Want to know how to beat one of the most chronically painful injuries? Read on
I’m sure that we can agree that there are no “Cool” injuries. But, at least some injuries leave you with a “Cool” story to tell over a coffee table or bar.
That is definitely not the case with Plantar Fasciitis. It can really take the wind out of your fitness journey’s sails making you feel quite trapped. But take heart!! There are a few things that you can do to help avoid and successfully get rid of this injury. Let’s go over a few of the details.
Symptoms and Causes
Plantar Fasciitis can often start with a dull ache on the bottom of your foot (towards your heel) usually present when first getting out of bed in the morning. In the first stages it can often subside as the day progresses. However as the condition worsens, the pain can become quite sharp and can be present with athletic endeavors or even just walking.
Are these some of your symptoms? Why does this even happen in the first place?
Plantar fasciitis is when the thick band of tissue or fascia that goes from your toes to your heel becomes inflamed. This inflammation could stem from a number of causes. It could have to do with poor shoe choices, flat feet, tightness in the Achilles area, long periods of standing, or even just the repetitive strain that comes from running or jogging improperly.
Here are a couple of things that each of these conditions share: poor arch support and lack of good ankle mobility. To find some relief we have to first address To find some relief we have to first address the inflammation and then find ways to target the two problems.
1. Reduce Inflammation
Next, let's address the inflammation. Instead of using ice, opt to use an EMS system on your foot and Achilles. We recommend the Marc Pro. (For more information about this particular device and the healing process read HERE.)
These devices help to bring inflammation down and can often ease pain as well. If you do not have either of these devices, then you'll be using your hands to gently massage the bottoms of the feet and base of the achilles tendon area. As pain begins to decrease, you could even choose to use a plastic water bottle, tennis ball, or lacrosse ball to roll the bottom of your feet.
These methods can be used throughout the day in short bouts of 45s-60s. The idea here is to reduce tension placed on the fascia on the bottom of your foot which is causing the pain.
If you really want to see this nagging injury leave and not return, it will take some determination. The underlying issues really involve the health of your arches and tightness in the ankle. The tightness in your ankle could be stemming from tight calf muscles.
Try doing some light wall calf stretches 3 times a day 45s-60s each leg. Also roll the bottom of your arches on a ball or foam roller. If pain worsens, STOP.
While stretching, be sure that the arch of the intended foot does not flatten. This detail takes us to our next point.
Foot arch health is often overlooked. By strengthening your arches, you prepare your feet to tackle your day to day task with the strength and resilience necessary. Many therapy programs for Plantar Fasciitis involve foot crunches using a towel. This is a great way to help blood flow and strength on the bottom of your foot. This however, can be a bit cumbersome and often forgotten until there is a painful reminder. Here is another tip that can help improve your workouts and strengthen your arches.
Grip the ground with your feet…. Every time you are doing a leg exercise such as a squat, deadlift, lunge, etc… you should be trying to grip the ground with your feet. This not only assists with improved balance and a good leg drive from the ground up, but it also turns each of these exercises into an isometric contraction for your arches.
To truly rid yourself of this injury, it takes consistency. Commit to the process from start to finish. Even once pain has subsided, continuing to use the last tip of isometric contractions during your regular workouts can help you to stay pain free. Now wouldn't THAT be a cool story!?
The first step to improved performance or even just better health, is getting rid of pain. If you have pain in your life please let us help. We are trained in Pain Free Performance. Just reach out to us and we will be happy to help.