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Do you ever get foot pain and wonder what it is?

Categories: Exercise

How You Can Avoid Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis, also known as jogger's heel is a disorder that results in pain at the bottom of the foot and heel. It derives its names from the plantar fascia, which is the flat band of tissue (ligament) connecting your heel to your toes. When strained, this ligament becomes irritated, swollen and weak, resulting in sharp pain that is experienced in the onset of exercise, or movement after a  prolonged rest period.

Common Causes

Under normal conditions, your plantar fascia should be able to act as a shock-absorbing bowstring, which supports the arch of your foot. Although there are many reported cases of Plantar Fasciitis, the exact cause has not been identified. However, most likely risk factors include:

  • Being overweight, thus adding more stress on the ligament
  • Exercises that place a lot of stress on your heels such as long distance running, aerobic dance, ballet and ballistic jumping activities.
  • Prolonged standing on hard surfaces that comes with occupations such as teaching and factory work.
  • Rolling your feet inward too much while walking.
  • Flat-footedness or having a high arch.
  • Ill-fitting shoes

Treatment

Plantar Fasciitis can usually be treated with home remedies and people who have the condition can usually experience improvement within 6-12 months. There are many things you can try to ease the pain. These include:

  • Getting off your feet – Cut back on activities that cause pain in your feet and avoid standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
  • Soak your feet in an ice bath – As soon as you experience the onset of pain, put some ice on your heel to reduce the inflammation
  • Go shoe-shopping – Look for shoes that fit you well and have a good arch support and cushioned sole. You could try shoe inserts or heel cups though you will have to wear them on both feet even though only one hurts. About a third of people experience Plantar Fasciitis in both feet.
  • You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

You can also try exercises that have been found to relieve the pain caused by the inflamed heel ligament. These include:

  • Toe stretches – Sit with one foot crossed over the other. Hold your toes, slightly pushing them backward towards your shin. Do this for 20 seconds on each side and repeat three times.
  • Calf Stretches – Standing at an arm's length away from the wall, place one leg behind the other, bending the other forward with your knee straight and heel on the ground. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat thrice on each side.
  • Towel stretches – Place a rolled towel under the ball of your foot and pull on both sides of it

Medical help is sought if none of the methods described above relieves the pain. A doctor may recommend injections with steroids, shock wave therapy, surgery to detach the plantar fascia for the heel bone or a minimally invasive procedure to remove scar tissue.

To avoid Plantar Fascia, you should give your feet a rest every so often, wear fitting shoes and always stay safe during workouts.