The symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis are a burning feeling or stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot, between the ankle and the ball of your foot. Often times it hurts more in the morning when first stepping out of bed, and then as the tissue warms up, gradually subsides. In other cases, it can hurt directly after exercising or standing for long periods of time. It is uncomfortable, and can take time to heal.
What is the Plantar Fascia?
The plantar fascia is a tough connective tissue layer that travels from your calcaneus (heel bone) to the anterior portion of your foot. This tissue is not muscle- it does not contract. Its purpose is to keep the heel and the ball of your foot from spreading outward. Image it as the bow sting keeping a bow (the arch of your foot) in shape. This tough fascia acts like a spring when you walk, absorbing pressure and shock, and transmitting force when you step forward. So it has a certain amount of give, much like a spring, but can only take so much until it tears.
What Causes It?
Although the plantar fascia is tough, it can tear. Exercises that have repetitive pounding and stretching this area can cause this condition. Also, the mechanics of an individual’s foot can play a part. For example, someone with a high arch may experience more stress in this area. Other risk factors are your age. As we get older, the tissues loose some of their resilience. Plantar Fasciitis usually occurs in people between 40-60 years old. Anyone can get Plantar Fasciitis. If you are on your feet all day long or carrying extra weight, all these factors can play a part.
One risk factor is that extra tension in the back of the legs can contribute to the plantar fascia tearing. The plantar fascia does not exist alone- it is part of a line of fascia that travels all the way down the back of your leg, around your ankle, and into your toes. This is called the posterior fascial line. Restriction anywhere along the line can diminish the springiness of the plantar fascia, leading to it tearing.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatments
Common treatments for plantar fasciitis are taking medications such as Acetaminophen to help reduce the swelling and reduce inflammation. Ice and heat therapies are also used. If the condition is particularly painful, your doctor might suggest night splints, injections, or orthotics.
Assisted Stretching for Plantar Fasciitis
One of the best and most effective treatments is to relieve any tension along the posterior fascial line. All the way down through the plantar fascia into the foot. At iFlex Stretch Studios, we can evaluate any tension in those muscles, then apply gentle and effective stretching to loosen and lengthen the tissues. This results in less stress on the plantar fascia, allowing it to heal.