Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
Michal Dabrowski CAT(C), RMT
6 Tips To Help Cure Your Plantar Fasciitis
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
If you've ever woken up, swung your legs over the edge of the bed ready to start the day only for your day to be ruined because of pain in your foot you may have experienced plantar fasciitis. Those first few steps in the morning can make you feel like you're 100 years old but eventually after a few minutes the pain goes away completely or at least decreases.
Plantar fasciitis is a term used to describe pain located at the bottom of your foot near the heel. This can be caused by a number of issues including heel spurs or bursitis but the most common cause is irritation of the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is the connective tissue on the bottom of your foot that runs from the heel to the balls of your feet just below your toes. It makes up the middle arch of your foot and functions to give stability and shock absorption with each step you take.
People suffering from plantar fasciitis experience pain in the morning, pain after prolonged sitting or standing which usually gets better after some movement. You may not feel any pain with running, jumping or playing sports but you may experience symptoms within an hour after activity.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Factors causing increased and unnecessary stress to the plantar fascia can cause inflammation and, if not dealt with soon, can lead to much larger problems such as heel spurs.
Individuals with high arches or flat feet are at higher risk. Tension in your calves, achilles, hamstrings or even glutes may lead to increased stress on the plantar fascia leading to plantar fasciitis. Poor running technique, such as an over lengthened stride, poor landing mechanics and muscle imbalances are also major factors.
Previous traumas such as an ankle sprain may create compensations and if not treated properly may lead to conditions such as plantar fasciitis. Make sure to treat all injuries properly under the supervision of a therapist and make sure not to quit therapy early just because the pain is no longer there.
Fixing Plantar Fasciitis
1. Avoid Aggravating Factors
Inactivity is a big contributor to pain in individuals with plantar fasciitis. Ensuring you're not sitting or standing still for too long will help prevent symptoms from getting worse. Managing the load you place on your body during any sports or activities is also important to not overload the plantar fascia and surrounding tissues.
If you experience pain when working out or playing a sport try to pin point at what time and level of intensity the pain comes on and on your next training session decrease the time or intensity by 25%. Stay in that training zone for 1-2 weeks before gradually increasing. This ensures proper tissue adaptation and decreases chances of a set-back creating missed training sessions.
2. Self Massage
Massaging the plantar fascia and surrounding areas will ensure proper tissue flexibility and range of motion. One great tool for this area is a golf ball. Golf balls are dense enough to get a good amount of pressure on the tissue and are small enough to get detailed at the pain site.
Place the ball under your foot and apply enough pressure to cause a bit of discomfort but not pain. Slowly roll the ball under your foot moving from your heel to your toes for about 60-90 seconds.
You could also consider a massage therapy session to help with the pain.
In addition to releasing tight tissues near the pain points it is also important to release tight muscles that are away from the site of pain which may play a role in contributing to the pain.
Muscles to consider stretching are the calves, hamstrings and glutes. General stretching of these muscles works well and a foam roller can be a great tool to help reduce tension too.
4. Correct Muscle Imbalances
Pain caused by plantar fasciitis can lead to compensations and altered movement patterns. The most noticeable compensation is when walking. People will often change the angle of their foot and step away from the area of pain.
You want to make sure you address any changes in the way your muscles work and coordinate in order to prevent other issues from arising months or years later. Changing the way you walk can lead to pain in your ankle, knee, hip or even low back.
Work with a therapist to ensure you are walking correctly, your glutes are strong and coordinate well with your hamstrings and that you have good balance.
IASTM stands for: Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization. Basically it is a soft tissue technique that uses stainless steel tools to "scrape" away at the scar tissue, fascial adhesions and anything else that causes tissue tension.
Many people who have suffered from plantar fasciitis for a while feel instant relief after even one session of this treatment.
6. Work with a Therapist
Consider working with a massage therapist one on one to help you decrease your pain, loosen tight tissues and come up with a customized exercise plan tailored just for you. They can work with you to come up with a custom plan and set goals to get you back to being pain free!
It Doesn't Always Get Better On Its Own
Don't ignore the pain and hope it gets better on its own.
Many people suffering from pain on the bottom of their feet don't know about plantar fasciitis or the treatment options. Addressing this pain as early as possible will help avoid further progression of this injury and decrease the time it takes for you to get better.
Michal Dabrowski CAT(C) RMT
Elevate Rehabilitation and Performance