposing the muscles and tissue on the top of the foot. Each muscle, tendon and joint is responsible for sharing the load during standing, walking, running and jumping.  Improper fitting shoes, poor gait mechanics, lack of range of motion in any one of the foot or ankle joints, overly tight calf or ankle muscles are all possible causes, just to name a few.

Studies recently have used MRI imaging to link pain and chronicity to the size (and therefore assumed strength) of the small muscles in the foot which are used to support the inside arch of the foot (1, 2).  Weak foot musculature and/or lack of endurance in these muscles can lead to changes in pronation and the ability of the foot to distribute forces evenly and smoothly. Increased tension on the fascia or very fast transfers of force to the fascia cause irritation and eventually inflammation.

Diet and hydration can always be culprits. "You are what you eat" is an old saying for a reason. The types of proteins, fats and carbohydrates you eat are the building blocks of your tissues. The quality of your tissue is largely dependent on the quality of food you eat; furthermore your general inflammation is higher when you eat poorly and will be more difficult to calm down after an injury. Drinking plenty of (quality) fluids keeps your tissues more pliable and helps your body repair more quickly.

Training schedules and of course general overtraining are hugely detrimental. As a general rule, intensity of your workout should be increased by no more than 10% each week. Many people also fail to give themselves the recovery they need to heal and stay healthy after each workout- it is important to listen to your body and give it ample time to recover so it can adapt and get stronger. Using cross training, or mixing up your workouts with different types of activities is a great way to give yourself recovery time while working different muscle groups which pays off in the end as well!

Any combination of factors may lead to the inflammation that causes Plantar Fasciitis pain. As part of the natural healing process, the body creates scar tissue along the areas of inflammation. Scar tissue is not like the healthy tissue that lies underneath it; reduced pliability and stretch as well as increased diameter of the tissue leads to changes in how the foot functions. Changes in foot function leads to changes in the amount of force distributed throughout the foot during activities which can increase the irritation in the original tissues. It is easy to see the vicious cycle that makes Plantar Fasciitis such a chronic problem for so many people.


Every case of Plantar Fasciitis should be treated differently because every case has a different underlying cause. Improper fitting shoes, poor gait mechanics, weak foot musculature, lack of range of motion in any one of the foot or ankle joints, overly tight calf or ankle muscles, are all possible causes, just to name a few.

The first step in treating this condition should be obvious: stop doing whatever caused the pain. Whether it was increasing mileage for running, standing for a long time, wearing high heels or jumping during training for you sport, the longer you keep pounding and aggravating the tissue, the harder it will become to treat and the longer it will take. Depending on why your pain has begun, varying treatments can be used to improve your outcomes.

Initial treatment can be performed at home with little to no equipment. Stay tuned for Part II of this article which describes many commonly used homecare techniques in more detail. If your pain has not improved considerably within 7-10 days of diligent homecare, then it is time to seek professional care sooner rather than later. Part III will discuss professional care techniques that are commonly used.



1. Chang R, Kent-Braun JA, Hamill J. "Use of MRI for volume estimation of tibialis posterior and plantar intrinsic foot muscles in healthy and chronic plantar fasciitis limbs."  Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2012 Jun;27(5):500-5.

2. Chundru U et al. "Plantar fasciitis and calcaneal spur formation are associated with abductor digiti minimi atrophy on MRI of the foot."
Skeletal Radiol. 2008 Jun;37(6):505-10. doi: 10.1007/s00256-008-0455-2.

3. Kaikkonen M, et al. "Treatment of Plantar Fasciopathy." Duodecim. 2012;128(17):1777-85.

4. Cornwall MW, McPoil, TG. "Plantar Fasciitis Etiology."
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1999 Dec;29(12):756-60.


Meet Ashton Romero. He was born on August 9th, 2013.  You would never guess by  his smiling face, but for him, every day is a miracle. He was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia while still in the womb, and at just six days old, he was placed on the national heart transplant list. 
Pulmonary Atresia is a defect in the heart, where the valve leading to the lungs doesn't develop properly. Instead of opening and closing to allow blood flow from the heart into the lungs for oxygenation, the (pulmonary) valve is blocked by a sheet of tissue. 

The Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) is currently sponsoring Ashton and his family. This national charity has made it their mission to provide support for families who are struggling with the financial and emotional burdens of transplant related procedures.  

At MSWC, we feel that giving back to our community is of great importance. To show support for Ashton, we have put together a gift basket to be raffled off at our Open House, on 9/26; 6pm-9pm. Tickets will be available for purchase from September 15th-26th.  All ticket sales will be donated to his family. 

Stay tuned for raffle details!!

Follow Ashton on his journey at: 

Follow our social media pages for updates about the week-long Patient Appreciation Event!! 

Resistance Band Workshop - with Amanda Roberson
Monday September 22nd 6:30-7:00PM

Resistance bands are a diverse tool that can increase strength, stability, mobility and overall function.  When used properly, they can help promote healing of injuries and prevent future injuries from occurring! This workshop is not just for patients! If you're an intense athlete, a "weekend warrior", or simply looking to understand and improve your body - this is the workshop for you! 

  • Upper Extremity - wrist, elbow & shoulder
  • Lower Extremity - hip, knee & ankle
  • Whole body energy transfer
  • Resistance bands (if you have them, otherwise one will be provided for you!) 
  • Wear loose fitting clothes to allow movement.
  • Yourself! 

Soft tissue Self treatment - with Dr. Therese Miller
Thursday September 25th 6:30-7:00PM

Releasing tension in the muscles is an integral part of any warm-up or cool-down exercise routine. This hands-on workshop will help you learn to effectively use inexpensive tools at home to self-treat some of the most common conditions.  This workshop will benefit athletes and non-athletes alike, who want to know how they can better manage common aches and pains. 

  • Low back & neck pain
  • Headaches
  • shoulder pain
  • hip & knee pain
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Plantar Fasciitis

  • Yourself!
  • Foam roller, Lacrosse Ball or Triggerpoint Ball
  • Relaxed fitting clothes to move freely and easily

Thai Massage - with Elizabeth Hoffman
Saturday Spetember 27th 1:00-1:30PM

Thai massage is a form of bodywork featuring stretching and traction traditionally practiced on the floor.  Clients remain fully clothed, and no lotions or oils are involved.  Thai massage works as the practitioner uses their feet, elbows, knees and hands to compress and stretch the client. Some people describe it as a passive form of yoga. 

“It’s like going to a massage therapist, yoga class and chiropractor.”  Jill Burynski     


  • Yourself
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfy clothes

MSWC and Hands On have spent two years in our office on 103rd & Oklahoma, and welcomed Berry Family Chiro last year.  Now it's time to celebrate! Our success would not have been possible without our patients. We want to use our anniversary to thank YOU, for supporting us! 

September 22nd-26th, we will be hosting Patient Appreciation and Education Week! Throughout the week, there will be free workshops with Amanda Roberson, Dr. Miller, and Elizabeth Hoffman of Hands On Massage Inc. The main event will be the open house, on Friday September 26 from 6:00-9:00pm. There will be a clearance product sale, raffle prizes, drinks, snacks and good times all around! Dr. Berry will also stop in to introduce Baby Berry!! 

Event details will be posted throughout the next few weeks. You can find details on our Facebook, Twitter or in our blog. As always, feel free to contact the office for more information! 

Let’s start by defining both. Static stretching is the action of holding a muscle in a stretch for a certain amount of time (let us say 30 secs) while the body is at rest, no movement. Dynamic stretching is stretching the muscle while activating that muscle in a controlled manner, movement. Dynamic stretching is not the same as taking a static stretch and adding a bounce to the end range for your motion.

Newton’s first law of motion comes to mind. “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.” Now, let us take that law and apply it to stretching. When a muscle is being stretched without any activation, the muscle fibers are being pulled apart in a weak uncontrolled position. This is not always a bad technique but it should not be used before an activity or event. Static stretching should be used during the cool-down phase of exercise or after an event.

Before an event, dynamic stretching promotes an increase in blood flow, “warming up” the muscle. Because there is movement while stretching, range of motion and body awareness is improved. To help you out, I have attached a link at the bottom that outlines a full body dynamic warm up routine to get you ready for any workout.

-- Amanda Roberson, MAT, ATC, LAT

What is IT band syndrome?

The first question to answer is what is the IT band? IT band stands for Iliotibial band which is a large sheet of thick fibers that connect the hip to the knee on the outside of the leg. Various muscles and other kinds of soft tissues connect to the IT band. IT band syndrome is an overuse injury common in runners and cyclists. The distal (bottom) portion of the thick band crosses over the lateral epicondyle (outside bony part) of the knee. As the knee bends and straightens that portion crosses over the lateral epicondyle which can cause irritation and/or a popping sound.

How do I prevent IT band syndrome?

Athletes can help prevent IT band syndrome from occurring. Proper mechanics should always be used while exercising regardless of the intensity. It is important that our muscles and joints are used the way that they were designed to be used. Incorporating a dynamic warm up and cool down decreased the rate of injury. This allows blood flow to the muscles while stretching the muscles. IT band syndrome can be an effect of tightness of one or more of the muscles that attach to the IT band. Also, a number of soft tissue techniques could be used including ART (active release technique) and Guasha (a scraping technique). Most soft tissue techniques have the same end goal with different approaches. People react different to different techniques.

How do I treat IT band syndrome?

There are many treatments for IT band syndrome ranging from conservative care or surgery. It is common practice to begin with conservative care, working of proper mechanics, soft tissue techniques, and stretching. From there if no results are found then the injury would be re-evaluated and the case would progress from that point.

-Amanda Roberson, MAT, ATC, LAT
Athletes don't always look like this...
Most athletes look more like this...
Changing the way we, as a society, look at exercises, influences our goals and overall outcomes. If the end goal of exercise is to get bigger and stronger, then lifting at the gym in the traditional sense fits. However, if the end goal is to run faster, throw harder, or jump higher, incorporating a functional approach may be more beneficial.  Our life is lived through functional movement; therefore we should train through functional movement to reflect out activities. The Grey Institute is centered on the philosophy of Applied Functional Science (AFS) which is a functional based approach to exercise and rehab treatment. Using AFS allowed providers to retrain the body to function the way it was designed. Functional training combined with traditional training optimizes our level of performance. But as always proper mechanics is the most important in any type of training.

Using the link below will direct you to an article that explains deeper the “Principles of Lifting” by Logan Schwartz FAFS.

-Amanda Roberson, MAT, ATC, LAT

When: Friday, April 25th, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Authentic Birth Center and Wellness Collective
530 N 108th Place
Wauwatosa, WI 53226

Why: Dr. Miller wants to help you learn how to maintain your most important resource: your body!  This will be an excellent opportunity to discover how fulfilling it can be to play an active role in your personal wellness. The evening will be filled with information about basic body mechanics, common malfunctions, treatment and maintenance care.  There will even be a hands on portion, to practice and perfect the exercise techniques!

    Not only will you have access to live instructions, but the tools for the exercises will be available! Tool kits will be available for pre-order, for $40 dollars.  This includes a high density foam roller, LaCrosse ball, and the $5 admission for the evening.   Dr. Miller will show everyone, step-by-step, proper technique for the maintenance exercises. Then you can practice in the hands on portion of the evening.

Don't let aches and pains get in the way of your summer! This is an excellent event for athletes, new parents, or those simply looking to understand their body, a little better.  Anyone can benefit from this series! If you know anyone who would benefit from this series remember:
The greatest compliment we can receive, is your referral to a friend or loved one.

Cost of attendance will be an appreciated donation of $5.00

Please contact our office for additional information and registration!
phone: 262.366.3655

This spring, Dr. Miller is determined to give up her sweet, sugary snacks! Breaking bad habits can be difficult, but she knows that strength comes in numbers. She wants to challenge YOU to make a healthy living pledge, in her Spring Fling Challenge!


1. Post your pledge on our wall,  in a comment on our blog posts, or @drtmiller on Twitter. It can be any healthy living goal you choose - whether you'd like to shed a few extra pounds, exercise more or simply eat healthier!

2. Inspire and be inspired by everyone who has made a pledge to live healthier! Beginning February 1st, 2014 post a picture to our wall (or @drtmiller on Twitter) and show everyone that you're going the extra mile, a few steps at a time, to become a happier and healthier YOU! 

3. Who doesn't love a little friendly competition? Every pledge post and every picture, will be entered at the end of the month, for a drawing to win some fabulous prizes! There is no limit to the number of posts per day. Winners will be announced on March 1st, 2014. 

Why wait, when it comes to your health? Post your pledge today and make 2014 your happiest and healthiest year yet!

...Stay tuned for more updates!