4 top tips for Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis (or Plantar Fasciopathy) appears as pain and extreme sensitivity in the heel. Often worse when you first get up in the morning or start walking after a period of rest, it affects your ability to walk long distances and can be persistent and difficult to resolve. The plantar fascia is a strong band of fibrous tissue extending from the heel bone to the distal bones of the foot and supports the foot arch so it’s really important in helping our body to absorb and transmits load when we walk and run and difficult to rest. Plantar fasciitis isn’t necessarily true ‘inflammation’ of the area – it involves a range of changes in the tissues, resulting in pain.
Why does it happen? It is often a response to too much load going through the ankle, heel and foot relative to what it can take, and may come on with a change in footwear or activity. It may come on after increasing running on hard surfaces, changing how you strike the ground when running or doing a lot of activity in unsupportive shoes. Some people may be predisposed to it because of their leg and foot alignment, increased activity and time on their feet, and studies show those with tight hamstrings or who have been doing higher mileage and running for longer are more likely to be affected. It can affect less active people too, and carrying extra weight’s can be an influential factor in these groups.
Top tips to resolve it
1. Use ice Ice for 10 minutes, especially post activity, can calm it down and alleviate pain.
2. Change it up What are you doing differently lately? Running and walking more? Doing high impact exercise. You mignt need to make sure you work up to it gradually.
3. Be strong, feel flexible If there’s a hip or calf weakness, strengthening is key. If you are struggling to raise yourself on one leg repeatedly with a calf raise, regaining strength will be an important part of getting better. Is your ankle stiff? Can you easily stand and balance on the affected leg? If not, improving these factors might help
4. Footwear before fashion Flatter, more supportive shoes can help and there are products on the market to help the heel absorb load. A Physio or Podiatrist can advise you on what’s right for you and what's worth buying.
Don’t be disheartened. It is a frustrating condition but taking positive action can help it resolve more quickly and prevent it recurring.