Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's Wrong Wednesday...?

What's Wrong...When I Have Plantar Fasciitis?

Today I am changing focus down to the foot. I have had some requests to cover the condition Plantar Fasciitis (plan-tar  FA-CEE-EYE-TIS). If you have had a foot problem, listen up today because this could be YOU!

What is it?
Plantar Fasciitis is a common problem both among athletes and non-athletes. Let's first talk about what the plantar fascia (the cause of all these problems) is. The Plantar Fascia is a thick bundle of fibrous tissue that starts at the heel and ends at your toes. It assists in maintaining the stability of your foot especially when landing.

So what causes this condition? Well, unfortunately a lot of different things can lead to this condition - tightness of calf muscle, wearing shoes without sufficient support in them, running on soft surfaces, different leg lengths, tightness of arch of foot, and lengthening your stride too much while running. Now most of these causes can be fixed or altered to help plantar fasciitis and we will talk about that later.

Signs you may have it

Signs of this are very clear because most of the time - it is very painful! You will feel pain in the heel and it will spread down into the middle of your foot. It is marked by being particularly painful and bothersome in the morning when you get out of bed or when putting weight on your foot after sitting for a long period of time. However, as you walk a little ways, the pain will lessen. You can also test for this condition by pulling your toes and foot toward you (see Picture 1 below in stretching). If this elicits a lot of pain, this will usually point towards Plantar Fasciitis because you are stretching the aggravated plantar fascia.

Keep in mind that you cannot nor will not fix this condition right away. It takes time for it to heal and also to fix the causes. It is not uncommon for it to take as long as 8-12 weeks for this to completely heal and symptoms to stop. It is especially hard to fix because it is a body part you most likely use fairly often. This slows down the healing process. Now that the depressing news is out of the way, on to the encouraging news of how to fix it! You will need to refer to the pictures to see how to do specific exercises.

REST: The first step you always want to take with an injury is rest. This is the only way the injury will get better. I know, I know. It is your foot. You must walk on it to get around. Well, seriously you may need to get some crutches. If it is so bad you must limp around, you need to use crutches, because once you start limping, other parts of your body will start hurting and you will have new injuries and have to start this whole process over again. Fun, huh? If you don't have crutches (or refuse to use them) just try to stay off of it. Do not walk if you don't have to, keep your foot up and elevated at all times.

STRETCH: This is a big one with this injury. You will want to do this as often as you can throughout the day and for at least 3 sets holding for 30 sec. Always do stretches gently and not to the point of pain. It should (almost) feel good!

   Wall/Stair stretch - See Picture to the left. Find a stair or wall and put the bottom of your foot against it. You will feel a pull - do not push too hard - pain is not good!

Picture 1 - Doing this will cause pain if you have Plantar Fasciitis.
However, it is also a great stretch!
   Do it yourself stretch: If you are too nervous to try the wall stretch, just start by doing it with your own hand. See Picture 1 to the right. You must do it gently and still hold for 30 sec but you can control this one easier.

   Ball Roll: This exercise may be painful but pain is OK in this exercise because it is helping to break up the scar tissue and knots that have occurred. Find a ball or thick stick (something that rolls) and put it under your foot. Step down on it and roll it under your foot putting as much pressure as you can handle for at least 10 sec. Do it twice. Always do the stretches from above after and ice.

ICE/ELEVATE: You will hear me say these words a lot with every injury. But honestly, it will be your best friend. Ice the first 72 hours at least. Ice and elevate your foot at least 20 min at a time and do it as often as possible. Do it for sure after you do the exercises from above - because you will get sore!

IBUPROPHEN: Take as prescribed to relieve pain and swelling.

ORTHOTIC:  Go to the store and pick out a cushion for your shoe. If this doesn't work to relieve pain/symptoms you may need to go see a specialist to get a custom orthotic made.


 1) Buy good quality shoes - especially if you are on your feet a lot and/or exercise a lot. You should always give your shoes a 24 hour break for the cushion to re-cushion itself/spring back. So it is a good idea to have two pairs that you switch off each day. The sales people are usually pretty good at stores about knowing which shoes are good and bad. Ask for help - it won't kill ya! :)

2) Always stretch - especially the calf/foot stretches I showed above. This will help prevent you from getting it again.

3) If this injury reoccurs over and over for you, make sure to go get your feet checked out by a professional and look into custom orthotics. Many people have a foot type that predisposes them to this injury and if you don't cushion your foot right, you will continue to hurt your plantar fascia and other parts of your body.

**And remember, always go and get checked out by a medical professional if home treatments do not work. This article is not meant to be a diagnosis or treatment plan for you or your injury. You must be looked at by a professional to know what is exactly wrong. **

Hope this article is helpful!
Let me know if you have any questions!!!


Bonus Question:

What is your body's largest organ?


The mad woman behind the blog said...

Oh this is too easy: Largest "organ", SKIN!

Hi, here from Lady Bloggers.

Ash said...

Hi! I'm now following (from MBC) and looking forward to reading more.


Until tomorrow, Jennifer said...

OMG...Plantar fashitus hurts....I had it once and the only shoes I was able to comfortably walk in was a pair of flats from kmart. i wore them day and night so i wouldnt feel the pain when i walked...doc says i shouldnt wear flip flops anymore...following you from

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