Understanding Plantar Fasciitis and How the Right Shoes Can Help
Plantar fasciitis is that sharp heel pain you feel when your plantar fascia, or foot tissue, is strained and inflamed. This tissue is actually a ligament that attaches to your heel bone on one side; on the opposite side, it spreads out and attaches to the bottom of your every toe. When the plantar fascia is overly stretched, small tears can result, and this leads to swelling and pain.
Plantar Fasciitis Causes
Plantar fasciitis happens when your feet are pushed in too deep with every step. This pushing or rolling in, called overpronation, can occur for a variety of reasons, such as excessive weight gain, pregnancy, abrupt increase in physical activity, stiff calf muscles and poor body movements. Most commonly though, it can result simply from flat footwear. With overpronation, your foot arches crash, hence straining the tissues found under your foot.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
A shooting pain in the middle of your heel will probably be the most prominent symptom of plantar fasciitis, and it is most often worst in the morning as you take your first few steps. The following are five simple things you can do to manage, if not finally eradicate, plantar fasciitis:
Wear supportive footwear.
The only way to treat plantar fasciitis is to restore your foots natural alignment, and this you can do with the help of orthopedic shoes or orthotic inserts. Groundbreaking research shows that specially designed footwear can relieve heel pain. When worn consistently for an entire day, these shoes or inserts work as perfectly as a short-term treatment.
Stretch on a regular basis.
Stretching your calf muscles increases their flexibility, which in turn reduces the strain on your foot tissue. A good exercise would be to stand on the edge of a step and put all your weight on the balls of your feet. Bend your knees and keep in that position for around half a minute. Do this up to five five times at a time and it will stretch your calves and Achilles tendon.
Stengthen your arch with exercises.
As you sit barefoot, squeeze your foot as though there was a tiny marble below the ball of your foot. Or try picking up a few marbles on the floor using your toes and the ball of your foot, then repeat. This adds strength and flexibility to those muscles below your metatarsals (the bone that gives your foot an arched form).
Slowly increase your physical activity.
If you run, a proven method of preventing injuries is to limit your mileage increases by 10% weekly at the most. Its the same thing for walking.
Apply ice under your foot and rest.
After stretching, roll a frozen water bottle below your foot arch for 15 straight minutes. Your recovery will be much better if you wear special footwear that brings back your feets natural alignment, hence reducing foot tissue strain while you continue to move as normal during the day.