What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a dull to severe pain in your heel caused by a strain and inflammation of your plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a scientific name for "foot tissue." This particular tissue is a ligament attached at one side to the heel bone. At the other side, the tissue fans out to attach at the base of each of your five toes. Plantar fasciitis is the name for the condition that develops when that tissue becomes inflamed. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, micro-tears can occur, causing this swelling and subsequent pain.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis can develop when your feet roll in too far as you take each step. This rolling in, known as over-pronation, can happen for many reasons. It can be due to excessive weight gain, pregnancy, quickly increasing physical activity, tight calf muscles, poor biomechanics or merely wearing unsupportive, flat footwear. When your feet over-pronate, your arches can collapse, putting strain on the tissues in the bottom of your foot.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
A sharp pain in the center of your heel will most likely be one of the biggest symptoms of plantar fasciitis. A classic sign of plantar fasciitis is when the pain is worst during the first steps you take in the morning.
How to Find Plantar Fasciitis Relief
Five healthy tips for preventing or reducing plantar fasciitis
Break The Cycle with Supportive Footwear.
Wearing orthopedic shoes or orthotic inserts is an easy, effective method of naturally realigning the foot. A groundbreaking study shows Vionic sandals effectively alleviate heel pain.* Worn consistently throughout the day, orthotic support is a great first step in the short-term treatment of plantar fasciitis.
Keeping your calf muscles limber helps to reduce the strain on the plantar fascia. To stretch your calves and Achilles tendon, stand on the edge of a step, resting your weight on the balls of your feet. Bend your knees for 25 seconds and then straighten. Perform up to five repetitions whenever tightening occurs.
Preserve Your Arch with Strengthening Exercises.
While seated and barefoot, squeeze your foot as if you have a small marble under the ball of your foot. If you just happen to have a few marbles handy, you can actually practice picking them up between your toes and ball of your foot – and then set them down again. This stretches and helps strengthen the muscles that run under metatarsals (the longest bones in the foot which create its arched shape).
Slowly Increase Physical Activity.
If you're a runner, a tried and true method of preventing over-use injuries is to only increase your mileage by 10% weekly, max. If you’re new to a walking program, the same caution should be exercised.
Ice and Rest.
After mild stretching, use a frozen water bottle to roll under the arch of your foot for 10-20 minutes. It may be possible to make an active recovery by wearing VIONIC orthotic technology to keep your feet naturally aligned, therefore reducing strain on the plantar fascia, while moving throughout your day.