The Hatfield Strap is an innovative device to alleviate plantar fasciitis
Some of us are more prone to running injuries than others for whatever reason – it could be running in less supportive shoes or standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time. The bummer is once you are injured, running must take a back seat until you seek treatment.
According to a recent New York Times report, plantar fasciitis is a common injury to both men and women, however, it most often affects active men aged 40 – 70. It is one of the most common orthopedic complaints relating to the foot. Plantar fasciitis is commonly thought of as being caused by a heel spur but research has found that this is not the case. On x-ray, heel spurs are seen in people with and without plantar fasciitis. If you have suffered or are suffering from PF it is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that originates on the heel bone and extends along the sole of the foot towards the toes and supports the arch of the foot. The Hatfield Strap was launched last year to help treat PF. The strap is portable and allows you to be in control – it can be adjusted to various degrees of intensity when stretching the affected area – you don’t need someone to help you to do the stretching. Keith Hatfield, a physician’s assistant for the past 15 years at Dermatology Associates, and a former athletic trainer with MLB’s Kansas City Royals, said in a phone interview from his Tallahassee, Florida office that he always had an interest in healthcare and sports while working with the Royals.
Hatfield subsequently decided to go back to school and as a PA, and came up with the idea for the Hatfield Strap. “The strap won’t completely eliminate the injury – the objective is to stretch the calf and hamstring effectively,” Hatfield said. He points out you also need to be wearing the right shoes with proper support to completely treat it. Hatfield was an avid runner both on the track and at cross country in college and had suffered plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He said, “I put ice on after running, stretched a lot, even saw a podiatrist and had an injection. I bought every product on the market, but none would give the satisfaction of really pulling on the arch of the foot which is made up of the plantar fascia.”
He continues, “So I had an idea to develop a strap that is wide enough to fit under the foot with handles that make it easy to pull. With the running community in mind, I ordered the parts and stitched it together myself and called it the Hatfield Strap. After using my new device, I was thrilled because I felt the stretch in the foot where I wanted it. That’s when I knew that this could help many people who suffer from plantar fasciitis, as well as anyone wanting to get a great foot, calf, and hamstring stretch.”
The strap is a two-part system that allows users to find a stretch that is unrivaled by any other product on the market. It uses the weight of the user to anchor the force of the strap. The user simply sits on the strap as it continues under the foot connecting to two handles that can be pulled back pulling the toes back for a stretch of the foot, calf, and potentially hamstring. What sets his strap apart is having a shoulder strap which allows the person to have that five- minute stretch without fatigue or letting up on the force. It can also stretch out your foot, calves and hamstring after a post-run. Hatfield says, “If you feel an injury coming on, take it easy (on your feet by swimming or biking for aerobic workouts) — your long-term health is more important than short term gains. I’ve been teaching that to athletes my whole life and now I can equip them with a strap and they can stretch the foot at work, at home, in a hotel or wherever you have a little space.”
He hopes to one day see his strap everywhere hanging on athletic and health professional doors.
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