Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Plantar Fascitis? Maybe?

Do you have:
  • stabbing like pain at the bottom of your heel and/or arch when you first stand up in the morning?
  • pain at the bottom of your heel and/or arch with prolonged walking and standing?
  • pain in your arch while running or after your run is complete?
  • pain at the bottom or your heel and/or arch when you stand after you have been sitting for a prolonged period?
  • one or all of these symptoms?
Then you may have PLANTAR FASCITIS.

What is plantar fascitis?

  • It is a painful inflammatory process that occurs within the connective tissue that runs from the heel (bottom of the foot) along the arch of the foot (aka. plantar fascia)
  • Or it may be focused at the heel, alone.


Most Commonly Occurs In (but not limited to):
  • Runners
  • People with a recent increase in weight bearing activity (ie. change from sedentary job to ambulatory job,  switch from walking to running exercise routine) 
  • People who stand or walk for prolonged periods wearing shoes with inadequate support (very common)
  • People who are overweight
  • Pregnant Women
Common Treatments:
  • Put on shoes before you put your feet on the ground
  • Gastroc and Soleus Stretch (duration varies...3x30 sec, 2x1min....each)
  • Plantar Fascia Stretch
  • Self Massage
  • Taping (ask your Physical Therapist)
  • Ice (I prefer Ice Massage)
  • Heel cups in shoes or Orthotics
  • Night Splints-There are several types.  I am most familiar with the Strassburg Sock, which is also less cumbersome. 
  • Roll your foot back and forth over a rolling pin, can of soup, or a frozen water bottle

    Prevention (the first time or reoccurrence):
    • Healthy weight to reduce the load placed on the fascia
    • Proper shoe wear that provides adequate support for your foot.  Most cities have a local shoe store with a staff that will assess your foot structure.  If not, Physical Therapist's can evaluate the foot and make shoe recommendations.  **Common foot issues--Are you an over pronator? Over supinator? Narrow heel?  Wide forefoot?  Pes Planus (aka. flatfooted)?  Pes Cavas (aka high arched)? 
    • Frequent stretching of the calf muscles and the plantar fascia
    • Avoid going barefoot if you have the slightest hint of pain in your heel or arch
    • Avoid quick intensity changes in your exercise program.  Make slow changes to avoid tissue overload. 
    • Proper hip and core strengthening activities
    Plantar Fascitis severity and recovery can vary greatly and depends on many personal factors.  However, my advice is DON'T wait to seek treatment!!!!  I began experiencing slight heel pain while training for both of the 1/2 marathons I ran.  Once I felt the pain I began stretching, increased my hip/core strengthening exercises, icing, taking ibuprofen, wearing my orthotics, using ultrasound (I was an outpatient Physical Therapist at that time), and taping techniques for support.  That dull ache you may be feeling now could lead to severe continuous foot pain that is not easily abolished.  If you already have severe heel/foot pain, what are you waiting for.........GO TO THE DOC, SEE A P.T.  It won't just go away!

    *Other Resources HERE and HERE

    **Disclaimer:  This post is not intended to serve as a means to diagnose Plantar Fascitis or substitute for a proper evaluation by a Physician and/or a Physical Therapist.  This is not an extensive list of causes, treatments, or differential diagnosis of Plantar Fascitis. 

    1 comment:

    Heidi said...

    my mother had that. she first started having pain while vacationing in chicago. i felt SO bad for her. she didn't know at the time what was causing it.

    eventually, she had to wear the night splint for a period of time and it did help. now she is quite careful to always wear well supported shoes. she puts shoes on first thing in the morning, even if she's still in her night gown. ;)