What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis can be painful. Causing foot pain from the time you wake up in the morning to when you hit the pillow at night, and often even when you’re sitting or even lying in bed, plantar fasciitis can take all the fun out of using your feet for anything.
Primarily affecting middle-aged people, and the overweight, plantar fasciitis is caused when the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects your heel to your toes, and runs through the bottom of your foot, gets inflamed. This can be caused by walking on hard surfaces, standing for long periods of time every day, wearing improperly fitted shoes, or doing lots of physical activity. As you repeatedly strain this ligament, tiny holes develop in the tissue there. This causes a lot of pain, especially when you have been sitting for a while, or when you’ve just woken up from being asleep all night.
Though it primarily affects the middle-aged and overweight, younger people also experience the symptoms, especially if they are in the military and do a lot of walking, or if they are athletes. Runners especially find themselves dealing with the painful symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
Another big cause of plantar fasciitis is improperly fitted shoes. Especially if you have high arches or flat feet, getting your shoes right is a major part of making sure that you deal with your plantar fasciitis effectively and efficiently.
Massages and Stretches
One of the best ways to deal with plantar fasciitis, whether you are currently experiencing the painful symptoms, or whether you’re just worried that you might start feeling them, is by using foot massages and stretches every day to make sure that you keep your plantar fascia in good shape. Avoid inflammation in the first place, and the symptoms will never arise. You can relieve the symptoms with these techniques, as well.
Golf ball: Many people who have plantar fasciitis, and have been dealing with it for a while, go to this classic trick for relieving the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
To do this, take a golf ball, or a tennis ball, and use it to massage the bottom of your foot. The best way to make this as effective as possible is to take the ball, and place it just below the bottom of your heel. Roll it, exerting enough pressure that you can feel the ligament getting massaged, towards your toes.
Bend your toes: Keeping the plantar fascia ligament properly stretched is another great way to help alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. To do this, sit down in a chair, and put the affected foot up on the opposite knee. Take the toes of the affected foot, and bend them upwards towards your shin. You should do this with enough pressure that you can feel the bottom of your foot stretching. If you put a hand against the bottom of your foot while doing this exercise, you should feel tension running along the bottom of your foot. Hold the stretch for ten seconds for your affected foot—both, if you experience it in both feet, of course.
Stand against a wall: This is a good exercise for when you are at work. You can do it with shoes on, in fact. Put the affected foot behind your other foot. Position your feet so that the toe of your back, affected foot is right up against the heel of the foot in the front. Lean up against a wall, pushing forward against it. Bend the knee of the leg in front, but keep the knee of the leg in back as straight as possible. Also keep your back heel on the floor. As you lean, you should feel the bottom of your foot stretching.
This is one of the biggest causes of plantar fasciitis, especially if you are already at increased risk of experiencing its painful symptoms. If you’re overweight, middle-aged, have high arches, or find that you have to stand up or walk around on hard surfaces for long periods of time every day, it is important that you get the right footwear.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to go buy a $1,000 pair of prescription shoes (that look really goofy) just so your feet don’t hurt. Oftentimes, just wearing a pair of relatively new, high-quality shoes that fit properly is enough to make sure that you can lessen or avoid completely ever experiencing the painful symptoms of plantar fasciitis, or find relief if you do.
To check your shoes and make sure they are appropriate, take one shoe off, and hold it in your hands. Bend the toe of the shoe upwards towards the top of the back of the shoe. You should find that it bends with relatively little effort. However, be sure that it also bends in the right place. This means not near the heel, or towards the back of the shoe, or in the middle. The bend should occur closer to the toe of the shoe, approximately where the ball of your foot is.
Also ensure that the heel of your shoe fits properly. One of the big causes of improper footwear leading to plantar fasciitis is when your heel slides up and down in the shoe. Make sure that your shoe fits snugly against your heel, and be sure to always lace it tightly for maximum healing effect.
Plantar Fasciitis Socks and Sleeves
This therapeutic devices work by compressing the ankle, which takes some of the strain off of the all-important ligament, and can help your feet feel better the minute you put them on. Wear them at night, also, so your feet don’t hurt quite so much in the morning when you first wake up.
Dealing with plantar fasciitis can be frustrating, since there isn’t really a cure. But adopting the right lifestyle habits, and making sure you take all the necessary precautions for healthy feet, will help keep you comfortable, whatever you’re doing all day long.