What is Plantar Fasciitis? Plantar Fasciitis is a common and often persistent injury affecting an array of people, especially runners. It causes pain in the arch and/or the heel. It is caused by an irritation of the long skinny rope of tissue (ligament and fascia) that runs along the bottom of the foot. What happens to the tissue/fascia is that small tears accumulate and become a constant and sometimes debilitating ache.
How do we make the pain go away?! Throughout my years of teaching Pilates and personal training I have had many clients with plantar fasciitis and I have even had bouts of it in my running career and it is quite painful. Here are some tips, stretches, and exercises that might help reduce the pain, stretch the tight muscles and fascia and strengthen your feet. I hate to tell you this but tight muscles are often (most likely) weak muscles, so lets strengthen and stretch them!
Rest! Take some time off and if you can't do that slow down, if you are running 3x a week cut it for 2 and if you still dont feel better back off to 1 day of running.
Wear good, supportive shoes. Limit your time in high heels.
Tightness in your calf muscles can cause over stretching and tightness to the fascia (tissue) in the bottom of your feet. Stretch your calf muscles by standing on a step and allowing the heels to drop under or even better purchase one of theses lovely calf stretchers, they are really great and allow you to stretch deeply and apply as much of your body weight into the stretch as you would like to. Hold the stretch for 30-1 minute and gently release.
Tennis Ball or Golf Ball You can use tennis balls or golf balls to massage the bottom of your feet to release some of the tension. Roll your feet over the ball in a repetitive motion to create a massage like feeling.
Yamuna Foot Wakers Foot wakers are a wonderful tool everyone should have. They help to improve your overall "foot fitness;" improving foot flexibility, strength, range of motion, and alignment. Foot wakers are a great way to alleviate the pain from plantar fasciitis and keep your feet healthy to prevent it from reoccurring. For me personal they also promote blood flow and circulation which helps with my Raynaud's ( a circulation problem).
Cold Soda Cans Cold soda cans are great for massaging and treating inflammation in the bottom of your feet. Roll your feet along the cold cans for 2-5 minutes to loosen up the tight fascia. You can then follow it up with golf balls or tennis balls to loosen them up even more.
If your plantar fasciitis pain persists or worsens see a podiatrists, physical therapist, or chiropractor for further help and diagnosis.
I mentioned the words "foot fitness" earlier, if someone were to ask you the last time you strengthened your feet you might answer...NEVER? Each foot has 20 muscles in it and we should all be exercising them on a regular basis. One of the things I love most about Pilates is the focus on foot and ankle strength and mobility. Check back next week for a foot and ankle strengthening workout...I'm taking to you runners, and well everyone!