“With the start of the new year, fitness resolutions are on everyone’s mind. Couch potatoes and exercise enthusiasts have started new physical activities and routines, runners have upped their mileage and weekend warriors are working hard to advance quickly in their chosen sport or activity-all trying to achieve the goal of leading a healthier lifestyle.
Advancing too quickly in physical activity can lead to an increase in heel pain-commonly known as Plantar Fasciitis. Faulty foot mechanics or improper shoes can also contribute to this condition. Other possible causes include: obesity, age, family tendency, and disease (arthritis and diabetes).
The Plantar Fascia is a shock absorbing tissue that expands when you walk, run, or exercise. Continuous tension on the fascia can cause irritation or inflammation. The pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis is generally located on the bottom of the heel. The first steps out of bed in the morning are often the most painful.
Irritation of the Plantar Fascia is treated with rest, ice, stretching and strengthening, correction of faulty footwear, and proper foot mechanics. Several stretches/strengthening exercises that have helped our clients get “back on their feet” are: The Plantar Fascia Stretch-standing with the ball of foot on stair, reach for the bottom step with heel until a stretch is felt through the arch of the foot. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times, 3 times per day.
Single Leg Toe Curling-With foot resting on a towel, slowly bunch towel up as you curl toes. Repeat 3-5 times, 2 times per day.
Lacrosse Ball Massage-while sitting in a chair, roll lacrosse ball under your foot to massage the painful area. Perform for 1 minute, 3 times per day.
Increasing activity levels can be done safely and strategically to avoid overuse injuries. Always check for proper footwear, consider cross training (alternate between running, walking, biking, and swimming) on your exercise days, rest, and diet all aid in injury prevention and rehabilitation. So get out there and get your HEALTHY FEET MOVING!”