Prevent and/or Heal Plantar Fasciitis:

plantar1This problem resembles the pandemic issue of identity theft. Most people I talk to either has, had or knows someone who’s had pain resulting in plantar fasciitis. It seems to be common in our society; so let me help you understand how to prevent and/or treat the problem.

First realize that your feet are the most important and most-utilized body part in your body, so take good care of them. As a general rule, women take care of their feet, especially since they wear sandals. Unfortunately, men are known to forget that their feet even exist until they have pain. Guys, cut your toe nails and if you suffer from nail fungus, address that with a podiatrist. It will not go away on its own.

Understanding how our body works is the first step, so I will explain what happens when you grow up. The arches of your feet are the spring boards for your body. So if you are born with a high arch, you have a lot of spring; if you have flat feet, you are more prone to plantar, ankle and knee issues. It all depends on how active you are and if you are a runner, in which case you might bounce on your feet thousands of times just in a run depending on your running distance. In any event, as we mature, the body naturally loses some of the spring in the arch, and the bottom of your feet will get tighter, if you will.

By the way, the plantar is what covers the entire bottom of the foot, starting behind the toes and goes all the way to the heel where it attaches. So when you walk too far a distance without stretching, wear the wrong shoes or jump repetitively, like in running, playing tennis or aerobics, the bottom of your feet get too much abuse, atrophy (or shrink), and you end up with a shorter plantar than you need for comfort.

There is a way to condition your plantar. You must stretch not only the bottom of your feet but everything leading to the foot. I mean that it is instrumental to stretch your calves, not only the belly of the calf but also the sides. The bottom of your feet also need to be stretched by bending your toes upwards and downwards. It is highly recommended to exercise your plantar in order to keep it playable. A good way to do that is to drop a wash cloth on the shower floor and curl your toes as if you were trying to pick up the cloth, and do it repetitively.

As a fitness professional, I always add foot rolling to the equation. If your plantar is acutely tender because you have already waited too long, use an iced container (like a frozen plastic water bottle or soda can) and roll your heal and foot on it after a day with too much action. Contact us about other great tools you can use to soften the already-tight plantar. Receiving deep Achilles’ tendon massage is also very helpful as well as rolling on a hard surface to help break down the calcification under the heel. Both techniques are very painful at first but will give you improvement quickly.

Let’s talk about your shoes. You can really aggravate your situation by wearing flat shoes without any arch support, closed or opened toes. I’m not talking about exercise shoes; I’m talking about these cute, flat sandals, Ladies, or flip flops, Guys. Wearing a shoe with a little raised heal results in less pressure on the plantar and, therefore, less inflammation and pain. This is the place where women have an advantage over men. Going back to exercise shoes, make sure to read our blog about how to choose the right shoe size.

The next step is therapeutic manipulation and more injury-specific exercises. For more information, contact our coaches at VirtualFitness1.

To step out of bed and walk painlessly is freedom.

Take a step in the right direction.

Your Coach

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