If you’re a runner, you’ve probably experienced the joys of plantar fasciitis. If you’re involved in activities with a little extra impact like running, jumping or even hiking, plantar fasciitis can flare up when you least expect it. Here’s what you need to know about plantar fasciitis and what you can do to keep it at bay!
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a long ligament that runs from your heel bone to your forefoot. Plantar fasciitis develops when tiny tears in the ligament produce pain and inflammation. It can feel like an ache or a stabbing pain under your heel, but if the ligament becomes inflamed enough you can feel a sharp pain along the length of the sole of your foot.
Lots of things can cause this condition, but it all boils down to some kind of a combination of overuse and inelasticity. If the plantar fascia can’t stretch enough to absorb the pressure you’re putting on it then you’re at risk for tearing it, which puts you at risk for plantar fasciitis.
Ice is the first line of defense to combat the inflammation of plantar fasciitis. Rest, too, is often recommended. If that doesn’t do the trick, stretching the ligament in order. Sometimes a night splint in given that keeps your foot in a flexed position during the night in order to stretch it out. If that doesn’t work, orthotics may be next. For the unlucky few, surgery may be considered – but that can hopefully be avoided!
If you’re at the end of your rope and all the icing and rest and splints haven’t done it for you, don’t give up hope. At this point, the problem is not the inflammation, which is merely a symptom of a larger problem. The real problem is flexibility, and not just in that ligament but all the muscles near it, and the muscles near those muscles too! Basically, your whole foot and lower leg need to be flexible enough to absorb whatever impact you throw at it.
So, get yourself started on a good, consistent stretching program. You will need to stretch every day, multiple times a day. If you keep up the routine, then plantar fasciitis can be a thing of the past for you.
Ok, so face a wall and place your hands on it about shoulder height. Stretch one leg out behind you, heel to the ground and find a position that gives you a nice stretch in the calf and the back of the leg. Hold this for at least 60 seconds. Now repeat the process with the other leg. Do it a second and third time on each leg. Repeat three times a day. The trick is consistency and duration. If you follow this, it can greatly help to improve flexibility and reduce injury!
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