We tell you what its symptoms and causes are, what risk factors there are, and the treatment and exercises to alleviate this condition called plantar fasciitis.
Acute pain in the sole is usually due to plantar fasciitis, a fairly common problem that affects one in ten people. Also, it is a disease on the rise, mainly because of more and more exercise is practiced and, individually, to the popularity of running. But what is it exactly?
This is how it is produced. The plantar fascia is the fan-shaped elastic tissue that runs from under the toes to insertion into the calcaneus, the heel bone. When this tissue becomes inflamed is when we are dealing with a case of plantar fasciitis.
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is a sharp pain in the sole, near the heel. This is usually more intense when we get out of bed in the morning or after standing or sitting.
Special cases. Sometimes, you can also notice pain at the end of the day that although it is not used to being too intense, it can be very uncomfortable.
The leading cause of plantar fasciitis is an overload or a tension maintained in the area where the plantar fascia is inserted into the calcaneus. This bone forms the foot’s heel.
Several risk factors favor the appearance of plantar fasciitis.
(especially in impact sports or that involve running or jumping) makes the heel overload more significant, so fasciitis is a widespread pathology among athletes.
What is especially problematic is when you start to practice a sport with a very high intensity that our body is not used to or suddenly increase our sports activity.
Valgus feet (feet that tend to flatten) and cavus feet (feet with more arch than expected) are the ones that most often suffer from plantar fasciitis.
Excess weight increases the load on the heel.
If you continuously wear high-heeled shoes, the posterior leg muscles will shorten, and there is a direct relationship between such shortening and plantar fasciitis.
To avoid this, it is best that you alternate heeled shoes with other flatter ones and that you do not decrease the heel height abruptly since this favors increased tension in the plantar fascia.
This type of footwear makes it necessary to “claw” with the feet to not lose the flip flop with each step and generates a significant increase in tension in the plantar fascia. The podiatrist recommends that open summer footwear have at least some strap that supports the heel.
Although short walks on the beach have many benefits for the feet, it is not recommended to take long steps on the sand (you would have to wear sports shoes) or walk a lot if you are not very used to it since the fact of sinking in each step on the sand is an overstrain that increases the tension on the fascia.
It is essential to distinguish two parts in plantar fasciitis treatment:
Here the treatment is focused on deflating the area. Different pharmacological (anti-inflammatory) and physical therapy (manual therapy, shock waves, percutaneous electrolysis, laser, etc.) can be used in this phase.
Once the area is deflated, it is essential to identify the fasciitis cause to carry out a long-lasting treatment over time. This causes, for example, maybe in the form of stepping, so it will be essential to make a custom insole that decreases the tension on the plantar fascia.
At other times, fasciitis may be caused by a significant shortening of the posterior leg musculature, and treatment should be aimed at gaining elasticity in these areas.
Here are 3 simple exercises you can do at home to help ease plantar fasciitis’s pain and discomfort:
Releases the inflamed fibers of the plantar fascia. You will need a half-liter bottle of water or a can of soda. Place it on the floor on a towel or other non-slip surface, and putting your foot on it (sitting or standing) makes it roll back and forth.
Repeat this gesture for approximately 5 minutes with each foot.
It is recommended that you do it at the end of the day and that the bottle is cold because that way, you take advantage of the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect of the cold.
It stretches the structures (twins and soleus muscle) that can create tension in the plantar fascia. Sitting place a towel or elastic band under the forefoot’s surface and holding the ends with your hands move into flexion, so that you bring the tip of the foot to the leg, keeping the knee straight.
Frequent the exercise 10-15 times with each foot until 3-4 sets are completed.
Strengthens the foot musculature to remove tension to the plantar fascia. Stretch out a towel on the floor, grab it and drag it towards you with your toes. Do this exercise for 3-4 minutes with both feet at the same time.
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