07 Nov Plantar Fasciitis – How do I get back on my feet?
Plantar Fasciitis or “heel pain”
This stubborn chronic injury can be one of the most pesky of all time. The classic sign is heel pain when weight bearing, specifically within the first few steps in the morning or after a period of rest. But what is the pain coming from, and why did it start (in most cases all of a sudden)?
The pain is coming from inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a thick layer of tissue that runs along the sole of your foot and originates at the heel. Inflammation can be caused by a number of different reasons:
– Sudden increase in mileage
– Improper footwear with decreased arch support
– Poor foot biomechanics and gait abnormalities
– Decreased flexibility in calves
– Recent and sudden change in surface or footwear
So, what do you do to make the pain stop?!
1. Activity modification is the first line of action. This does not mean you can become a couch potato, but rather you need to find alternative forms of exercise that don’t cause symptom reproduction. Examples can be swimming, biking, yoga, and Pilates.
2. As with any inflammatory condition, icing as tolerated will help.
3. Ditch the unsupportive footwear (flip-flops, heels, etc) Replace with arch supportive shoes and use them at all times.
4. A strict stretching regimen should be adopted; I recommend one minute stretches of the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) five times per day.
5. Additionally, a night splint and/or orthotics may be prescribed.
6. See your Physical Therapist for correction of biomechanical factors including arch control and gait abnormalities that may have lead to the injury in the first place. Also, your Physical Therapist can provide manual treatments that will help kick-start the healing process and speed things along.
If you start your home program when symptoms initially appear, you’re more likely to have a leg up on the situation and return to your normal activity level in a shorter period of time.