A big welcome to your Plantar Fascia. An unknown part of your foot, that, so it seems, you don’t have to worry about.
It will do whatever the hell it does for years, then one morning, in some unlucky people, it creates almost crippling heel pain.
First thing in the morning, upon getting out of bed, you’ll be in so much pain that even hopping across your bedroom floor is something you’ll dread. Even contemplating allowing your heel to touch the floor makes many want to throw up in their own mouths.
It’s not all bad. Just give it 5 or 10 minutes of hobbling around and you can begin to limp with a bit of dignity. Welcome to the party you now have plantar fasciitis. It often self cures, in anything from 6 weeks to TWO YEARS.
There are two positive sides to the condition:
1) You’ll meet lots of people online searching for a cure. So it’s like an agony based Tinder.
2) you’ll meet lots of dodgy therapists trying to part you from your money for quack cures. If you spot them, it’s fun to watch. If you cannot see a quack coming, its a bit expensive.
So some back ground, according to the BMJ plantar Fasciitis copy has the reputation of being “a trivial condition”. Clinically “benign and self limiting”. So, if you are limping around your bedroom, screaming with pain, wondering how you can get to the loo, don’t worry, its “benign and self limiting”.
Pull yourself together. Its not cancer
So who gets it?
- Middle aged and older people. In some research I undertook, the age spread was thus
- Athletes and active people
In my research, these were the activities being undertaken prior to Plantar fasciitis developing
- Those with a reduced range of ankle dorsiflexion. I’ll publish my results soon, so do join the mailing list
According to the BMJ, the treatment options are
- Bio-mechanical treatments (orthotics, footwear modifications, taping)
- Stretching techniques including night splints
- “extracorporeal shock wave therapy
From my research, pictured in the above graph, I found a wide variety of cures being attempted.
So, for the stretches check out
“sit with one leg crossed over the other, and stretch the arch of the foot by taking one hand and pulling the toes back toward the shin for a count of 10. The exercise must be repeated 10 times, and performed at least three times a day, including before taking the first step in the morning and before standing after a prolonged period of sitting”. Thanks to Benedict DiGiovanni and Nawoczenski,
Most foot issues (not only plantar fasciitis, but the nasty achilles tendonitis) benefit from a better range of ankle flexion and pliable calf muscles. This daily stretch is also a must.
You’ll notice Im using a yoga block. It’s not ideal but gets you a start ( you could just use a step or a book, or a brick). If you have wealth beyond avarice, or £40, check out the
Navaris Wooden Slant Board – Calf Stretch Adjustable Incline Board Portable Anti-Slip for Pain Relief from Plantar Fasciitis Tendinitis and More
Most modern stretch commentators suggests you need to do this daily for 2 minutes.
Ice helps reduces pain, so freeze a bottle of water and roll your foot on the iced bottle. One of my clients uses a cold bottle of beer!
Massage balls. If you can stand the discomfort, start rolling the base of your foot on one of those massage balls! Start gently.
Get a night splint, and wear it at night IF YOU CAN. This drove me mad so I clawed it off within a minute
Lots of people can sleep with it , so as its about £11-£20 well worth experimenting with.
Night Splint Dorsal Soft Light for treatment of Plantar Fasciitis – (Black inner, 9 – up), Large
however, Crawford F, Thomson C. Interventions for treating plantar heel pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003; (3) found limited evidence to support the use of night splints to treat plantar fasciitis sufferers who had experienced pain for greater than 6 months. They found that patients treated with custom made splints improved but those with premade or ‘off the shelf’ splints did not.
INSOLES: In my humble opinion, buying and wearing flatter shoes often causes Plantar fasciitis . This is often combined with the whole “go barefoot” rebellion. It’s based on the “well, its more natural, innit” concept and totally, totally fails to take into account the fact that you have worn heeled, and supported shoes for the last 20-30 years!
Buy these Superfeet insoles.
Superfeet are worth every penny!! These really helped me. Ive put a link that will make me £££££’s in commission if you use it. Superfeet Green Insoles, E (UK 8-9.5/ Mens 9.5-11/ Womens 10.5-12).
I hope this helps, but really, try everything, ice, massage balls, stretching and my favourite, Superfeet.
If you have had this condition, why not take my survey that explores the issue of flexibility and Plantar Fasciitis .
This survey aims to evaluate your ankle flexibility by an easy wall test. so start off by testing your ankle flexibility. Get the measurement in cm
If you need help or training, do drop me an email Andrew@andrewstemler.com