Foot Advice

Plantar Fasciitis 101

By October 26, 2018 No Comments

PLANTAR FASCIITIS BASICS

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful ailment involving micro-tears and inflammation in the Plantar Fascia.  The Plantar Fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs all along the bottom side of the foot. This tissue helps to support the arch of the foot and helps to absorb some of the strain that we put on our feet while walking, running or doing other kinds of vigorous activities.  It has an attachment point at heel and this is a common spot for the micro tears to happen.

 

Picture This…

Imagine your Plantar Fascia as a bunch of rubber bands. They can be stretched, but if you pull it too far, you will begin to see little cracks and tears in the rubber.  When the rubber bands get older, they become more brittle and easier to break and crack.

When you jump, run and walk the arch of your foot can drop slightly from the impact and the plantar fascia is designed to stretch and support during these activities.  But, sometimes, too much pressure can damage or tear the tissues. If the arch drops further than the ability of the plantar fascia, it can cause micro-tears in the Plantar Fascia (connective tissue) and often it happens at the attachment point at the heel. A body’s natural response to injury is inflammation, which results in the heel pain and stiffness felt by those experiencing plantar fasciitis.

 

Do I have Plantar Fasciitis?

The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain. The pain is typically felt at the heel, and can feel similar to a bruise or it can be a more intense aching pain. For some, the pain can be more intense when getting out of bed in the morning or getting up from a stationary position. When walking, the pain can lessen but may be persistent.

 

Plantar Fasciitis is more common with those who have lower arches or flat feet, but those with high arches are not “off the hook” and this foot type can also experience this painful ailment.

 

 

WHAT CAUSES PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

For runners, a drastic or sudden increase in distance, along with the use of worn out footwear or lacking proper arch support can be a precursor.  According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, plantar fasciitis doesn’t typically have just one definitive cause.

There are some things that can make a person more apt to experience Plantar Fasciitis:

  • Tight calf muscles – this can make it hard for you to flex your foot and can pull on the plantar fascia
  • Being overweight – this can increase the everyday shocks of moving and amplify impact on the feet
  • Very high arches because the fascia are already under extra tension
  • Very low arches because the plantar fascia is already stretched to a near maximum
  • Repetitive impact activity like running, hiking or other sports
  • Age – tissues can become less flexible and more brittle with age

If not properly dealt with, this pain can go on for many years.  Most people cannot stay off of their feet for an extended time, which is completely understandable. We need our feet to get everywhere we need to go.  However, if there are micro-tears in the plantar fascia and they never have enough time to fully heal, they can re-tear again and again becoming a chronic ailment.

PRODUCTS TO HELP MANAGE PLANTAR FASCIITIS:

 

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There are a few products that can help to alleviate Plantar Fasciitis:

  • Orthotics / Arch Supports: #1 Recommended is The Soul Insole micro-size Maximum Comfort Orthotic
  • Night Splints (if you have tight calves and tend to sleep with your toes pointed)
  • Massage Rollers / Or roll your feet on a golf ball to break up the scar tissue
  • Warm Epsom Salt Baths
  • Kinesio-Tape

Due to the nature of the heel pain, many people assume that they need a lot of cushioning under the heel.  The reality is that properly supporting the arch stops it from dropping, overstretching and re-tearing the plantar fascia again and again.  This biomechanically designed support system in The Soul Insole micro-size Maximum Comfort Orthotic helps keep the feet in alignment to give the feet a chance to heal.  They also drop off before the heel to somewhat suspend the bones and take the pressure off.

Stretches & Exercises To Help Strengthen & Protect The Feet:

Here is a great video with stretches and exercises aimed at preventing and recovering from plantar fasciitis:

 

A few easy exercises to get you started:

  1. Balance on one foot, while trying to keep all four corners of the feet touching the ground
  2. Point the toes
  3. Pick up marbles or other small things with your toes

MANAGING PLANTAR FASCIITIS AND KEEPING ACTIVE

Plantar fasciitis is a painful ailment that may even require surgery, so it’s important to talk with your doctor about your symptoms. He or she can help you to be sure that you do not have a different condition.  They can also help you put together a plantar fasciitis pain management plan that’s right for you, which may include:

 

  • Taking a break from those activities that cause you pain
  • Using supportive devices for your feet and proper shoes
  • Medication / Vitamins as directed by a doctor
  • Special exercises or therapies to help strengthen foot muscles or correct a problem with your gait

 

In addition, you may want to talk to your doctor about orthotic inserts or insoles from Soul Insole, designed for arch support and comfort

 

SOURCE: Kadakia, A. R., MD. (2010, June). Plantar Fasciitis and Bone Spurs-OrthoInfo – AAOS (S. J. Fischer MD & S. L. Haddad MD, Eds.). Retrieved October 26, 2018, from http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00149