Improper support and lengthy periods spent on your feet can lead to a common, painful condition called plantar fasciitis. This condition affects the ability to walk comfortably and causes significant pain in the heel of the foot. Today we’d like to outline some of the ways to help you treat plantar fasciitis, particularly through calf stretching, to get you comfortably back on your feet once again.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the flat band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot (i.e. the ligament) that connect your toes to your heel bone. This ligament is critical to your foot mechanics as it supports the arch of the foot.
When your feet go through long periods of movement and/or standing with minimal support, swelling and irritation of the plantar fascia can begin to occur. The ligament begins to suffer very small tears in the area that it inserts into the heel bone or along its length. These small tears are extremely painful and exacerbated without treatment and the continuation of long periods of walking, running, or even simply standing.
Though you may notice the pain caused by plantar fasciitis throughout the day, its most intense moments are in the mornings when you take your first steps after getting out of bed. The condition is most painful at this time as the ligament is not in use while you sleep and therefore tightens through the night.
Calf stretching is especially critical to relieving the pain caused by plantar fasciitis. When the calf muscle is tight, it pulls on your heel bone, which in turn pulls on your plantar fascia and makes it extremely painful to walk. To help ease the pain and help you on your way to recovery, we recommend you perform some simple stretches before you even get out of bed.
While sitting in bed, stretch your foot by flexing it up and down about 10 times. Then, loop a towel under the ball of your foot and gently pull it towards you while keeping your knee straight. Try and hold this position for about 15-20 seconds and repeat 4 times.
Now, stand facing a wall and place your hands against it. Place your affected leg a step behind your other leg while keeping your back heel on the floor. Slowly bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in your back leg along your calf. Hold this position for about 15-20 seconds and repeat 4 times.
These simple calf stretches, combined with rest, periodic icing, taping, massage, and proper orthotic insoles will help relieve your plantar fasciitis and get you back to being active. In the future, ensure you have proper footwear with arch support such as custom-made orthotics to support your feet at all times to prevent plantar fasciitis from becoming a reoccurring condition and a chronic pain you suffer from.
For more information about plantar fasciitis and treatments available, click here.