Last week was the week of people asking about what they can do to help with their plantar fasciitis. Love it when people ask me about something because then I know what I can blog about next.
What is plantar fasciitis?
It is inflammation or degeneration of the plantar fascia where it attaches to the heel bone.
What causes the pain?
The plantar fascia is not able to cope with the loading on it and it will rip away from the heel bone. It tends to heal overnight and then tear off again in the morning when you get out of bed – which is why you tend to feel pain on getting up and it eases a bit during the day.
What can I do about it?
A lot of advice tends to be to wear cushioned soles or orthotics, but this doesn’t knuckle down to addressing the issue. The cause is from overtight hamstrings which causes the knee to be bent a little meaning all the weight is on the toes and front of the foot leaving your plantar fascia to hold up your weight – which is not what it is designed to do. After a while it isn’t able to hold you up any longer and it tears away from your heel – ouch.
To really sort it out you need to lengthen the hamstrings.
1) calf stretch – is a good place to start – both the calves and the hamstrings need to lengthen so start from the bottom and work up. As ever form is key – so make sure the ball of your foot is on the top of the half dome or towel or whatever you are using. Make sure your weight is in the heel of whichever foot is furthest back. If you need to increase the stretch move your standing leg further forward – to decrease the stretch move it further back.
2) Hamstring stretch – The key to this stretch is to not let your pelvis get involved – make sure that your bum stays on the floor while you are doing this stretch so you are really working on your hamstrings. You don’t need to get your foot high to get the stretch. If you need to increase the stretch flex your foot so your toes are moving closer to your body.
3) Double calf stretch – this works on your hamstrings as well! If the stretch is too much you may find that you don’t need a towel or half dome under the balls of your feet. Make sure you are hinging from your hips so that your back stays flat. Think about pushing your bum away from you to get the right alignment.
4) Foam roller – a massage can help to release tension in the backs of your legs and help with releasing the fascia in your legs and improving circulation.
Reduce heel height!
As well as all the above what you are wearing on your feet is also important to address. You need to gradually reduce the heel height of your shoes and find shoes that have flexible soles and wide toe boxes so your feet can move as they need to.
Rosie is a Natural Movement and Alignment Teacher. Helping you move better and feel better. She specialises in pregnancy and postpartum exercises and restoring strength to pelvic floor and core.