Intense foot pain throughout the arch and focusing near the heel which may gradually lessen throughout the day or with use is known as plantar fasciitis.
The cause of plantar fasciitis is a collapsing arch and poor biomechanics. The plantar fascia is a tough sheet of connective tissue which stretches across the sole of the foot from the ball to the heel. It spans the arch of the foot like the string of a bow. Add gravity to the equation and it is obvious that the fascia must stretch under the entire weight of the body. One problem: The plantar fascia doesn’t like to be stretched. When it is stretched, it becomes inflamed and voila: plantar fasciitis. Treatment incorporates 2 main goals:
- Reducing Inflammation: there are many approaches to reducing inflammation from as straightforward as Rest, Ice, and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Aspirin) to the infinitely complex and personally-rewarding such as dietary changes, stress reduction, and nutritional supplementation. A great place to start is by cutting out sugar and taking an over-the-counter antioxidant/multivitamin. Remember that you get what you pay for – READ LABELS. I would avoid fillers and generic labels.
- Facilitate and strengthen muscles which hold up the arch: the second goal requires even more work. Stretch the calves by propping your foot against a wall and SLOWLY leaning forward. One might also stretch by placing the back of the foot on the floor and GENTLY pushing the ankle forward. Do this on both sides, 3 repetitions, three times a day. Strengthen the arch by going barefoot on a carpet and make fists with your toes, 10 reps, twice a day. Otherwise, it is best to rest – also consider shoe inserts with soft arch support.
If you’re doing all this for a week or so and still having problems, it’s time for a professional applied kinesiologist or chiropractor to step in and align the foot and low back.