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Physical therapy helps biker beat plantar fasciitis, return to open road

After 18 painful years, Mark Magers finally broke free from his crippling plantar fasciitis with the help of Ascension Via Christi Rehabilitation.
Mark had been riding motorcycles cross-country, staying active throughout the week and working at Spirit AeroSystems when in 2000 he developed disabling foot pain. "It was so bad, some days I couldn't walk at all," says Mark.


He tried everything, but with no luck. For six years, Mark got injections directly at the source of the pain, but those only worked for about two weeks. "One year, I was required to wear special insoles for a year," says Mark. "That was 365 days of murder on my feet."


While he was able to work, Mark, who previously had taken motorcycle trips up to 5,000 miles, was unable to do what he loved most. “I couldn't ride my motorcycle because riding required energy and stability from my feet, but the fatigue and pain made it impossible," he says.


A few discs in Mark's lower back also were causing him pain. "As a result, I put on weight and became inactive," says Mark.


In 2018, an MRI revealed his plantar fascia was three times thicker than normal, but the only known cause was genetic. His doctor recommended physical therapy to try to address his severe foot pain and strengthen the muscles in his lower body.


Mike began seeing Melissa Warders, a physical therapist from Ascension Via Christi Outpatient Therapy Center on Socora.  


"Honestly, therapy was not pleasant at first," says Mark, who appreciated her kind, but tough, approach. "But the short-term pain was worth the long-term gain."
In addition to attending physical therapy, he started with low-impact exercise in the swimming pool, on a stationary bike and the elliptical machine.


"When we started, he limped from the waiting room to begin treatment," says Warders. "It was fun to see him limping less and more confident each time we met." 
For Warders, the key to Mark’s success was consistency, patience and Astym therapy, a treatment that regenerates healthy soft tissues to help decrease pain and improve movement impairments.

As for Mark, who no longer requires regular physical therapy, he is now a big proponent of therapy as a natural, non-invasive treatment option. "Therapy has allowed me to travel on my motorcycle again," says Mark. "And when I ride, it's just me and God." 

Think that physical therapy might be an option for you? Call 316-719-3030 to schedule an appointment at one of our 6 convenient locations.  You can also go to www.viachristi.org/locations/therapy-centers to request a free phone consultation to further discuss whether therapy would be a good option for you. No physician’s referral required except when required by insurance.  

About Taylor Valdez

Curly hair with straight priorities. Dedicated student, workaholic and adventurer. When I'm not writing or working, I'm shopping, chowing down on local bites or binging Netflix.