Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that affects people of all ages. It is the most common cause of heel pain and is estimated to affect approximately 10% of the population. This blog will discuss plantar fasciitis, its symptoms, causes, and stretches to help relieve pain.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the heel of the foot. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, becomes inflamed or irritated. This condition is typically caused by overuse or repetitive stress on the plantar fascia, which can cause small tears in the tissue.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain in the foot’s heel. The pain is typically worse in the morning or after prolonged periods of sitting or standing. The pain is often described as a sharp, stabbing sensation and may also be accompanied by swelling, redness, or stiffness in the foot.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is typically caused by overuse or repetitive stress on the plantar fascia. However, this can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Overpronation: When the foot rolls too far inward when walking or running, which can put extra stress on the plantar fascia.
- Flat feet or high arches: These foot types can also put extra stress on the plantar fascia.
- Improper footwear: Shoes that are worn out, poorly fitting, or lack adequate support can also contribute to plantar fasciitis.
- Obesity: Excess weight can put extra stress on the plantar fascia.
- Inactivity: A lack of activity can also contribute to plantar fasciitis, as the plantar fascia can become stiff and inflexible.
Stretches to Help Relieve Pain
Several stretches can help relieve the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. These stretches can help to stretch and strengthen the plantar fascia and can also help to improve flexibility in the foot. Some of the best stretches for plantar fasciitis include:
- Calf stretches: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Step back with one foot, keeping it flat on the ground. Keep your other foot forward and bend your front knee. Lean forward, keeping your back leg straight until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, and then switch legs.
- Towel stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Place a towel around the ball of one foot and hold onto the ends of the towel. Gently pull the towel towards you, stretching the bottom of your foot. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, and then switch feet.
- Plantar fascia stretch: Sit on a chair and place your foot on a tennis ball or a frozen water bottle. Roll the ball or bottle back and forth under your foot, focusing on the arch and heel. Repeat for 1-2 minutes, and then switch feet.
Therapies for Plantar Fasciitis
At Texas Nerve and Spine, we provide healthcare that addresses the root cause of a condition rather than just treating the symptoms. Several things can help to address the underlying causes of plantar fasciitis. These treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory diet: Following an anti-inflammatory diet can help to reduce inflammation in the body, including inflammation in the plantar fascia. An anti-inflammatory diet involves eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while avoiding processed foods, sugar, and refined carbohydrates.
- Nutritional supplements: Certain supplements can also help to reduce inflammation in the body and support the health of the plantar fascia. These supplements may include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and turmeric.
- Chiropractic care: Chiropractic care can help improve the alignment and function of the feet and ankles, reducing stress on the plantar fascia. Chiropractic adjustments can also help to improve overall mobility and reduce pain and inflammation in the foot.
- Pressure Wave Therapy: The high-energy sound waves used in this non-invasive treatment can stimulate tissue regeneration and increase blood flow to the affected area, which can promote healing and reduce inflammation. The therapy can also help to break up scar tissue that may be causing pain and discomfort. Patients typically receive several sessions of pressure wave therapy over a period of several weeks, and many report significant improvement in their symptoms.
- Myofascial Release Therapy: This therapy focuses on releasing tension and adhesions in the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles and organs in the body. By targeting the fascia in the foot and ankle, Myofascial Release Therapy can help to alleviate pain and stiffness, as well as improve flexibility and range of motion.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles and improve the flexibility of the foot and ankle. A physical therapist can work with you to develop a personalized exercise program to help relieve pain and improve function.
In conclusion, plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition caused by various factors, including overuse, improper footwear, and obesity. Symptoms include pain in the heel of the foot, stiffness, and swelling. Stretches, such as calf stretches and towel stretches, can help to relieve pain and improve flexibility. Alternative therapies, such as an anti-inflammatory diet and stretching, can help to address the underlying causes of the condition and improve overall foot health.
If you are experiencing foot pain and suspect you may have plantar fasciitis, don’t wait any longer to seek professional help. The team at Texas Nerve and Spine is here to help you find relief from your symptoms and get you back on your feet—our experienced and compassionate about helping those with a wide range of conditions, including plantar fasciitis. So contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards improved foot health.