Plantar Fasciitis

 

Plantar fasciitis is a degenerative condition of the plantar fascia, which is a tough ligament-like tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot.  It contributes to arch support and provides a spring-like effect to the foot that participates in propulsion when you walk or run.

lateralplantarfascia

 

In the majority of cases, plantar fasciitis is associated with tightness in the calf muscles and Achilles tendon.  Tightness in these structures pulls the heel bone up  and back, thereby placing tension on the plantar fascia.

tightcalfmuscles

 

Plantar fascitiis is common among distance runners and other athletes who develop strong (and overly tight) calf muscles, but it's not just athletes who get it.  Sedentary individuals can develop it as well, due to the fact that muscles, including those in the calf, tend to tighten and shorten with inactivity.  Sedentary individuals who suddenly become physically active are particularly prone to developing plantar fasciitis as their already tight muscles will tend to react more strongly to exertion than in someone who is conditioned for such activity.  

Poor footwear is also associated with the development of plantar fasciitis.  In particular, shoes with a high heel tend to lead to tight calf muscles, but any shoe with poor arch support can be problematic.  

Because tightness in the calf muscles and Achilles tendon are nearly universal contributing factors in people with plantar fasciitis, calf stretches are recommended in nearly every case.  While most people will eventually benefit from the usual stretching regimens recommended by doctors and physical therapists, many individuals will respond much more rapidly by stretching  frequently throughout the day rather than just once or twice as is usually prescribed.  

The underlying causes of plantar fasciitis are reviewed and two basic stretching exercises are demonstrated in the following video:

Various professional treatments are available for plantar fasciitis. The most common prescribed treatments are oral medication, physical therapy, and injections.  In rare cases surgery may be recommended, but usually only after a minimum of a year of conservative treatment.

Although such treatments are occasionally necessary, most people will get good results with just the stretching exercises demonstrated in the video above.  More resistant cases may need additional treatment, and there are a wide variety of home treatments that can be employed that are often as, or even more effective than professional treatments, if for no other reason than they can be done more frequently than is practical with professional care.  

Home treatments for plantar fasciitis include:

  • Calf / Achilles Tendon Stretches
  • Strengthening Exercises For The Arch Muscles
  • Self-Massage Techniques (Foot Rolling, Trigger Point, Scraping Massage, etc.)
  • Acupressure
  • Magnetic Therapy
  • Natural and Over the Counter Pain Relievers
  • Laser Therapy (Using An Inexpensive Laser Pointer)
  • "Energy Medicine" Techniques To Release Physical and Emotional Causes of Pain

These Home Treatment Methods and More Are Covered In Detail With Illustrated Instructions In My Book:

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