So you’ve been diagnosed with Plantar fasciitis, and the more you mention it, the more you hear about others with the same condition. What’s going on? Why has it become so prevalent, and what can you do about it?
- 1 in 10 people will experience Plantar fasciitis in their lifetime
- Plantar fasciitis is caused when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed
Table Of Contents
- What is Plantar Fasciitis
- Who can get Plantar Fasciitis and Why?
- Exercises to help Plantar Fasciitis
What is Plantar Fasciitis
First, let’s learn about the foot’s anatomy:
The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that lies directly beneath the skin on the bottom of the foot. It is a tough fibrous band of tissue that surrounds the muscles of the sole of the foot, connects the heel bone to the base of the toes, and supports the arch.
The plantar fascia has an elasticity that allows it to stretch and return to its normal position. It supports the arch of the foot and absorbs shock when walking. The plantar fascia is instrumental in the normal biomechanics of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis most often occurs due to repetitive tension, stress, and strain on the fascia, causing stretching and small tears of this fibrous band of tissue. The condition can result in excruciating pain, especially in the heel, primarily first thing in the morning when you begin taking your first steps. Commonly, the pain lessens after you’ve taken more than a few steps.
- Pain at the bottom or near the heel
- Increased pain after exercises
- Pain in the arch of the foot
- Pain that is worse in the morning or when you stand after sitting for a long time
- A swollen heel
- Pain that continues for months
- A tight Achilles tendon
Who can get Plantar Fasciitis and Why?
There’s no definitive formula that ultimately determines who will become afflicted with this pain-inducing condition. What is known is that Plantar Fasciitis can occur from repeated stress and strain put upon the weight-bearing tissue at the bottom of the feet. Therefore, it’s necessary to take inventory of the body as a whole unit to understand the consequence of developing Plantar Fasciitis.
In many instances, the focal point of pain is not necessarily the source of the problem. A common cause is a strain on the fibrous band of tissue due to improper or inadequate flexibility of the Achilles tendon and the calf muscle in combination with weight-bearing activity. The body strives for and thrives from a state of anatomical symmetry and postural alignment. When the anatomical balance is knocked off kilter, one body part compensates for another. It sends a chain reaction throughout the entire body, ultimately putting undue stress and strain on joints, muscles, nerves, and connected tissue.
Since Plantar Fasciitis occurs from strain and stress at the bottom of the feet; primarily at the heel, the factors contributing to the condition, and likely the origin of the problem, may stem from excess body weight, flat feet, overextended arches, or uneven distribution of weight when you stand, walk, or run.
Foot stress is caused by foot position; therefore, if your weight tends to be more on the outside of your foot, causing a Supinated gait, or your weight tends to be more on the inside of your foot, demonstrating a pronated gait, these conditions may also be a contributing factor to the stress and strain on the fascia.
When foot positioning is not straightforward and body weight is unevenly distributed or excessively weighted, there is a predisposition for strain and stress on the fascia. Add to these predispositions, excessive standing, walking, and running, and the tough fibrous band of tissue that is the fascia can more than likely become compromised.
Remember, the body is a single unit whose parts are interlinked and produce a chain reaction since the body’s natural tendency is to remain and/or return to its anatomically aligned and symmetrically balanced original state. When one body part is malfunctioning, it negatively impacts another area of the body producing overburdened and unbalanced postural alignment. Additional factors that contribute to misaligned joints, causing uneven distribution of body weight, begin at the shoulders, travel through the spine, and down to the hips, legs, and ankles. When any weight-bearing joint is misaligned due to uneven muscle strength and excess body weight, the bottom of your feet bares the brunt of the totality of your anatomical deviations.
With proper exercises, you can return your body to proper form and function. Always remember: Let pain be your guide!! Do not “work” through pain or believe in “No Pain, No Gain.” With a positive mindset and comfortable, consistent exercises encompassing the whole body in its totality, you can transform pain into ultimate gain.