Plantar fasciitis is mild to excruciating heel pain that you get when your foot tissue, medically known as plantar fascia, gets strained and swells or inflames. The tissue is specifically a ligament, where one side is attached to the base of your every toe, and the other side is attached to your heel bone. When the plantar fascia is overly stretched, small tears can result, and this leads to swelling and pain.
Plantar Fasciitis Causes
Plantar fasciitis occurs when your feet roll in too far as you take a 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. Usually though, it is due to using flat, unsupportive footwear. With overpronation, your foot arches crash, hence straining the tissues found under your foot.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Among the most telling signs that you have plantar fasciitis is when you experience a darting pain in your heel’s middle, especially as you take your first few steps in the morning. Below are five tips to help prevent or control plantar fasciitis:
Wear supportive shoes.
Orthopedic shoes or orthotic inserts are an easy and effective way of reestablishing your foot’s natural alignment. New research has proven that specially designed footwear can make a huge difference in alleviating heel pain. If you wear these everyday, you will actually feel the relief.
Stretch on a regular basis.
Stretching your calf muscles increases their flexibility, which in turn reduces the strain on your foot tissue. An effective way to do it channeling your entire weight on the balls of your feet while standing on the edge of a step. Bend your knees and keep in that position for around half a minute. If you do this five times every time, your calves and Achilles tendon will stretch and produce the intended results.
Exercise to strengthen your arch.
As you sit barefoot, squeeze your foot as though there was a tiny marble below the ball of your foot. Or you can try using your toes to pick up a number of marbles on the floor, put them back and then repeat. This stretches and strengthens the muscles under your metatarsals (the bone that gives an arched shape).
Be more physically active (but gradually).
If you run, a proven method of preventing injuries is to limit your mileage increases by 10% weekly at the most. It’s the same thing for walking.
Apply ice to the bottom of your foot and rest.
Once you’ve done some mild stretching, roll a frozen water bottle under your foot arch continuously for 15 minutes. Your recovery will be much better if you wear special footwear that brings back your feet’s natural alignment, hence reducing foot tissue strain while you continue to move as normal during the day.