Plantar fasciitis (or often called heel spurs) is really common. It is the most common musculoskeletal problem of the foot. Everywhere you go on the web, there are snake oil approaches advocated for it from so many people who I am convinced have only just learnt how to spell ‘plantar fasciitis‘ let alone have any expertise in it. As it is so common, there is a lot of money to be made and there are plenty of ‘secret’ $19.95 eBooks and programs with the secrets that ‘doctors don’t even know about’! Give me a freakin break!

Plantar fasciitis occur when there is too much load in the plantar fascia which is a long ligament that hold up the arch of the foot. What is the ‘secret’ to treating it – all you have to do is reduce that load! You stretch; you use the right foot orthotics; you modify your activity levels; and you loose weight. If that does not start to help, you then start doing things to help the tissue heal. Then you progressively increase the load on the foot so that it can adapt. No secret or snake oil in that. Its all supported by the evidence.

There are so many quacks, most with no health professional training or experience hawking all sorts of snake oil for plantar fasciitis, its is difficult to know what to stay away from. You need to use your best judgement, but generally if the product is being hawked with testimonials, then that is the first red flag.

Plantar fasciitis is easy to manage. Its not complicated. there are no secrets. Don’t fall for the snake oil. There is plenty of good advice online that is not made up marketing hype.

A case has been reported in the news media of a chiropractic manipulation breaking a vertebrae in the neck of a four month old baby! The regulatory authority investigated the complaint and found the chiropractor not guilty. Give me a freakin break! Chiropractors need to stay away from babies, practice within their scope of practice and not do any treatments that have no evidence for them or a sound pathophysiological underpinning,. Manipulating the spine of babies has neither.

To make things worse, some ‘behind the scenes’ quotes from a private Chiropractic Facebook page have been revealed to show how deceitful some of them have become.

No wonder the ‘quack’ and woo label is attached to chiropractors so often when this is the way they behave.

Overpronation is a problem that is supposed to affect the foot in runners and cause injury or not. A study came out that apparently showed it didn’t. There was a press release that came out with the study that over-hyped what they found. So many running websites parroted the press release and the myth of overpronation. No one stopped to notice that there was another study the same week that showed the opposite result and talk about that. On one stopped to mention that the meta-analyses and systematic reviews of all the studies still show it is a risk factor. When I say no one stopped, there a couple of sites that did, but that was all. None of those who parroted the press release have retracted what they wrote or apologized now that we have a more sensible interpretation of the research and that it did not actually show what was in the press release. When will we learn about press releases and medical news. Oh, the absurdity!

I not sure who is more absurd here. The toning shoes are shoes that are deliberately made unstable so you have to work a lot harder when using them, giving you an alleged “tone up”. The have rocker or wobble features in the soles to achieve this. Common brand names include Skechers, Reebok and MBT. They were very popular a few years ago, being endorsed by celebrities and appearing on a lot of late night television advertisements. The manufacturers made a lot of claims for these shoes from curing cellulite to low back problems.

Where does the absurdity come in:

1. A number of the manufacturers are being sued and class actions and have had to settle with the Federal Trade Commission. They got busted as there was no evidence to back up the absurd claims that they were making for the shoes!

2. On the other side of the coin are the absurd consumers who are suing them because they had accidents in the shoes. Well, if a shoe is made unstable, of course you are more likely to have ab accident! What were they expecting.

These shoes do still have some uses to treat a number of clinical problems, so probably do not necessarily deserve the ‘snake oil’ tag that some gave them. More research and more experience with them is need to take away the absurdity that has surrounded the history of toning shoes.