Plantar fasciitis is an irritation of the plantar fascia, which is the band of connective tissue that runs along the sole of your foot. Plantar fasciitis pain usually occurs in one specific location on your heel and can range from a mild to severe ache.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue (called fascia) on the bottom of your foot becomes irritated and inflamed. The condition usually starts gradually as a small injury from overuse or an incorrect way of walking.
The precise cause of plantar fasciitis isn't known, but it's associated with activities like walking or running that place stress on the feet.
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What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis symptoms typically include:
- Sharp pain at the underside of the heel when you get up after sitting for long periods or after rising out of bed in the morning (this typical sign is called first-step pain)
- A dull ache or stiffness in the arch of your foot
It can develop whether you're a runner or not, but it's more common if you run long distances.
Symptoms often worsen with your first steps after a period of rest, such as after sleeping or sitting for long periods.
What aggravates Plantar Fasciitis?
Some of the risk factors of plantar fasciitis or things that aggravate it include:
- Specific types of exercise. You do high-impact exercises like long-distance running, basketball, and volleyball.
- Being on your feet for long periods. Standing on your feet for long periods without proper support also puts you at greater risk of plantar fasciitis.
- Foot mechanics. People who have flat feet or have an unusually tight Achilles tendon or calf muscle may be more likely to get plantar fasciitis because these conditions put extra stress on the plantar fascia.
- Obesity. If you're overweight plantar fasciitis can become worse and cause further damage to the plantar fascia.
How do you treat Plantar Fasciitis?
If you've been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, you may be wondering how best to treat this injury.
You most likely want to get rid of the pain and restore your Plantar Fascia, and possibly your plantar flexion, if you can. Here's a list of the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis treatment options that will hopefully help you with both:
- Rest. Rest is important for treating Plantar Fasciitis. It allows the inflamed tissue (the fascia) to heal. However, it needs to be exercised with caution.
If your Plantar Fasciitis has been lasting longer than 2 or 3 months without showing signs of improvement or healing, then don't use rest as a method of treatment.
- Ice your Plantar Fascia regularly. Another great Plantar Fasciitis treatment is to ice your plantar fascia regularly. Icing will reduce inflammation and help to prevent further damage to the plantar fascia, so you need to do this as much as possible.
If possible, try icing three times per day - when you get up in the morning or come home from work, during lunch break, or before you go for a run. It will also help if you keep an ice pack at work so that you can roll your foot on it periodically during breaks throughout the day.
- Take painkillers like Ibuprofen. Normally, taking painkillers won't be a Plantar Fasciitis treatment that you want to rely on continuously. However, it can be very effective for pain relief.
Plantar fasciitis is associated with plantar fascia damage and inflammation. So, taking Ibuprofen (or other similar over-the-counter drugs) helps reduce the symptoms and inflammation so that your plantar fascia can heal itself.
- Stretch the Plantar Fascia regularly. Stretching the plantar fascia should also be an important part of any treatment plan because these exercises will keep your plantar muscles healthy and strong as well as stretch out the fascia itself.
In particular, stretching plantar flexion (the plantar flexion muscle can be found at the bottom of your plantar fascia) is very important as Plantar Fasciitis causes plantar flexion tightness and weakness.
Additionally, you can watch the video for some simple activities that you can do to help treat your plantar fasciitis.
- Apply kinesiology tape. For plantar fasciitis, kinesiology taping can be used to help alleviate discomfort by supporting the plantar fascia as it stretches during movement. This method works by supporting an injured area of your body while you perform physical activity.
- Strengthen your Plantaris tendons and calves. Strengthening plantaris tendons and calves is another treatment that's important for preventing Plantar Fasciitis in the future. It can also help prevent its re-occurrence once you've finished recovering from it.
It boosts support for your feet so that you won't be at risk of injuring your plantar fascia again. Plus, it will make sure that your plantaris muscles are kept healthy and strong.
The stronger your plantaris muscles are, the more stress they can take before becoming injured (plus stronger plantaris means less work required by them so you can recover faster).
- Try Plantar Fasciitis night splints. Plantar Fasciitis night splints are an excellent treatment option that you should try. They reduce swelling while you sleep.
The plantar fascia is naturally looser when you're asleep. This means your plantaris tendons don't get as much support, and they end up getting damaged (if they hadn't already been injured).
Plantar Fasciitis night splints help prevent further damage to the Plantars themselves by keeping them straight overnight.
- Massage your feet and plantars. Massaging your feet regularly will release tension in your Plantar Fascia and Plantaris tendons. This helps reduce Plantar Fasciitis pain fast.
Plantar fasciitis massage is also a treatment that can prevent it from returning after you've finished recovering. This provides the plantaris tissues with the care they need to stay healthy and avoid further damage.
- Wear supportive shoes with arch support. Your choice of shoes has a huge effect on your Plantar Fasciitis symptoms, so you need to wear support shoes.
In particular, wearing supportive shoes with arch support will ensure that you get better Plantaris tendon support throughout the day while preventing further plantars damage.
- Improve your diet. Although this may not sound like a Plantar Fasciitis treatment, it helps with treatment. Eating well can reduce inflammation and prevent further plantaris damage.
It also helps to improve the general health of your feet so that you will have fewer problems with plantar pain in the future.
You should try to eat more anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, garlic, ginger, green tea leaves, and more vegetables and fruits that are painkillers.
- Surgery. Surgery is only recommended for plantar fasciitis if pain persists after 6-12 months of conservative treatment like icing, rest, and physical therapy.
Taping Protocol for Plantar Fasciitis
People have turned to kinesiology taping to help alleviate the discomfort felt brought about by plantar fasciitis. What it does is lift the plantar fascia off the underlying bony areas, thus relieving plantar fasciitis.
You can check out this blog post for the steps on applying kinesiology tape on your Plantar Fasciitis as well as taping protocols for other running injuries.
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What are the signs that Plantar Fasciitis is healing?
Some of the signs that Plantar Fasciitis is healing are :
- The plantar fasciitis pain is reduced. A significant plantar fasciitis healing sign is when its symptoms begin to gradually reduce in severity. And, it should not happen as frequently as before anymore.
One reason for this may be because the plantar fascia ligament becomes stronger during the process of plantar fasciitis recovery, therefore being less prone to damage or injury from strenuous activities.
Another possible plantar fasciitis healing sign occurs with people who have had symptoms long enough that their body has become used to it being there. So, symptoms diminish with time without any extra treatment or exercise routine.
- More strength in the calves and ankles. A key thing for anyone that’s suffering from plantar fasciitis commonly complains about is that they hurt even when walking around the house barefoot or while sitting at their desk.
Signs of recovery include an increase in strength and stability within the plantar fascia ligament itself and an increased strength in the muscles surrounding it.
- The plantar fasciitis pain is neither felt during rest or activity. Once a plantar fasciitis injury heals, a person should no longer feel any pain during either physical activity or rest. This healing sign often occurs once a plantar fascia strain is fully rehabilitated through stretching routines and other forms of treatment.
All plantar fasciitis treatment should first be supervised by a specialist. They can assess your particular case, physical restrictions, and current stage of injury before determining which course of treatment is best suited to you.
In addition, exercising with improper footwear or doing household chores as normal can often cause pain to resurface again after being healed from plantar fasciitis. So, you must seek advice from a specialist before beginning any form of exercise routine when the injury has been in recovery for some time.
- Loss of pain when standing for prolonged periods. One plantar fasciitis healing sign that may occur is the pain that sufferers feel when they first wake up in the morning or from a period of rest, such as sitting down for long periods.
Once plantar fasciitis has been fully rehabilitated, plantar fascia pain should not be felt upon waking and should instead be replaced with only a normal sensation of stiff plantar ligament right before the injury occurred.
However, you must bear in mind that plantar fasciitis is often an inflammation-based injury. So, you cannot expect to discontinue all treatment after recovery, even if the injury no longer gives pain.
The plantar fascia ligament will still be vulnerable to plantar fasciitis re-injury should you go back to your old routines - and too quickly. This can include running too soon after plantar fasciitis recovery or wearing worn-out shoes.
- No plantar fasciitis pain while standing on tiptoes or heels. As the plantar fascia ligament continues to heal and strengthen during recovery, there are often periods where a sufferer can stand for long periods without feeling any plantar fasciitis pain at all.
One common sign of this plantar fasciitis healing process is the lack of pain when a sufferer stands on their tiptoes - something that would have caused pain before the treatment began.
- A decrease in plantar fasciitis swelling. One possible sign of plantar fasciitis recovery is a general decrease in plantar fascia ligament swelling throughout the day as the ligament becomes stronger and more stable after the injury.
However, this plantar fasciitis healing sign varies greatly between cases and should not be taken as an indication that all your injury is completely gone.
- Normal activity can be resumed with plantar fasciitis treatment. During plantar fascia ligament recovery, the sufferer may be able to resume normal daily activities such as exercise and low-impact activities without experiencing pain and discomfort after a short period during healing.
However, it is important to remember that the ligament still requires special attention even though it no longer gives any plantar fasciitis pain.
For example, you should always wear proper footwear when engaging in plantar fasciitis exercises to protect the plantar ligament against re-injury.
- Walking without plantar pain after treatment. As plantar fasciitis recovery progresses, you may find that there are certain points throughout the day where you may not feel any pain at all when walking.
This healing sign is common during the more advanced stages of treatment and often occurs while walking on level ground or softer surfaces.
However, keep in mind that even though the injury is no longer felt when walking, this does not mean that the injury has completely disappeared after the treatment.
It is still possible to re-injure your plantar fascia ligament during plantar fasciitis exercise if you are not wearing proper plantar fasciitis shoes. So, always remember to wear footwear while doing stretches and plantar strengthening exercises for the best results.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia that connects your heel bone with your toes. One symptom may be that you experience pain when trying to stand up after sitting or lying down for long periods.
The best treatment plan involves stretching and taping the foot to relieve pressure on the Achilles tendon and reduce inflammation.
A kinesiology taping protocol can help alleviate discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis and other injuries like runner's knee or shin splints.