Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain in runners. But what is it and how do you get rid of it? Here is some important information to help you tackle this uncomfortable condition.
Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the thick, fibrous band of tissue, or fascia, that stretches from the heel to the toes. This tissue supports the muscles and arch of the foot but it can be overstretched, causing tiny tears in its surface. Needless to say, these tears can be quite painful.
A simple way to tell if you have plantar fasciitis and not a heel spur or stress fracture is to walk on your toes. While walking on your toes would typically make heel spurs and heel stress fractures feel better, this will typically produce more discomfort when you're suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis can happen for many different reasons. Some factors include a recent increase in activity and tight calf muscles but it's typically recognized that the most common cause is fallen arches. It is thought that the excessive lowering of the arch in runners with lower arches or flat feet causes tension in the plantar fascia and puts too much strain on the calcaneus, or the place where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone.
Recent research has also shown an important relationship between the plantar fascia and the flexor digitorum brevis muscle (FDB). When tension in the plantar fascia gets too intense, the FDB muscle alleviates some of that pressure by tensing up.
#1 Strengthen the flexor digitorum brevis muscle (FDB).
Sit in a chair and place a flat TheraBand under your foot. Hold it against the floor with your foot and pull one end up to your knee. This should cause your toes to flex upward. The strengthening exercise is to press your toes down toward the floor against the resistance of the TheraBand.
#2 Loosen Your Calf Muscles
Calf tightness causes an excessive lifting of the heel which causes additional strain for the plantar fascia. It's important to keep your calf muscles loose. Using an Addaday Massage Roller can significantly relieve calf tightness if used regularly. Try 2 15-minutes sessions each day to begin.
#3 Stretch the Plantar Fasciitis
Sit on a chair and place your injured foot on your opposite knee. Pull your big toe back for 10 seconds. Repeat this stretch up to 30 times a day.
#4 Wear a Strassburg Sock or Plantar Fasciitis Compression Sock
Since many Plantar Fasciitis sufferers experience increased discomfort in the morning, a Strassburg sock is highly recommended. These are worn throughout the night and keep the Plantar Fascia from tightening up as you sleep.
Feetures' Plantar Fasciitis Compression Sock can be worn at night or throughout the day to increase blood flow to the Plantar Fascia, which in turn promotes healing. It will also provide compressive support for the foot which can alleviate discomfort throughout the day as well.
#5 Avoid Extreme Interventions
If at all possible, avoid corticosteroid injections. These injections increase the risk of rupturing the plantar fascia and can damage the heel’s protective fat pad.
Also, try to avoid surgery if at all possible. Surgery typically cuts the plantar fascia which leads to a gradual destruction of the medial arch or arch collapse.
This information should get you back to recovery. Keep this information in mind as reoccurrence of Plantar Fasciitis is very common. Avoid activities that seem to cause the injury for you when possible and if you must engage in those activities, try to ease up whenever possible. Here's to your health!