Have you ever experienced pain and swelling in the heel and/or bottom of your foot? Or intense pain with the first steps when getting out of bed or after getting up from a chair?
Plantar fascitis is an inflammation of the fascia of the foot. The fascia is a fibrous band which connects the heel with the back of the five toes. It acts as a shock absorber and supports the arch of the foot.
Certain factors can contribute to the onset and they usually work in combination:
1. Overload: Running, especially long distance, high impact aerobics, sudden triggers such as lifting or moving heavy objects.
2. Faulty alignment of the foot such as excessive arch or lack of arch, pronated or supinated foot and other foot conditions that cause imbalanced weight distribution with walking, sagging of arch common in middle age
5. Tight foot and calf muscles
6. Unhealthy training habits such as lack of warm-up, running or jumping too much or too soon
7. Weakness of the foot
8. Shoes that don't fit, such as lack of arch support and/or cushioning (thin sole), too high heels
11. Prolonged standing on hard floors
Plantar fascitis most often develops gradually but can come on suddenly and be severe, usually it affects one foot at a time.
What can you do? Most important is the beginning of treatment with first symptoms. As you begin to experience heel pain or pain in the bottom of your foot, find out if any of above mentioned risk factors apply to you. If left untreated, problems can become more severe and recovery time can take up to 18 months or longer; some people have chronic problems. I recommend to consult your physician and get a referral to a physical therapist.
Change your work-out regimes as needed. Talk to your trainer or physical therapist about how to reduce impact on your foot.
Apply ice after each work-out; either with an ice pack or ice bath for 15 minutes.
Gentle massaging of the bottom of the foot including the heel before getting out of bed.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin (consult with your doctor if you have not used any before).
Wear proper shoes or insoles.
Learn correct foot and leg stretches.
Emphasize warm-up and improve your work-out pace.
Watch your weight.
Avoid prolonged standing.
Consider Feldenkrais exercises to learn to move easier, effortless and more balanced with more even distributed weight.
Should symptoms be more severe you may be in need for a night splint to allow the fascia to relax over night and custom fit orthotics to help distribute pressure to the feet evenly.(different devices are available, your health practitioner can inform you about possible options).
Wishing you healthy feet!!
If you have any questions, please contact Marion Kregeloh, CFP, PT at 415.479.1765.
Marin Movement Center - Helping Your Body Thrive
Your source for physical therapy in Marin
Locations in San Rafael and Larkspur