14 Aug 2017

Noticing a stabbing heel pain when you take your first steps out of bed in the morning? Worried that running in your old worn out sneakers might be a bad idea? If this sounds like you, plantar fasciitis should be a real concern worth looking into.


What is Plantar Fasciitis?


Most common among runners, plantar fasciitis affects all types of people, fitness gurus and non-active people alike. What is it exactly? Technically speaking it’s the inflammation, irritation and microscopic tearing of the plantar fascia – a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes. The plantar fascia plays an important role in supporting the arch of your foot as well as helping your foot and legs absorb the shock of striking the ground when you walk and run.



Many factors come into play where plantar fasciitis is concerned. Repeated stress and impact of the plantar fascia through high-impact activities like running, jumping, and some dancing, can stress and strain the tissue to a point where it becomes irritated and inflamed.


Pronation issues can also contribute to plantar fasciitis. The natural inward rolling of the ankle, or pronation, helps support a neutral arch and good plantar fascia health, however, sometimes people may over or underpronate placing added wear and tear on vulnerable tissues in the foot like the plantar fascia.


In addition to foot mechanics, age, weight, and job type may also play a role in developing this painful foot condition. For example, most people develop plantar fasciitis between the ages of 40 and 60, being obese naturally places added weight and pressure on the foot and supporting tissues, and standing all day (like teachers and nurses do) can affect plenty of people’s foot health, especially when proper footwear isn’t worn.



How Can I Treat Plantar Fasciitis?


Short of receiving invasive steroid injections or prescription pain killers, there are a handful of natural and non-pharmacological treatments that can provide pain relief and aid healing of plantar fasciitis. These include:


Orthotics – Over the counter orthotic inserts can add arch support and cushioning for someone suffering from plantar fasciitis. These types of shoe inserts help correct bad foot mechanics and protect against heel pain when walking. In some serious cases, a podiatrist may prescribe a custom-made orthotic insert.


Bracing – Wearing a plantar fasciitis brace or night splint on the foot and ankle areas can help stabilize the foot when sleeping or walking, promote proper pronation, cushion against painful steps in the morning, as well as generate much-needed arch support. Braces vary greatly – they may be flexible silicone sleeves or harder shell boots with foam padding. Check with your doctor about which is right for you.


Stretching – Keeping the plantar fascia tissue pliable and flexible may help you from over-straining or irritating it in the first place. Simple foot stretches can include rolling your foot over a tennis or lacrosse ball, or flexing and pointing the foot for 5 to 10 seconds at a time when sitting down. Deep tissues sports massage of the foot may also help break up scar tissue, boost blood flow, and stretch the plantar fascia.


Physical therapy – Your doctor or podiatrist may recommend physical therapy to help you stretch and strength vital connective tissues from the plantar fascia to the achilles tendon. Their guided instruction and expertise will equip any plantar fasciitis sufferers with the tools they need to heal faster and prevent future injury.


Ice Therapy – Severe plantar fascia injuries can be aided with the cooling sensation of an ice pack applied for 10 to 20 minutes. Icing helps limit swelling by constricting blood flow to the area, and slows the conductivity of spasming nerve endings thus diminishing pain. When you remove the ice pack, blood rushes back in carrying fresh nutrients to speed healing and flushes out built up toxins and waste byproducts.



While plantar fasciitis is a common foot ailment, it doesn’t have to become the reason you’re unable to workout or play sports like you want to. With a medical evaluation and helpful and accessible treatment options, you can kick plantar fasciitis pain to the curb for good.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *