The first time I had this health problem it was in 2008 after walking the cobble stoned streets of Quebec and recently (in the other foot) as a result of a lot of standing so I am experienced in the management of this condition. Daily exercises, over a 6-8 week period is likely to be the best cure.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a piece of strong, thick tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes, creating the arch of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain and can develop as a result of overstretching, overuse or a medical / structural condition of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is often associated with a heel spur, a spike of bone poking out from the heel bone, although many people have heel spurs without any pain.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by:
- playing sports and doing activities that put stress on the heel bone, such as running, dance and aerobics,
- being flat-footed or having high arches,
- being middle-aged or older,
- being overweight / pregnancy,
- spending a lot of time on your feet,
- wearing shoes with poor arch support or stiff soles,
- having tight calf muscles.
How is plantar fasciitis diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects you might have plantar fasciitis, they will probably ask you some questions, including asking you about your symptoms, the type of work you do and your lifestyle.
They will probably do a physical exam to check the arches of your feet and to see whether there is any redness, swelling, tenderness, stiffness or tightness and may refer you for an x-ray or ultrasound.
How is plantar fasciitis treated / managed?
Your doctor may initially recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- physiotherapy with specific stretching exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. Exercises have been proven to improve symptoms in 80% of cases and they need to be performed 3 times a day, for 5 minutes at a time and continued for 6-8 weeks,
- wearing shoes with good support, cushioning (heel pads) or wearing orthotics or heel cups,
- an icepack applied to your foot for 10 to 20 minutes up to 4 times daily,
- if the above measures do not work pain relief medication or steroid injection (which did not work for me).
Check the soles & heels of your shoes. It will give you an indication whether your feet / heels turn in or out when you walk.
A neutral foot is one in which the heel bone (calcaneus) is vertical. This position of the foot enables healthy weight-bearing in both the inner and outer balls of the feet, as well as the inner and outer heels.
Feet veer from neutral in two primary ways:
- the ankles can slope in toward each other, bringing the inner arches toward the floor (pronation); or
- the ankles can slant away from each other, exaggerating the inner arches (supination). This tendency is common among people with high arches or tight Achilles tendons.
Poses which are beneficial in the management of Plantar Fasciitis:
Stretching the back of the leg before getting out of bed in the morning or after extended sitting. Use a belt or rolled towel, can be in laying on the floor or sitting on the floor.
Runners (calf) stretch, start with the injured leg behind (use a wall or a fence for support):
Stretching the sole of the foot (tabletop, toes tucked under):
Rolling the injured foot on iced water bottle: