Prescription for Relief
If your client is diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, she can take several steps to alleviate the problem. Parekh notes that a three-pronged approach is used as the first line of treatment: physical therapy and stretching; a splint worn overnight that prevents the fascia from tightening; and extra cushioning in shoes. Anti-inflammatory medicines such as Tylenol also help. “If conservative care fails, we will try steroid injections. If that fails, we might try platelet rich plasma injections, which injects the healing part of blood into the heel, or ultrasound or shockwave therapy.” A last-ditch effort would involve a surgery in which the plantar fascia is cut, but Parekh finds that less than 10% of clients require this solution (among that 10%, he estimates that 80% to 90% of people receive long-term relief from the surgery).
Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis may require your clients to hang up the stilettos for a period of time. Because ill-fitting shoes can exacerbate the problem, clients should be encouraged to choose function over fashion when selecting everyday footwear. But with this in mind, Frey adds another possible solution for clients with this problem: “It’s not unusual for a patient to say that she feels better in a high heel. It actually can make you feel better, as you throw the weight off the heel and onto the ball of the foot. This isn’t traditionally a recommended treatment, but a small heel can be of help.”
As a nail tech, you can help a client who has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Parekh and Frey both note that massage helps clients feel more comfortable, while warm soaks relieve tension and relax the feet. “I personally have experienced plantar fasciitis. My doctor had me on Motrin and asked me to do stretching exercises with the foot that was in pain,” says Linda Staley, nail technician at Anasa Hair Studio & Spa in Lake Elsinore, California. “Since then, I’ve had a few clients with it and found that with those clients, after the warmth of the pedicure tub and then a gentle massage, the pain subsided.”
All of your clients’ feet take literally tons of pounding throughout the day, which pampering pedicures relieve. But if a client tells you of her problems with plantar fasciitis, take a little time to show her extra attention and care with an additional minute of massage or a few drops of soothing oil in her pedicure bath. These minor tweaks will show your client that you’re especially attentiv e to her needs—leading to an improved feeling for her, and a long-term client for you!
Tracy Morin is a freelance writer and editor based in Oxford, MS.