Plantar fasciitis is when the fascia on the bottom of your feet become inflamed, tight, and painful. Often times people will notice symptoms more in the morning upon waking. Getting out of bed can become quite difficult. As you get up and move, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting.
A common cause of plantar fasciitis is fallen arches. When the arch of the foot drops this causes the fascia on the bottom of the foot to become very tight and inflamed. This can lead to heel pain and often disability. Plantar fasciitis is common in runners and obesity.
Simple methods can help ease the pain of plantar fasciitis. This includes walking barefoot, calf stretching, self foot massage, Epson salt soaks, balance exercises, and intrinsic foot musculature exercises.
We have lost much of the proprioception (awareness of your body in space) to our feet with the use of shoes and continuous walking on flat pavement. This can create muscle imbalance and cause a proneness to injuries. Simply walking around barefoot can help to rebuild the proprioceptive input. Beginners to barefoot walking will want to start of slow. Practicing on safe surfaces and using a minimal shoe while exercising is a good start. I will often recommend my patients walk barefoot for 15 to 20 minutes on soft sand.
Tight calves can lead to plantar fasciitis. Simply stretching your calves for several minutes, two times a day can have a profound impact on symptoms of plantar fasciitis. The runner’s stretch, stair stretch, or even downward dog are great ways to stretch tight and sore calf muscles.
Self Foot Massage
Massaging tired feet can also be a great benefit for plantar fasciitis symptoms. While sitting watching TV, you can use a golf ball or tennis ball to gently rub the bottom of your feet. Spending an extra few seconds in tight areas can help to break up muscle adhesions and muscle knots. You want the intensity to be just enough that you can feel it but not too much where you were wincing in pain. The goal is to reduce inflammation not to cause more.
Epsom Salt Soak
Soaking your feet in an Epson salt bath, especially after massage, is a great way to reduce the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Epson salts can help with inflammation and reduce pain and stiffness. A good 15 to 20 minutes soak, a few times a week is a good practice
Any exercise that works with your foot balance is a great way to help build up the proper proprioception. Purchasing a wobble board, Yoga, or simply standing on one leg while brushing your teeth can help to restore proper neurology to the feet.
Intrinsic Muscle Exercises
Exercises to help strengthen the smaller foot musculature can be beneficial for plantar fasciitis. While sitting, place a towel on the floor and crunch it up with your toes. Also with your feet flat on the floor, lifting up the big toe and holding for a few seconds. Then reverse, keeping the big toe down and picking up the other toes for a few seconds.
Plantar fasciitis can be very debilitating in some people. If these simple exercises don’t provide much relief, consult with your chiropractor. Posture imbalances can often be, more times than not, the root cause. Until these posture imbalances are corrected, plantar fasciitis can be an ongoing battle.