Plantar Fasciitis

If the first few steps out of bed in the morning cause severe pain in the heel of your foot, you may have plantar fasciitis. It is typically thought of as an overuse injury that affects the bottom (plantar) surface of the foot. A diagnosis of plantar fasciitis means you have damaged the tough, fibrous band of tissue (fascia) connecting your heel bone to the base of your toes.

Cause

Contributing factors may include:

  • overweight
  • Alot of walking or standing on hard surfaces.
  • You're also at risk if you walk or run for exercise.
  • Tight calf muscles that limit how far you can flex your ankles.
  • People with very flat feet or very high arches also are more prone to plantar fasciitis.

The condition typically starts gradually with mild pain at the heel bone. You're more likely to feel it after (not during) activity. The pain classically occurs right after getting up in the morning and after a period of rest.

Plantar fasciitis can become a chronic condition. It needs to and responds best with early treatment, unfortunately many times people don’t seek help until it has become very painful or gone on a long time (even years) this can lead to a decrease of activity, and you may develop symptoms of foot, knee, hip and back problems because plantar fasciitis can change the way you walk.

Treatment

Stretch, stretch, stretch. Stretching is the best treatment for plantar fasciitis. It may help to limit activity but most experts agree that normal activity is fine as long as it is not causing the pain to be worse. Apply ice to the sore area for 20 minutes three or four times a day to relieve your symptoms. Often a doctor will prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen. You should be doing at least these two stretches which target the Achilles/calf and the plantar fascia ligament.

Achilles/calf stretch

In one exercise, you lean forwardwith palms on the wall with one knee straight and heel on the ground. Your other knee is forward and bent. Your Achilles/calf on the leg farthest from the wall will stretch as you lean forward. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and straighten. Repeat 15-20 times for each sore heel. It is important to keep the knee fully extended on the side being stretched.

Plantar Fascia Stretch

  1. Cross your affected leg over your other leg while seated in a chair.
  2. Using the hand on your affected side, take hold of your great toe and gently pull your toe back towards shin. This creates tension/stretch in the arch of the foot/plantar fascia.
  3. Gently rub and massage the tight plantar fascia ligament. Massaging and gently pushing into the arch and heel of the affected foot. The plantar fascia should feel firm, like a guitar string.
  4. Hold the stretch for a count of 10. A set is 10 repetitions.
  5. Perform at least three sets of stretches per day. You cannot perform the stretch too often. The most important times to stretch are before taking the first step in the morning and before standing after a period of rest.
  6. Go barefoot as little as possible while dealing with plantar fasciitis.
  7. Wear durable supportive shoes with good torsional rigidity (shoe wont bend in in the arch area of the shoe).
  8. Wear a foot orthotic which makes as much total contact with the arch area of the foot as possible. Try to get an orthotic style which is firm under the arch but has a little cushion at the heel.

Consult your doctor if you require specific health advice or treatment.