Plantar Fasciitis & Foot PainNov 02, 2020
Pain in your foot or heel can prevent you from physical activity, even everyday activities. Exercise and simple home remedies can get to the root of your pain.
Your feet and ankles carry your entire body weight. With every step you take, they endure a large amount of force. As you get older and when you get injured, the ligaments and tissues in the foot can change, altering the forces on your feet and ankles and causing you pain.
There are many reasons your feet may hurt. It could be the residual effects of an old injury or just poor-fitting shoes. Foot pain decreases your stability, mobility and strength. It can alter how you walk, stand, and affect the functioning of your knees, hips and back. This can be very debilitating since you use your feet and ankles to perform most daily activities.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common sources of foot pain. With the right treatment, you can get rid of the pain and get back on your feet.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes heel pain that radiates into the bottom of your foot. It can happen to anyone, at any age.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects your heel to the ball of your foot and supports the arch. Poor foot positioning can cause the structures in your foot to load incorrectly, which puts pressure on the band. An injury to the tendons in your foot and ankle can also damage the fascia.
When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, irritated or weak, it can tear and cause a stabbing sensation in your heel and other pain symptoms.
You may have:
- Increased pain in the morning or when taking the first few steps after resting.
- Increased heel pain with prolonged standing, walking and stair climbing.
- Increased pain when standing and walking on hard surfaces or without proper shoe support.
Sometimes, as your body warms up, plantar fasciitis pain decreases however only to worsen once your activity progresses.
Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis can last for months. The pain can make exercise impossible and normal daily activities unbearable. There are many other causes of heel pain so you should check with your doctor for a proper diagnosis. If plantar fasciitis is the cause of your heel peel, a treatment plan can help speed up your recovery.
Therapy will help you return to your normal activities by improving the way your foot is loaded, restoring mobility to your tissue and addressing areas of weakness or imbalances in your foot. There are several effective physical therapy treatments.
- Manual therapy – Massage therapists use their hands and/or tools to manipulate the soft tissue in your foot. It's like a massage for the plantar fascia. Manual therapy loosens the tight tissue and reduces inflammation.
- Night splints – Wearing a splint while you sleep keeps your foot in a better position throughout the night. So when you wake up, you won't feel the stabbing pain in your first few steps out of bed.
- Taping – Kinesiology tape works similar to a night splint. A physical therapist tapes your foot in a position that better supports your foot's natural arch and takes pressure off the fascia.
The right shoe can make a big difference for your foot pain. The best shoes for plantar fasciitis have good arch support, cushioning, shock absorption and a thick heel. Replace your shoes every 500 miles or when the back cushion of the shoe gets more than 2 creases. Doing so, will allow them to continue to provide the support you need. (If you are wearing shoes that are over a year or two old, change them out. Old/bad shoes are the leading cause.)
Exercises and Stretches
Following the stretches at the end of every Grow Young Fitness workout can help.
Lightly rest your hands on a wall/chair for support and stand with one foot forward and one foot back. Bend your front knee and lunge forward from your hips, keeping your back upright. Keep your back leg pointed straight forward and your knee straight and press your heel down on the floor. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds and repeat three times on each side.
Stand at the wall/chair for support and raise onto your toes, then lower your heels back to the ground slowly. Go up and down until your feet are fatigued. Perform two or three sets.
Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. Loosen the plantar fascia by rolling the bottom of your foot along a frozen water bottle, tennis ball or rolling pin. Do this for two to three minutes.
Sit in a chair and cross your bad foot over the opposite knee. Pull back on your toes to stretch the bottom of your foot. Hold it for 10 seconds while massaging the bottom of your foot. Repeat three times.
It can take up to a year for your fascia to fully recover and your foot pain to fade away. But with a daily routine of plantar fasciitis stretches, supportive shoes and other treatments, you can heal much faster.
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