Plantar Fascia, Plantar Fasciitis or Sore Foot Relief

What is it?

Plantar Fasciitis is simply an overload or irritation of the long, dense, ligament at the base of your foot. Whilst there is still argument over weather it is irritation, inflammation or degeneration (my guess is it can be a combo of all 3) this can be a very painful condition.

You’ll notice it first thing in the morning. Those first few steps out of bed are painful. It can warm up in the day but some people might describe it as a rock being in their shoe.

How did it happen?

Load = Load = Load and Stress = Stress = Stress.

I wish they were all simple. Some are. Ie you increased your running kilometers from 15km to 25km in 1 week. Sometimes it’s a change of footwear. Sometimes you did less running but added in hills for the first time. Sometimes it’s just 2-3 days of standing more.

Load = Load = Load and Stress = Stress = Stress.

This basically means that the plantar fasciitis is multifactorial. The contributing factors can be increased stress, less sleep, poor diet and only a small increase in load. Sometimes it’s just your body telling you that you haven’t given it a great environment to heal in.

Remember stress increases cortisol which is the inflammatory hormone in your body. Throw that in the mix with 2 hours less sleep every night and BOOOOM… those 15km running weeks or 6 hours of standing that was fine 3 months ago is now causing your foot to become irritated/inflamed.

What do I do?

Reduce your standing/running/footwear load immediately. Wherever you can take some time off the feet and this will reduce symptoms by good 30-50% in a short space of time.

Trial taping the foot. There are several methods to taping the foot but often people feel much better having some support or proprioceptive input from the tape.

Change shoes. If you have a higher cushioned shoe this will also help dramatically. Combine this with getting out of your office shoes and you will go a long way to stopping that foot pain. I know only Jerry Seinfeld wears sneakers to work but tell your boss, “the physio said so”. I’ll even write you a letter.

Ice or Heat. Jury is out, whatever works for you. Some like ice because it numbs the pain. Others swear by a heat pack or hot towel combined with slow stretching. Experiment and choose.

The above 4 points are short term, pain relieving strategies that should really take the edge off your pain and morning symptoms. However, wearing sneakers to work and walking around with hot towels is no practical, long term treatment…

How to progress?

Pain should start to ease 3-10 days after performing the above however the long term solution is the strength. You want to strengthen your foot intrinsics muscles as well as your calf and soleus muscles.

This exercise was more beneficial for people with plantar fasciitis at 3 months than other traditional exercises.