Natural health: Floaters and Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis and floaters discussed by Megan Sheppard. 

Last week I noticed a grey shadowy object in my peripheral vision. I thought at first that it was a bird or something, but since then it has returned in various different settings. It seems to come and go with no apparent reason. Can you please help?

What you have noticed appearing in your vision are shadows of cellular debris floating inside the eye, commonly known as floaters. When small clumps of cells float around within the fluid of the eye they cast a shadow on the retina, causing the appearance of a floating object, as you have noted.

Floaters are considered to generally be of no great concern, and typically disappear entirely of their own accord. 

It is important to note that you should seek urgent medical assistance if they show a sudden increase in number as this could indicate a more serious issue, such as vitreous haemorrhage or retinal detachment.

There are nutrients that will help with general eye health, and are worth stepping up your intake of or including in your diet. 

The antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, and the minerals selenium and zinc are very important, and can be found in richly-coloured fruits and vegetables, along with nuts, seeds, and shellfish.

Vitamin A in particular is essential to eye health, with 50,000IU being the amount thought to help prevent the reappearance of floaters. This dosage of vitamin A doesn’t require supplementation, since it is easily obtained through foods rich in this nutrient, for example, 100g of carrots contains around 30,000IU of vitamin A.

Other specific foods for eyesight include blueberries and eggs. Blueberries not only contain high levels of antioxidants, but are also thought to benefit eye health and improve visual focus. 

Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from macular degeneration. Make sure that you take healthy fats (such as nuts, seeds, avocado, seafood or cold-pressed oils) with your eggs as lutein needs fats to be absorbed.

NOTE: Pregnant women should not take more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A daily. If you decide to use vitamin A supplementation, remember to take account of any vitamin A in other supplements and vitamin A-rich foods you are taking.

Q. My son, aged six, has had terrible pains in his foot and ankle and we have been back and forthbetween the doctor and the specialist, trying to find out the cause. 

He finds it very painful to stand or walk on his right foot. The latest diagnosis is that it is likely plantar fasciitis. Do you know of any natural remedies for this?

A. This is a condition that affects both flat feet and raised arches alike since both of these can lead to a style of walking that increases stress on the tendons, joints, and ligaments. Plantar fasciitis also occurs when the calf muscles are too tight, since this limits the flexibility of the ankles, placing a repetitive strain on the fascia.

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the fascia, a band of tissue connecting the heel bone and toes, becomes inflamed. 

Heat balms are wonderful relief for this condition, since they help to dilate the blood vessels, assisting with the healing and repair of the tissues and increasing the range of movement available. 

Cold treatments are to be avoided, since these restrict the blood vessels and cause more restriction and stiffness in movement, ultimately delaying the healing process.

Treatment is important, including physiotherapy if necessary. 

Left untreated, this can become a chronic condition and potentially cause additional health and mobility issues. Since this is essentially a repetitive strain injury, you will need to be aware that healing can take quite some time.

You can also make sure your son is getting all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for repair by choosing a child-friendly multi- supplement. 

Vitamin C in particular helps to reduce inflammation and heal tissue damage while magnesium can be of use in treating muscle pains, and will also help your son to relax and hopefully get a better nights sleep.


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