The plantar fascia is a ligamentous band that attaches from the calcaneus (heel bone) to the toes. Its purpose is to support the arch and act as a shock absorber during walking and running. Plantar Fasciitis is a common condition caused by micro-tears in the plantar fascia when it is over-stretched.
Typical characteristic symptoms include heel pain that is worse in the morning getting out of bed and also after sitting for prolonged periods.
Here are some tips to help prevent this painful condition.
- Footwear – make sure your runners have a well-cushioned sole and arch support to absorb some of the impact going through the plantar fascia.
- Stretch your calf muscles. It is thought that 83% of plantar fasciitis sufferers also have tight calf muscles. Both the plantar fascia and the achilles tendon are attached to the heel bone. If one is tight then it will create a tension scenario and the achilles, being the largest tendon in the body, usually wins.
- Don`t suddenly increase walking or running as this puts too much stress on the plantar fascia. Instead slowly increase the intensity alongside strength and conditioning training for the foot and ankle to avoid injury.
- Training Surfaces – if you are a regular runner try switching to a softer training surface to reduce the impact forces going the plantar fascia. Tarmacadam is softer than concrete and grass or dirt track is softer than tarmacadam.
- Warm up and cool down. This is an obvious point but many ignore the importance of it!
- Rolling of Plantar Fascia. As well stretching your calf muscles you should also stretch your plantar fascia. You can use a tennis ball, golf ball or spikey massage ball to roll from your heel to your toes. This helps to stretch out the fibres of your plantar fascia.
- Strengthen your calf muscles and plantar fascia by doing double or single heel raises under the supervision of your physiotherapist. Plantar fasciitis is similar to tendinopathy in that it can respond to loading.
If your pain does not respond to these home based measures seek early treatment as the longer the condition is left the longer it can take to resolve.
Here at Southside Physiotherapy we have experienced Chartered Physiotherapists who specialise in this area. To access an appointment time please click the following link.