Getting Rid of Plantar Fasciitis

This one is painful and like many injuries it can become chronic (talking months and months of pain) if you don’t take care of it right away.

It is not something that will typically just go away on its own.

The plantar fascia is a wide connective tissue band that runs from your heel to the base of your toes. It is part of what is often referred to as the ‘posterior chain’ so that means it works with the calves, hamstrings, glutes and back extensors as a functional chain.

A lot of people blame their ‘flat feet’ for plantar fasciitis, but which is the chicken and which is the egg.

Do you have flat feet because you have been abusing the heck out of your plantar fascia or is your plantar fascia fired up because you have flat feet?

For whatever reason you are suffering with pain and here are a few ways to turn it around or reduce your risk of getting it in the first place.

What does it feel like?

It will feel painful on the bottom of your foot when you walk. Typically your first few steps in the morning will be the worst. The pain may be localized to just in front of your heel on the bottom of your foot.

What if I just ignore it?

It will continue to be painful and can create ‘spurs’ or bony outcroppings on the front portion of your calcaneous (heel bone).

What to do if you have it…

This won’t be too shocking. If you start to feel these symptoms come on then you should stop the irritating activity or activities.

This is one of those injuries that responds very well to aggressive rest.

Ice it for 10 minutes at a time, waiting for your skin to return to normal temperature before icing it again.

If it does not go away within one week…

Book in to see your sports physiotherapist if you have not already done so. I recommend a sport physiotherapist because they have the assessment skills to look at your other joints to see what other factors are contributing to the overload on your plantar fascia PLUS they have the manual skills to do some soft tissue work on it.

Should you get orthotics?

Jumping feet first into a set of orthotics is often one of the first options given.

You might think – ‘great! These little inserts will fix the problem for me and then I can be one of those people who can’t do a thing until I switch my orthotics into my shoes, skates, boots’…you get the idea.

I am not saying all orthotics are bad. So if your orthotics saved you from months of chronic pain, you don’t have to email me to tell me that – – I know for some of you they are the answer.

Let’s not make them the first answer; that is what I am saying.

Try these to help prevent or resolve your plantar fascia…

You can do these exercises 2-3 times per day if you have had plantar fasciitis in the past or do one with each off-ice workout as a preventative measure.

If you cannot see the video above, click here

1) Self Myofascial Release

This one is simple; just roll the base of your foot on a tennis, lacrosse, squash or golf ball for 60 seconds on each side. Use enough pressure so it is almost uncomfortable, but certainly not painful.

2) Build Arch Strength

This will feel impossible when you start – it will feel like that time you taught yourself to wiggle your ears. But stick with it and make sure you don’t cheat.

Work on it for 60 seconds on each foot.

3) Towel Crunches

You will be amazed at how uncoordinated your toes feel when you start this basic movement pattern. The muscles that flex and extend your toes sit up in your foot with tendons that travel out to the tips of your toes, so this is another way to build up some strength in your feet.

Do 60 seconds of towel crunching.

4) Stretch Your Calves

Finally, if your calves or hamstrings for that matter are tight, they can put extra demand on the foot, so don’t forget to stretch both your Gastrocs and your Soleus.

Hold each for 30 seconds on each side.

If you cannot see the video above, click here

Whatever you do; don’t do THIS

Don’t ignore it and just wait for it to get better. Yes, you should aggressively rest it in the early stages (you can do the exercises above that are not painful), but if it is not resolved in the first week, then phone up that sport physio and get busy figuring it out.

Don’t lose a chunk of your season because you just ‘thought it would go away