Plantar fasciitis is a condition that is caused by the irregular stretching of the plantar fascia, which is a ligament in the heels of our feet. Studies show that a lot of people have suffered from this condition without knowing what it is or what caused it.
The irregular stretch leads to excessive stress on the ligament causing irritation and swelling. This, in turn, leads to excessive pain especially when walking or running.
Although this condition is often caused by training accidents, there are certain factors that increase the chances of having plantar fasciitis.
Causes for Plantar Fasciitis
When your Achilles tendons or your calf muscles are extremely tight, it increases the chances of stretching them beyond their elastic limit. This may cause plantar fasciitis.
There are cases where one's lifestyle requires standing, running or walking for long periods of time. The strain on the muscles weakens them making them vulnerable.
Similar to tight muscles, your foot structure may put you at risk of developing plantar fasciitis. For example, if you have high arches or flat feet, you have a higher chance of developing the condition as compared to people who are in between.
Weight and ill-fitting shoes
Frequent occurrences of plantar fasciitis may be caused when one is overweight or if you wear shoes that don't fit. Excess weight and ill-fitting shoes cause imbalances in the distribution of pressure in your feet causing plantar fasciitis.
Now that we have established what the condition is and the different conditions in which it may occur, how do we stop it?
The answer is physiotherapy. Specialists have discovered a number of exercises that can be done from the comfort of your home to get relief in a matter of days.
The exercises are designed to even out the tension in the muscles and make them more elastic.
Exercises & Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis
The calf muscles are the muscles that run from the knee to the heel of your leg. To get relief from plantar fasciitis, stand facing a wall and put both hands on the wall.
Place your left leg forward and your right a little further back. Next, bend your left knee forward to while keeping your right knee straight to stretch it out.
Do this repeatedly for 3 to 5 minutes then switch legs and repeat. This should sufficiently stretch out your calf muscles.
Plantar fascia stretches
This is a fairly simple and enjoyable exercise. All you need is a comfortable chair that allows you to sit upright and a water bottle that is full of frozen water.
Sit on the chair and place the bottle laterally on the floor. Step on the bottle and roll it back and forth using the base of your foot repeatedly for 20 to 30 seconds.
After that, switch feet and repeat the exercise. Make sure you exert a fair amount of pressure for the best results.
Next, get rid of the bottle and cross your feet. Stretch the plantar fascia by pulling your big toe gently towards yourself.
Do these exercises for another 20 to 30 seconds then switch feet and repeat.
The last exercise in this category is commonly referred to as the towel stretch. While still seated, fold a towel and hold the ends of the towel with both hands.
Place the arch at the base of the foot in the middle of the towel then pull the towel gently towards yourself as you push the middle of the towel with your foot away from yourself.
This will help stretch out the muscles and ligaments. These exercises should also be done after the pain is gone because they also help avoid plantar fasciitis altogether.
The step stretch
The step stretch, as the name suggests is an exercise that can be performed using an elevated platform like a staircase.
Step on the platform with the front part of your foot and let your heels hang freely. Next, raise your other leg and enough to make sure you are standing only on the leg that is on the step.
If need be, you can use your hands to balance before you start the exercise.
Next, use the muscles on the front part of your foot that is on the step to raise and lower yourself on the step.
Repeat the movements for 20 to 30 seconds then switch feet and do it again. This exercise is considered one of the best because it stretches both the Achilles and the calf muscles.
Be careful not to overdo this one. Too much of it can be counterproductive in some cases.
Remember, if you are not sure whether the pain being caused is from plantar fasciitis or not, it is important to see a physician to get a proper diagnosis.
There are serious cases like arthritis, tarsal tunnel syndrome as well as stress fractures that have very similar symptoms. Seeing a physician is the only sure way of knowing what you have before you decide to take up any given exercise.
It is also advisable to stop working out until the condition is resolved to allow your feet to heal.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects numerous people across the country. When diagnosed, there is no need to panic.
There are many different exercises and lifestyle habits that you can adopt to alleviate the situation.
If you are yet to experience it, remember to always stretch before working out and to ensure that your feet get enough rest each day especially if your lifestyle needs you to be on your feet for long periods of time.
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