3 September 2019
Living with Plantar Fasciitis?
It’s almost a weekly occurrence in clinic, when I hear from patients how their heel and foot pain is stopping them from getting on with their usual day to day activities. So I wanted to share some tips on how living with plantar fasciitis can be made a little easier.
Plantar fasciitis (or chronic heel pain) is inflammation or tearing to the band of fascia (connective tissue) on the sole of the foot.
As you get out of bed or stand up after sitting for long periods, the pain in the heel is worse. This dissipates once you have got moving on your feet but may return after prolonged activity.
When the toes are pulled up (towards the head), the sole of the foot is tight and painful to touch.
Occasionally it may feel a little tighter on the sole of the bad foot compared to the pain free one. But considering the amount of discomfort plantar fasciitis can cause, you wouldn’t be able to tell from looking that there was anything wrong!
You have probably been told it’s a long process of recovery including steroid injections. And sometimes this is the case, but Plantar Fasciitis is often caused by an unstable foot (over pronating) during the take off/ propulsion stage of walking.
In an unstable foot, the take off stage causes the plantar fascia to become elongated. This will put the fascia under strain, pulling at its point of attachment at the heel bone. Then every step after step after step will lead to inflammation and pain.
The following exercises encourage the calcaneum (heel bone) to move from everted (flared outward) position to an inverted (flaried inward) position, as we take off. This will lock the foot into its stablest form as we propel forward, so not to over stretch the plantar fascia:
Loosen the calf muscles with calf stretches, hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds and repeat 3 times on both sides.
Strengthen the Gluteus Medius muscle on the opposite side to the bad foot.
Lie on your side with the sore foot nearest the ground. Bend the knees and align the feet with your “sitting bones”.
Keeping your pelvis and hips aligned, slowly lift the top knee away from the bottom knee, with ankles together.
Aim for 10 repetitions of 3 sets.
Finally it is important to keep the spine flexible, so some gentle thorax extensions and good spinal rotations from side to side with legs hip width apart will help. All these exercises enable optimum gait and encourage the correct movement of the foot during every step.
If you are living with plantar fasciitis and have not seen anyone about it, please come along and see myself or one of our Osteopaths for advise, guidance and treatment.
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