In a quest for fitness and better health, many people – especially runners – embark on an exercise routine that pushes themselves too quickly. An overzealous running programme can cause a wide range of problems from blisters to serious joint concerns, and everything in between. Plantar fasciitis, is one of those “in-between” injuries, and one of the most common causes of heel pain in runners, walkers, and people who stand for long periods of time at work.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs lengthwise across the bottom of the foot, from the heel bone to the toes. Too much running or standing can stress the plantar fascia, causing small tears in the tissue, leading to irritation, inflammation, and heel pain - which is usually most noticeable when taking your first steps after getting out of bed, or getting out of a chair after sitting for a long time.
Plantar fasciitis should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor, trainer, or other medical professional. They may recommend more supportive shoes, custom orthotics, stretches, or a combination of all three. Stretching is part of nearly every plantar fasciitis recovery plan.
Plantar fasciitis takes time to heal. Most professionals will recommend resting the foot, avoiding exercise that could further irritate the plantar fascia, and icing the heel several times a day. Serious or chronic pain may call for more intense treatment, but increasing support for the arch, being smart about exercise, and stretching the foot thoroughly in the morning before getting out of bed typically provides some relief. Your doctor, physiotherapist or coach can tape your foot to provide temporary support while you wait for an orthotic specialist.
Plantar fasciitis stretches can help keep the plantar fascia tissue long, strong, and less prone to tearing upon impact. Most heel pain stretches don’t require any special equipment - many trainers recommend using a towel to stretch before you get out of bed. Just place your foot on a rolled-up towel, hold on to both ends, and pull back gently to stretch your arch. Rolling your foot on a ball or cylinder can be effective, and simply pulling back on your toes with your hand can produce a good stretch, too.
Night splints such as the FUTURO™ Plantar Fasciitis Night Support can help you stretch and get back to feeling better while you sleep, too. Ask your doctor or coach for an appropriate course of homecare treatment to get relief from plantar fasciitis pains.