Fix Your Sh*t: Plantar Fasciitis Edition
Another plague to the lower extremity - Plantar Fasciitis. This is another one that I find is all too common and can become a chronic issue if not dealt with properly.
Just like everything else, the first step in helping fix your plantar fasciitis is understanding what it is, then we can go on to work on the causal factors.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is the irritation of the “plantar fascia” - a thick connective tissue that runs the length of your foot.
When it becomes inflamed we typically end up with stabbing heel pain (when I say heel pain I’m talking about right on the bottom of the heel - not the back).
This pain is typically triggered with:
The first few steps in the morning
After standing for a long time
When you get up after sitting for a long time
After running/exercise (not typically during)
So we want to know WHY this pain happens, so that we can fix it. Some of the typical reasons (for true plantar fasciitis) are:
Stiff ankles (specifically missing “dorsiflexion” AKA toes to your nose)
Flat or Rigid arches
5 Ways to Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis
1. Fix Your Feet!
Learn how to activate your arches by trying to "stack" your ankle bones on top of your heel. It's all about training your brain with this one.
(Start in sitting if you need to)
2. Get Those Ankles Moving Better
If your ankle joint doesn't move properly, it is easy for tissues to become tight and restrictive. If we were just to try to release the tissues, but they aren't able to naturally move through their range of motion because of a joint restriction - they will continue to re-tighten.
3. Release the Fascia (for initial flares a frozen water bottle works wonders on the foot)
Start with the feet and work up the entire chain (calves minimum - you may need to go all the way up the hamstrings and into the glutes and lower back).
4. Get someone to actually look at your feet (statically and dynamically) to ensure you get into proper shoes
5. Nutrition & unloaded cardio to help lose weight (if that’s a factor)
So give these a try and see how they go!
If you don’t see any improvements - remember there are other things that can cause heel pain. You may not actually have shin splints at all! This is when it’s a good idea to get assessed to see what is keeping those heels irritated.
How Long Does Plantar Fasciitis Take To Heal?
These can take up to 6 months to recover fully. As always, it varies from person to person depending on the individual, what the causal factor is, etc...The key is to work on addressing them sooner vs. later. If you leave them, I often see people start to develop a limp, which causes a whole other set of problems up the chain that have to be addressed.
SPECIAL NOTE: There are other conditions, and things further up the chain, that can mimic the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis! If you are working on the things above and see no (or almost no) improvement, have a professional take a look to get the bottom of it.