The Plantar Fascia is a broad, thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot connecting the heel to the base of the toes. The plantar fascia is designed to absorb high stresses and strains. But sometimes too much pressure damages the tissue and causes heel pain.
Plantar Fasciitis is an overuse injury and is a very common cause of heel pain. It results from inflammation of the plantar fascia of the foot. The pain may radiate to the toes. Plantar fasciitis is commonly caused by a heel spur which is a bony growth that occurs at the attachment of the plantar fascia to the heel bone.
Pain is usually on the medial side of the heel and under the heel. It is usually severe in the morning and decreases as the day progresses and is worse on walking barefoot.
The tightness of calf muscles which in turn produces repetitive over-stretching of the plantar fascia and its inflammation, foot arch problems like a flat foot or a high arch foot, excessive running, obesity (sudden weight gain) and, improper footwear (thin-soled, lack of arch support or worn out).
EXERCISES FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS
- Towel curls– Place a small towel on the floor. Curl the towel toward you using your toes and relax. Repeat 10 times.
- Stretch your calf muscle-Stand facing a wall. Put your hands on the wall. Now step one foot behind the other with the affected leg at the back. With the front knee bent and the back knee straight, gently lean toward the wall keeping your back foot on the ground until a stretch is felt in the calf of the back leg. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch feet. Repeat 3 times.
- Seated stretch– In a long sitting position with legs extended in front of you, pull your feet towards you. Hold for 15 -30seconds, and repeat 10 times.
- Toe extension stretch-Cross your injured foot over your other knee. Grab your toes and pull them towards your shin until you feel a stretch in your arch. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Heel raises-Stand holding the back of a chair. Slowly raise your heels to go on tiptoes. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and then slowly lower yourself down. Repeat 10 -15 times.
- Step up arch extensions-Stand with the ball of your foot on the stairs. Lower your heel towards the step below until you feel a stretch in your arch. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Other steps in managing plantar fasciitis pain are –
- Rest is crucial to keep the weight off the foot and to let the inflammation subside.
- Avoid activities that make the heel pain worse like standing for a prolonged period of time.
- Wear proper footwear having good arch support or use shoe inserts or insoles. Avoid shoes that have little padding, or thin and hard leather soles.
- Apply an ice cube or ice pack on the plantar fascia to reduce inflammation.
- Massage your sole from heel to ball of the foot with your thumbs.
- Taping of the plantar fascia by your Physiotherapist.
- If the conservative treatments do not relieve your symptoms, a corticosteroid injection at the site of pain may help.
- Do not wear high heels, tight pointy shoes, or flip flops.
- Do not walk barefoot on hard surfaces and do not walk or stand for a long period.
STAY INFORMED AND STAY HEALTHY!
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