What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting.
Plantar fasciitis is more common in runners. People who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support also have an increased risk of plantar fasciitis.
The main symptoms of plantar fasciitis include
- Heel pain
- Foot pain
Even though plantar fasciitis can develop without an obvious cause, some factors can increase your risk of developing this condition. They include:
- Age: Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
- Certain types of exercise: Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue — such as long-distance running, ballet dancing, and aerobic dance — can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis.
- Foot mechanics: Flat feet, a high arch, or even an abnormal pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when you’re standing and can put added stress on the plantar fascia.
- Obesity: Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
- Occupations that keep you on your feet: Factory workers, teachers, and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage the plantar fascia.
PREVENTION OF PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Try New Footwear
Modern footwear commonly weakens arches, not only with arch supports but also with thick heels that place your feet on a ramp and position the ends of your arches on the uneven ground. To promote stronger arches, look for footwear that has flat zero-drop soles with no arch support, no toe spring, and no tight or tapered toe boxes that pinch your toes together. Thin and flexible soles will also help your feet bend and flex naturally.
Foot Arch Exercises
Easy Beginner Version:
- Start with your barefoot on a flat surface, toes spread out.
- Place a penny under the ball of your foot and the end of a pen under the middle of your arch (sticking out from the inside of your foot).
- Activate your arch by flexing your arch muscle. You should feel the muscles on the ball of your foot pushing down on the penny, but your arch shouldn’t be pushing down on the pen. These tools help you (1) avoid rolling your foot and (2) avoid pressing down with your toes (as an extra tip, you can slide a business card under your toes before doing the exercise–when you activate your arch, you should be able to slide the business card out easily with your fingers).
- Do your best to keep your toes relaxed
Massage therapy is a great way to loosen muscles and help improve mobility in your feet. As many people with foot pain have discovered, tight muscles in your legs or back can lead to tense foot muscles. All those muscles are connected, so the tension in your back can cause tension in your legs which can pull the tendons in your feet and cause stiffness and pain. Getting acupuncture or a professional full body massage are probably the best ways to deal with this, but there are also some simple tricks you can do at home to help keep muscles limber. These are great for loosening up and improving circulation, both before and after exercise.
CONTACT US FOR HELP
Hopefully, these tips will help you prevent, treat or even cure arch pain, such as plantar fasciitis. If you find you have persistent foot pain, if your pain appears to be getting worse or if you believe your problem is more serious than something that can be treated with simple home exercises, then it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of a medical professional.
PCA expert physiotherapists can explore many other variables that could be affecting your feet and prescribe treatment specific to your needs.
If you’re experiencing persistent foot pain, call PCA for a consultation today on 0813 028 0496!