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. 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
In plantar fasciitis, your feet roll in far deeper than necessary whenever you take a step. There are lots of reasons – pregnancy, excessive weight gain, lack of exercise, etc. – you would develop this tendency to over-pronate or roll your feet in too deep. Usually though, it is due to using flat, unsupportive footwear. Overpronation makes your foot arches flop, which strains the tissues at the bottom of 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. Here are five quick and easy tips for stopping or at least alleviating plantar fasciitis:
Wear supportive footwear.
Orthopedic shoes or orthotic inserts are an easy and effective way of reestablishing your foot’s natural alignment. Groundbreaking research shows that specially designed footwear can relieve heel pain. If you wear these everyday, you will actually feel the relief.
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 hold it for 25 seconds before straightening up. Do five repetitions each time to stretch those calves and Achilles tendon.
Do strengthening exercises to maintain good arch.
Sit without any footwear on and squeeze your foot while imagining a tiny marble under 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 adds strength to those muscles below your metatarsals (the bone that forms the foot’s arch).
Be more physically active (but gradually).
If you’re a runner, a good way to prevent injuries is to make sure you don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% at a time. Same is true if you prefer walking.
Apply ice and rest.
After doing some mild stretching, get a frozen water bottle and roll it under your foot arch for about 15 minutes. Recovery comes better when you wear special shoes that help restore the natural alignment of your feet, which alleviates strain on your foot tissue while still letting you move throughout the day.