Alleviate Plantar Fasciitis Pain?

How Do I Alleviate Plantar Fasciitis Pain?

The Six S’s of plantar fasciitis and some basic information on the injury.

Team Moji Chicago, IL

Question:

How Do I Alleviate Plantar Fasciitis Pain?

Answer:

Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis plagues many runners. In general, exercises that place added stress on the tissues in the foot, such as long-distance running or ballet, put athletes at risk of developing plantar fasciitis.  There are a number of things athletes can do to alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Luckily, they fall into a series of categories that quite handily (though not all elegantly) start with an S. Without further ado, here are the Six S’s of plantar fasciitis and some basic information on the injury:

THE SIX S’s

  1. SUPPORT Make sure that shoes have adequate arch support and heel cushioning.  Maybe it’s time for new running shoes?  Also, talk to your doctor about a night splint, which can help keep the foot flexed.
  1. STRETCHING Stretch the arch of the foot, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles to help with flexibility multiple times during the day and before and after every workout.  For added stretching benefits and pain relief, roll the arch of your foot over a round object (we love rolling pins and golf balls) for 5-7 minutes at a time.
  2. STRENGTHENING Strengthen the muscles in your feet by using your toes to grab (and pull towards you) a pencil, pen, or hand towel.
  3. SOOTHE IT Ice your foot for 15-20 minutes post stretching/stregthening to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  4. STAY OFF IT Like most injuries, it is essential to rest the damaged tissue.  Keep weight off the feet or do low-impact exercises, such as the stationery bike or swimming while your foot has a chance to heal.
  5. STAY PAIN FREE Plantar fasciitis is often due to running too much, too fast.  Avoid overtraining and increase workout increments gradually. (Running lore says that you should increase you weekly mileage by no more than 10% per week.)

PLANTAR FASCIITIS FROM TOE TO HEEL

WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

  • Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs along the bottom of the foot
  • The plantar fascia connects the heel bone to the toes and when it becomes inflamed or swollen can cause severe pain in the heel, sometimes called heel spurs
  • Can become chronic if the inflammation is left untreated

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

  • Sharp pain in the heel, often in the morning or after exercise
  • Pain subsides with rest and often improves after muscles in the foot have been stretched
  • Pain develops gradually and often affects only one foot

WHEN SHOULD I SEE A DOCTOR OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL?

  • You should see a doctor if the pain continues when there is no weight placed on the foot or if the heel pain is in conjunction with fever, redness, or numbness in the foot
  • Doctors may provide additional stretching exercises, cortisone shots to relieve the pain, or splints to wear at night. Surgery is rarely offered as a treatment.

CAUSES

  • Overpronation and/or flat feet can contribute to plantar fasciitis, especially in conjunction with poor footwear
  • Tightness in the calf muscles can lead to inflexibility in the foot
  • Excessive exercise, especially running on hard surfaces, or overtraining

RISK FACTORS

  • People who are overweight or over the age of forty
  • Imbalanced foot mechanics, such as a difference in leg length or inadequate footwear
  • Exercises that place added stress on the tissues in the foot such as long-distance running, ballet, or dance

1 Comment

  1. Scott 6 years ago

    I agree with everything here but…

    I'm just interested why you don't suggest seeing a sports massage therapist or an Active Release Techniques therapist. I own a therapeutic and sports massage clinic in San Francisco and we see a ton of PF cases and are able to help in practically all of them. Most – to full recovery.

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