Plantar fasciitis is a condition caused by inflammation of the thick tissue along the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel to the toes. The condition is characterised by heel pain, typically first thing in the morning. As you take the first few steps it will start at the base of your heel and go right through the middle and bottom area of your feet.
Plantar: The surface of the foot
Fascia: The loose covering around muscles and tendons of the body. The underside of your foot has a very thick fascia thin membrane that surrounds the ligament
When the plantar fascia ligament is stretched irregularly or subjected to excessive stress, heel pain and difficulty walking can result. Irregular stretching or excessive walking in new shoes can also cause very small tears and inflammation along the ligament. Strengthening exercises that include targeted stretching can help restore flexibility. These exercises will target the muscles that flex and support the arch of the foot. Many plantar fasciitis patients suffer from heel pain in earlier hours of the day, generally when getting out of bed.
If you have pain for more than a couple of days consult your doctor.
Combining targeted exercises with proper rest will accelerate healing and prevent further injury. Try to avoid activities that can worsen heel pain. When walking or doing any physical activity, use shoe inserts and ice the area. Many patients also take pain relievers to alleviate heel pain. Plantar fasciitis exercises tend to be most effective when done first thing in the morning before starting your day.
Consult your chiropractor about plantar fasciitis exercises if you are unsure exactly how to do them properly.
If there is any sign of worsening heel pain, be sure to speak with your physician.
Key Tips for Plantar Fasciitis
These exercises are best done 2 to 3 times each day, and they do not necessarily need to be done all withing the same time frame. You can space them out during the day.
- Perform Stretching Exercises First Thing Each Morning: While stretching, you should experience a pulling sensation without causing intense pain or discomfort. Remember, pain first thing in the morning occurs when the plantar fascia tightens during sleep.
- Warm Up Before Exercise:</strong This will stimulate blood flow.
- Stretch After Sports or Exercise: Stretching will enhance flexibility and decrease the likelihood of injury and inflammation. Stretch the foot by flexing it 10 times (in an upward and downward motion) before standing.
- Take An Over-The-Counter Pain Reliever: Try an anti-inflammatory (NSAID) such as naproxen or ibuprofen. An anti-inflammatory should relieve both pain and inflammation of the ligament. It is recommended to take NSAIDs 30 minutes before engaging in exercise. However, you may choose to take NSAIDs once you have completed your exercise. As with any medicine, be sure to read the label and follow instructions carefully.
- Ice the Area After Exercise: Icing provides relief from pain and inflammation. Icing can calm the inflammation.
- Use Night Splints: A night splint worn during sleep will secure the ankle in position, keeping the your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon slightly stretched.
>Massage the Entire Plantar Fasia Area:
- Address all areas surrounding the tender ligament.
- Always Wear Quality Shoes, Sandals, or Athletic Footwear: Even when walking around the house, wear protective footwear. Arch supports are also recommended. Be sure they are the appropriate size for the type of shoes you choose to wear.
It is important to strengthen your feet and toes, increasing flexibility.
Stretching is important to both prevent and treat.
Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
Perform these exercises 2 to 3 times each day, all at once or spaced out intermittently throughout your day.
- Runners Stretch: Turn your body sideways. Both feet must be pointed directly forward. Elongate your spine and press down on your back foot. Be sure the back foot is pointed forward as well. If you turn the back foot outwards, it disengages one of the calf muscles. Both calf muscles tie into the Achilles tendon. With a nice, tall spine pressing down the heel and bend down slightly. Press down the heel and take nice breath or two. Pressing down that back foot gives a good stretch of the Achilles tendon. Stretching the Achilles tendon is important in avoiding or treating plantar faciitis.
- Toe Stretch: While seated, grab your big toe and pull it towards you gently. Hold in position for 30 seconds and release. Repeat three times. Stretches can be done to stretch your plantar fascia.
- Towel Stretch: Anchor your heel into towel and pull back. Stretches along the plantar fascia and the underside of your foot. 30 second hold.
- Marble Pickups: Sit on a stool with marbles scattered in front of them. Place a cup off to the side. Place each marble in the cup one at a time using only the affected foot. To progress, pickup each marble using just the lesser toes, rotate the foot in clockwise and then counterclockwise fashion. Then hold the marble with the toes for three seconds and place the marble in the cup.
Additional Plantar Fasciitis Tips:
*Try KT Taping: Kinesio tape is used worldwide by athletes and patients suffering from muscle or ligament strains or sprains. It can also be helpful in providing additional support to an inflamed ligament such as plantar fasciitis. KT tape comfortably supports the ligament and increases blood flow. Follow the taping instructions for exact details about how to apply it properly to the bottom of the foot and ankle.
*If you’re buying new shoes or planning to go hiking or walking a lot during vacation, be mindful of the risk for Plantar fascia. Practice these stretches as preventative measures or as treatment, in addition to what your chiropractor has recommended for you. If pain persists, contact your chiropractor.
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