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3 Steps To Alleviate Plantar Fascia Pain

3 Steps To Alleviate Plantar Fascia Pain

May 5, 2021
By Next Level Physical Therapy

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of foot and heel pain. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2 million people each year are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. This number is staggering.  Symptoms can range from mild to severe, making even simple activities like walking and standing unbearable.  But what is plantar fasciitis, and what can be done?

Fascia is a continuous casing of multiple layers of connective tissue that surrounds and penetrates every muscle, coats every bone, covers every organ, and envelops every nerve and blood vessel.  It is flexible and equally sturdy, providing structure for every component in your body. In between the layers of connective tissue is liquid called hyaluronan that allows for optimal sliding and gliding and performance of the tissue. But there are certain things that cause fascia to thicken and become “sticky,” or unable to glide. When this happens around the muscles, it can limit mobility and cause painful knots to develop.

In the case of Plantar Fasciitis, or inflammation of the plantar fascia at the bottom of the foot, symptoms are often not from one triggering event, but repetitive stresses and strains to the plantar fascia over time.  

Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis are:

  1. Pain on the bottom of the foot, especially at the heel. 
  2. Increased pain with standing or walking after resting the foot, like when out of bed in the morning or first few steps after prolonged sitting.  
  3. Pain seems to reduce with more activity, but then returns at the end of the day.  In severe cases, every step can be painful and there is no “working-through-it phenomenon”.  

If you are struggling with plantar fasciitis, try these 3 techniques to ease your pain and get you walking the road of recovery, pain-free.  

  1. Self Massage. Massage the bottom of your foot and calf.  You can use your hands, massage tools or even a golf ball.  To decrease inflammation at the same time, consider using a frozen water bottle to roll out the bottom of the foot.
  2. Consider Arch supports.  You can opt for more supportive shoes, over the counter supports or custom orthotics.  Supporting the arch will take the immediate stress off of the plantar fascia, allowing for a better healing environment.
  3. Stretch overnight. There are plenty of options on the market to place your plantar fascia on stretch, from the Strassburg Sock to the plantar fascia night splint.  Trauma and overuse injuries to the plantar fascia is mended by the body through the laying down of scar tissue.  Breaking these scar tissue adhesions is the most common cause of pain with your first few steps in the morning.  Items like the Strassburg Sock take advantage of the Windlass Mechanism to place the plantar fascia on stretch while lifting the arch at the same time, reducing your morning pain and assisting in the healing process. 

While the above techniques are proven to reduce your pain, long lasting relief can only come from restoring the proper mechanics at your foot and ankle. Exercise to reintroduce proper mobility of and strength of your foot and ankle are extremely important, so important it warrants its own blog post. Click here for: Exercise Yourself Out of Plantar Fascia Pain. 

As always, the above recommendations are based on accurately diagnosing the cause of your foot pain.  If you are unsure of what is causing your foot pain, please call 661-383-9828 or CLICK HERE to schedule an evaluation with one of our doctors of physical therapy. Our team will diagnose the cause of your pain and guide you on your path to pain-free living. 

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