Does your foot feel tight or painful? Injuries can be very debilitating and affect our wellbeing from a physical and psychological perspective. Some exercises makes it worse and in some cases even walking can be painful…
Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain is usually the worst with the first few steps after awakening, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or rising from sitting. The pain is usually worse after exercise, not during it.
Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension and stress on that bowstring become too great, small tears can arise in the fascia. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed, though in many cases of plantar fasciitis, the cause isn’t clear.
Though plantar fasciitis can arise without an obvious cause, factors that can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:
Age. Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
Certain types of exercise. Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue — such as long-distance running, ballistic jumping activities, ballet dancing and aerobic dance — can contribute to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis.
Foot mechanics. Being flat-footed, having a high arch or even having an abnormal pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when you’re standing and put added stress on the plantar fascia.
Obesity. Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
Occupations that keep you on your feet. Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage their plantar fascia.
The good news is that plantar fasciitis is a relatively easy condition to deal with.
It is important to treat it as fast as possible. As any other injury, the longer you leave it the harder it is to recover.
Let’s go through the process:
- Tightness: if you have muscles that lack strength output, proprioception, motor control or some inhibition at cortical levels there will be a compensation and muscles in better shape will take over. Which is fine short term but in the long run will create all those common symptoms of plantar fasciitis. In a more simplistic explanation, imagine those muscles are your colleagues in the office. And the amount of work is physical activity (walk, fitness, running or even just joint stability). If there are 10 employees in the office and 5 go on holiday at the same time who’s going to have to overwork?? Exactly. Now, if they all go for one day only I imagine you are all going to be able to handle the work. But if they go away for 2 months? The 5 employees at work will get tired, unproductive and won’t be able to deliver. The exact same thing happens with our muscular system.
- Approach: if it’s tight we stretch. Download some stretching from online and do those every day. Have you tried that? If so do you feel any relief? If so for how long? Did the pain come back? Stretching does nothing to resolve it. It makes you feel better in the moment but that is due to other processes related to your peripheral nervous system. So what to do? Identifying which muscles/positions/planes of motion that have any deficiency of the aspects I mentioned earlier. Work with neuroplasticity so the brain maps become clear. Done! In theory sounds complicated (it is!) but when it comes to applying it it’s quite simple. This is basically done via exercise and the right body awareness. Check out the video. The results were achieved in only one session (this does not mean that this client won’t need more work or that it will be the same amount of sessions for different individuals).
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Sources: Mayo Clinic, Thieme Atlas of Anatomy: General Anatomy and Musculoskeletal System