Foot Pain? It Could Be Plantar Fasciitis
Updated: Aug 5, 2020
On the bottom of your foot, there is a band of fibrous tissue that holds the arch of your foot up, along with muscles. When this fibrous band gets inflamed from being tight and stretched, it causes pain on the bottom of the foot. This is called Plantar Fasciitis and it is a common cause of foot pain.
What is the Plantar Fascia?
The Plantar Fascia is a tight band of fibrous connective tissue at the sole of your feet. It connects your heel bone to your toe bones. It’s purpose is to hold the arches of your feet up. The arches of your feet are important and have an impact on the bio-mechanics of the rest of your body while standing and walking. You use your feet so much during the day that if they are injured, it affects many things in your daily life. This is the main reason why it is important to maintain the health of your feet and to quickly resolve any problems in your feet.
For example, if your right foot is sore due to Plantar Fasciitis, you will likely be subconsciously taking the pressure and weight off of the sore foot and putting more of your weight onto the left foot. This can cause problems with the left side of your body getting tight due to this increased load.
How Does The Plantar Fascia Get Inflamed?
When a person does a lot of activity on their feet, (i.e. running, jumping, landing), their foot arch is repeatedly flattened and stretched. This repeated stretching (especially with weak foot muscles) is not what your body is designed for, and can cause small tears in the tissue. These small tears cause inflammatory mediators (just like what goes to a cut or a sting) to try to clean up the area and start the healing process. Unfortunately, with this healing process comes the four classic signs of inflammation: heat, swelling, pain, and redness. When a person is experiencing these classic signs of inflammation with the most pain at the heel, it is usually diagnosed as a case of Plantar Fasciitis.
What You Can Do If You Have Plantar Fasciitis
If you have Plantar Fasciitis, there are a lot of ways to decrease the pain and speed up the healing process. Below I have listed a few of these:
1. Fill a Dixie cup with water and place it in the freezer until the water is completely frozen. Put a small towel over the cup’s opening. With moderate to firm pressure, glide the Dixie cup back and forth over the sole of your foot. You should do this for 20 minutes or until your foot starts to tingle or feel numb. This will help to decrease the pain and limit the damage that too much inflammation may cause. Perform this only on the affected (painful) foot. Repeat this 3 times a day, leaving at least 20 minutes in between sessions.
2. When you wake up in the morning, your feet are at their most natural position. They have had a full 8 hours of rest, and have taken this 8 hours to recover and heal. Before you step out of bed, take this opportunity to stretch the soles of your feet by pulling back on your forefoot/toes for 30 seconds. If you cannot reach your toes, hook a towel around your feet and pull back on that. Repeat this 3 times on each foot.
3. The end of the day is a great time to stretch the soles of your feet too! It helps to prepare the plantar fascia by getting it nice and warm. Soak your feet in a warm Epsom salt bath for about 10 minutes (you can place your feet in large bowls if you do not have a foot bath). Then, place a towel over your forefoot and pull back to stretch the plantar fascia for 30 seconds. Repeat this 3 times on each foot.
4. Book a Chiropractic appointment! Dr. Campbell might find areas of decreased movement between the various bones in your feet. These areas can be adjusted to restore normal motion in your feet. Dr. Campbell may choose to further promote the healing process by doing Myofascial Release Technique or Gua Sha on the soles of your feet.
5. You can massage the soles of your feet and promote elasticity in the Plantar Fascia while at work! Roll the sole of your foot over a hard ball, such as a squash ball, while sitting at the computer. Perform this on both feet for as long as you desire.
6. You can prevent plantar fasciitis from returning by strengthening the bottoms of your feet. This is called the Toe Crawl Exercise (see photo below). You can do this by standing on hardwood or linoleum with socks on, and pulling yourself forward by curling your toes. Do 1 meter a day to increase the strength of your foot arches. If this doesn’t make sense to you, ask Dr. Campbell to show you!
How Do I Prevent Getting Plantar Fasciitis?
The main way to prevent getting Plantar Fasciitis is by not doing repetitive jumping activities, and by ensuring you have good arch support in your shoes. Some sports that commonly cause Plantar Fasciitis are gymnastics, basketball, tennis, and running. If you are already involved in one of these sports and have decided to sacrifice your feet for the sport, perform the tips listed above. This will help to prevent the inflammatory process and keep your Plantar Fascia in the best position for the healing process to occur.
I hope you found this article helpful. I look forward to your comments, questions, and experiences!
Author: Casey Campbell BSc., D.C.