When a sports physio informs you that you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, the implications surrounding this may all appear negative. Nevertheless, it's not all doom and obscurity. Therapy sessions with a sports physio can help you recover and make walking and running pain-free again.
Plantar fasciitis explained
Plantar fasciitis injury is characterised by inflammation of the plantar fascia which is a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of one's foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. Under typical circumstances, the plantar fascia serves as a shock-absorbing bowstring, providing support to the arch of your foot. When too much tension and stress is exerted on the bowstring, small tears may crop up in the fascia. Further tearing and stretching may cause irritation and inflammation in the fascia.
Plantar fasciitis often causes piercing pain that normally occurs with your first steps after waking up. The pain usually decreases as you move, but it may return after large periods of standing or walking after sitting. Moreover, the pain is often worse after exercise, and not during.
Sports activities that exert plenty of repeated stress and tension on the heel and the attached connective tissue, including ballistic jumping, long-distance running, ballet and aerobic dance moves can lead to plantar fasciitis.
People with flat feet or a high arch are likely to complain about heel pain. Flat feet may be caused by genetics or simply training on hard surfaces.
Here are simple tips as recommended by your sports physio to prevent or alleviate plantar fasciitis.
Putting on orthopaedic footwear or orthotic inserts will help to realign your foot. Worn constantly during daytime, orthotic support is an excellent first step towards treating plantar fasciitis. In effect, this will effectively reduce heel pain. Your running shoes should have a good arch support.
Flexible calf muscles help to alleviate the tension on the plantar fascia. As part of stretching your Achilles tendon and calves, stand on the border of a step, and rest your body weight on the balls of your feet. Next, bend your knees for a minute and then stand straight. Repeat this exercise up to five times.
Slowly increase training load
For athletes, a proven method of avoiding over-use injuries like plantar fasciitis is to increase your training load by ten percent weekly at most.
Ice and rest
After a sports exercise, place a frozen water bottle underneath the arch of your feet for about twenty minutes. Application of ice brings instant pain relief.
If you've been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, a sports physio can tailor your treatment based on your individual needs as well as your individual sport.