Are you feeling pain in your heel(s)? Are your feet stiff in the morning? Maybe you are experiencing tension in the Achilles tendon? Does it hurt when you are standing on your toes? All of this can be symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
PLANTAR FASCIITIS – overload injury
Inflammation of the foot arch tendon is called plantar fasciitis.
It is a symptom of an overloaded locomotor system. When we overload our body, we also overload our feet and the plantar fascia inflames. This causes pain. It injures the tissue of plantar fascia; a partial rupture caused by a sudden jump, twist or acceleration.
Other risk factors for this kind of injuries are also stiffness of the calves’ muscles, inappropriate footwear or excessive pronation of the feet (twisting of the feet inwards when walking).
What is fascia?
When you buy chicken meat, there is a fine whitish layer all over it and sometimes you need to remove it before cooking. Well, a similar sheet of connective tissue is also in our bodies. It is around our muscles, nerves and internal organs. Its function is to connect the whole body as it is surrounds every cell.
Fascia can become stuck due to dehydration or inflammatory processes within. Inflammation can occur because of various injuries, improper diet, even training and scarring. These compromised spots restrict our movement. We can feel the tightness of the muscles, but this is actually the tightness of the fascia.
Approximately 10% of all running injuries are plantar fasciitis
Amateur athletes get injured often because of insufficient warm-up, poor physical fitness, ignorance or unfamiliarity of the correct techniques of performing movement, etc. A very common running injury is plantar fasciitis.
However, there are also other risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis. Mostly with the active athletes in sports in which the nature of the sport requires many rapid accelerations, jumps, turns in the dance elements.
Now I will hear you say: “Laying at home is the best! I can not get hurt that way.” Please, don’t get scared! Regular and moderate movement is always welcome. Besides, if you will not move enough you will develop plantar fasciitis due to obesity.
Here is a note for all of you who spend your working hours mostly standing: use soft shoe insoles to help your feet and to avoid any possible fascia inflammation.
Also the heel spur can cause plantar fasciitis.
Chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia is also caused by a heel spur. Reactive formation of new bone irritates the tendon and causes inflammation and associated pain.
There is another very important thing. Plantar fasciitis can also be associated with other injuries like in knees, hips and spine. Here, the changed and disturbed biomechanics of movement incorrectly divides the load on the foot and thus inflammation of the plantar fascia.
PLANTAR FASCIITIS – rehabilitation methods
As not everyone is the same and neither is every plantar fasciitis, we use different methods of rehabilitation.
Physical therapy is highly recommended. We achieve very good results using the Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESTW) as well as Tecar therapy, combined with stretching and strengthening exercises for feet and calf muscles.
Therapy with ultrasound works well for some people, too. Use of the manual muscle relaxation as well as trigger point therapy will upgrade the results, achieved with use of physiotherapy devices.
When you feel the pain, many recommend resting. It is true that you need to reduce all the unnecessary activity. Yet a longer period of rest is questionable here since the condition improves in majority of people regardless if resting or not.
In later stages, when the condition is still acute, it is best to cool the foot. Ice works best. Just fill a plastic bottle with water and freeze it. When frozen you can put it on the floor and roll the foot gently on the bottle. Just do not forget to wear a sock!
Kinesiology tapes are highly recommended for plantar fasciitis. Kinesiological tapes relieve the pain, increase mobility and provide support. As they lift the skin, they also increase the flow of lymph and blood. There are several application techniques; I personally prefer taping as shown in the picture below.
Plantar fasciitis home rehabilitation exercises – do not exaggerate with the ball massage!
When rehabilitating the plantar fasciitis, we need to be attentive and careful with the amount of strengthening exercises in order not to overdo while we still feel the pain.
The same goes for rolling our foot on the ball. Though some advise to use a ball or even a foot foam roller daily, it is not good for plantar fasciitis release.
The latest research shows that over-massaging the fascia with pressure only irritates the fascia, so the balls and foam rollers should only be used every three days. We tested it and we verify it – IT HOLDS.
Barefoot walking is a miracle for the feet! It strengthens the foot muscles and massages them at the same time. Keep the ground you are walking on uneven yet comfortable for your feet (sand, meadow, gentle pebbles).
The plantar fasciitis is a long-lasting injury that is not easy to repair/heal. It requires a lot of patience and willingness to perform the prescribed exercises. Nothing will improve overnight.
A combination of physiotherapy devices use, manual relaxation techniques and proper therapeutic exercises, you will rehabilitate/heal the injury much quicker.
Due all of the above we highly recommend physiotherapy for plantar fasciitis rehabilitation. However, if the line to visit a physiotherapist is too long, you can use a couple of tips from this blog to ease the pain yourself.