The weight of sleepiness that had kept your eyes shut begins to lift as the first signs of day begin. The morning sun caresses your face. The rhythmical melody of birds awakens your ears. You streeetccchhh yourself out of bed and place your feet onto the floor.
A sharp pain radiates through your foot. You can barely walk to the bathroom, let alone to the end of the bed. What is going on?
Sounds as if you may have plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the connective tissue along the bottom of the foot (primarily in the heel area), also known as the plantar fascia. Increased trauma to the foot causes micro tearing of the fascia, which promotes an inflammatory response ending in pain. Pain is generally seen after long periods of rest, which is why it is most common to have pain with the first steps you take in the morning.
What can cause plantar fasciitis? Here are a few contributing factors:
- Weak foot muscles
- Tight calf muscles
- Inwardly rotated feet (tendency to walk on the inside edge of your foot)
- Being overweight
- Shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out
- Improper shoes for a sports or other activity
- Walking, standing or running for extended periods of time
- High arches or flat feet
- Rub your feet – Before hopping out of bed and putting your body weight on coldtissues, causing micro-tears, rub and stretch your legs and feet first to increase blood flow.
- Ice your feet – Freeze a water bottle and use it to roll the bottom of your feet when pain occurs.
- Stretch your calves – Wear supportive shoes while doing calf stretches to ensure the plantar fascia isn’t over stretched, but the Achilles and calf are stretched.
- Avoid long periods of running/standing – If this was the cause of the plantar fasciitis, taking time off to rest the feet will help stop the inflammation.
- Exercise your feet – Doing strength exercises for the foot muscles helps take the strain off the plantar fascia. Picking up a pencil with your toes or scrunching a towel along the floor with your toes are two examples.
- Get supportive shoes/orthotics – Proper foot wear will be important in maintaining a proper arch. Wearing the shoes as often as possible is also important.
- Go barefoot – Some experts recommend going without shoes at home to increase foot muscle strength.
- Massage – Getting the calves massaged helps release the tightness causing the plantar fasciitis.
- Acupuncture – Needling the plantar fascia at its insertion to the heel and also needling the Achilles and calves helps release the tension too.
Your RMT can help you find the best strategy to address your plantar fasciitis, as each case may vary. If being barefoot is painful, feel free to bring a pair of indoor shoes to switch into at the clinic so you can keep the foot supported during your visit.