What Is Plantar Fasciitis And How Do You Get Rid Of It?
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that affects the bottom of the foot and heel region. Usually this condition affects people in middle age, typically women, and it can result in pain that is present with activities of daily living such as walking, running, using the stairs, and more.
Where is the pain located?
The pain is most often felt in the heel region slightly more to the inside of the foot. However, plantar fasciitis pain can be felt anywhere on the heel or sole of the foot. Keep in mind, there are many conditions that can mimic plantar fasciitis such as: problems with the ankle or foot joints, problems with the nerves that go into the foot, or problems that originate in the spine. Your physiotherapist will be able to help you differentiate the true cause of your pain.
Why does it develop?
Here are the most common reasons plantar fasciitis may develop:
poor flexibility of the ankle and foot joints
poor flexibility of the calf muscles
a sudden increase in activity
having flat feet
How do you get rid of it?
If you think you've got plantar fasciitis, the following tips will help you to get rid of it:
1. Activity Modification
Reduce the total amount of time that you are using your feet OR reduce the forces going through your foot. This doesn't have to be drastic, but here are some ways to help the area recover:
reduce your step length: walking more slowly reduces the overall stress on the plantar fascia
get an insole: many over the counter gel-type insoles can be very helpful especially if you have flat feet
switch to your comfy shoes: supportive shoes that have increased cushioning will absorb some of the pressure from the ground reducing the stress through the plantar fascia
learn how to tape your foot: there are many great techniques, but here is a good one which you can apply yourself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTSOQg680mc
2. Strength Training
This may sound contrary to the advice above, however you want to put stresses through the plantar fascia in a particular way to stimulate healing and help your plantar fascia adapt and become stronger. Here is a great beginner's guide to strength training for the plantar fascia.
Note: You may not be able to start with the single leg and you may need both legs at first, but practice makes perfect and you will be able to notice improvements in strength and reductions in pain within the first week.
3. Consider Orthotics
For many people, custom orthotics will create the optimal level of support and cushioning and allow for a speedier recovery. When combined with the activity modification and strength training exercises, orthotics can be a lifesaver!
Final Words: Be patient! Plantar Fasciitis - especially if it has been going on for some time, can be notoriously difficult to remedy. Be diligent with the activity modification, taping/insoles, and strength exercises.
Nadir Mawji is a registered physiotherapist at The Clinic. You can learn more about him here.