Plantar Fasciitis…. what to do when that nagging pain strikes!
If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and the first few steps you take result in excruciating heel and foot pain, then it’s possible that you have plantar fasciitis.
So what is this…and why? The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes. It can become inflamed, due to many different reasons, but when it does we refer to it as plantar fasciitis.
Why does it become inflamed? Several reasons can cause this inflammation. Poor foot mechanics, weakness of the intrinsic or inner foot muscles, weakness in the hips or muscles surrounding the knees, flat feet, overuse, or bone spurs can all contribute to plantar fasciitis.
After the root cause of your pain is determined, there are several things that you can do to ease the pain and get back to doing what you love to do….
1) First step is to reduce the inflammation, so rolling your foot along a frozen water bottle for about 30 seconds to 1 minute can be soothing. Try this a couple of times a day.
2) Stretch the muscles at the bottom of the foot, the achilles and calf muscles:
-plantar fascia stretch-while seated, grab your toes and stretch upward, 3 times for 30 seconds
-calf stretch – leaning against a wall, straighten your back leg behind your front until you feel a stretch into your calf. You can also bend your knee for a little more stretch. Again, 3 times for 30 seconds.
3) Start to strengthen the muscles in the feet – so that they become stronger and reduce pressure on the plantar fascia.
Some easy exercises to start with:
-towel scrunches: put a washcloth size towel on the floor, and try to scrunch it with your feet, this works the inner muscles of your feet. Try 3 sets of 20 reps.
-Arch domes: curl your foot while planted on the ground, then relax, and repeat this for 3 sets of 20 reps.
4. Proper Footwear: It’s always important to wear supportive footwear, but more so when you’re experiencing plantar fasciitis. If you have very flat or pronated feet, it’s beneficial to have some arch support. If you’re unsure of what type of shoes to wear, it can be helpful to have your gait assessed by a professional, so that they can determine what shoe would be best for you.
If you are still experiencing pain after trying these methods for a couple of weeks, you may benefit from some hands on manual therapy that’s targeted at your plantar fascia and achilles regions. Need some help? Feel free to reach out to me!
As always, if any of the methods mentioned above increase your pain, then discontinue.
Cheers to your health!
Shaheen Siddiqui, MSPT