A sharp pain in the bottom your foot with the first step out of bed in the morning is an almost sure sign that you have plantar fasciitis. This is a problem with the connective tissue that runs from your toes to the back of your heel and ties into the calf muscles. This tissue can become damaged and inflamed causing that debilitating foot problem that you can no longer ignore. So what do you do about it?
Let’s talk about possible plantar fasciitis treatment. Maybe you tried rubbing it. Maybe you tried heat or cold packs. Maybe you tried rolling it out with a tennis ball or even a frozen bottle of water. Is the pain still there? You’re going about it all wrong.
Plantar fasciitis often doesn’t respond well to massage techniques alone simply because the problem isn’t that it needs stretched or massaged. It needs to destress so it can heal. It’s overstretched and taking the brunt of the force at impact from walking or running. The plantar fascia really is a last resort barrier much the same as a ligament and is not meant to be under constant repetitive tension. The muscles and shape of the foot are designed to absorb the impact during gait like a spring or shock absorber. The muscles in your foot are meant to hold the bones in such a way to form arches. These arches are nature’s design to withstand repetitive impact while walking or running. If the intrinsic foot muscles responsible for forming these arches weaken, this results in loss of arches and the plantar fascia is pulled to tension. Now with each step, the plantar fascia is put under more stress than what it can handle. The result is progressive damage to the fibers.
The point is, until you reshape the foot and strengthen those muscles, you will continue to do damage to the plantar fascia and your condition will worsen. So how do you reshape your foot? One cheap and easy solution may be to grab yourself a pair of orthotics (shoe inserts) from the store. This will help to mold your foot and support your arches. However, one size does not always fit all and you may need to consider custom orthotics which can be quite expensive. You are also going to need to retrain the muscles in your foot with specific exercises. One of my favorites is the short foot progression. This is a complicated exercise, so it may be easier to start with the Pen & Penny exercise. Additionally, any tightness along the kinetic chain in the leg will need to be addressed, especially the calf and hamstring as these muscles have fascial plane connections to the plantar fascia. it is also important to make sure the joints of the foot themselves have good motion and alignment, so manipulation of the foot bones can help profoundly. Lastly, therapeutic modalities like soft tissue manipulation, and ultrasound can help with proper fascial healing. But again, soft tissue modalities alone will not solve the problem if the foot is not retrained to hold the proper arch and reduce the tension on the plantar fascia.
If you think you have plantar fasciitis, you’ll want to get checked out by an expert in biomechanics like a Chiropractic physician. Feel free to give our office a call if you have questions or want to set up an appointment.