Don’t Let Plantar Fasciitis Slow you Down!

Plantar fasciitis is a common and often persistent kind of repetitive strain injury afflicting a lot of New Yorkers. As New Yorkers, we walk a lot more than the standard person. It also can happen to runners, hikers, and nearly anyone who stands a lot for a living — cashiers, nurses, physical therapists, just to name a few. You can also develop plantar fasciitis from wearing improper footwear, spine alignment issues that affect your gait, or carrying excess weight.

I personally experienced plantar fasciitis throughout my 2 pregnancies. Carrying the extra baby weight, being a New Yorker, as well as a physical therapist, did a number on my poor feet.

Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:

So what exactly is plantar fasciitis?

If the arch of your foot is like a bow, think of the plantar fascia as the bow’s string. The plantar fascia, along with several muscles both in the foot and in the leg, supports the arch of your foot and makes it springy. Too springy, and the foot flattens out, overstretching the plantar fascia. Not springy enough, and the plantar fascia absorbs too much weight too suddenly. Either way, it starts to burn with the strain. This overstretching or tightness usually occurs because your plantar fascia is stressed in an irregular fashion which ends up causing microtears and inflammation.

How do you fix plantar fasciitis? You get your foot to move! Articulate the joints! The opening and closing of the joints in your foot is what stretches out your plantar fascia, and gives it motion and healthy circulation. Moving your stiff foot, whether it is high arched or flat footed, will do wonders not only for your achy feet, but for your entire body.

Here are a few simple things you can do to treat or prevent plantar fasciitis.

1. Roll a lacrosse ball or frozen water bottle under your arch. Do this for 5-10 minutes.

2. Slowly bunch up a towel by curling your toes. Then release and spread your toes apart. Repeat 20 times.

3. Place your toes on a wall with the ball of your foot and heel planted on the ground. Lean into the wall for 30 seconds and repeat at least 3 times.

4. When standing, lift only your big toes. Then place them down, and lift your other toes. Repeat 20 times each.

5. Stand with your foot back and leg straight with your other leg in front and bent. Keep your heel planted to the floor and slightly turned out while you lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in your calf. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

6. While standing, lift your arch so that your weight is placed on the outside of your foot. This is supination. Then, tilt your foot inward, putting the weight on your arch, stretching it flat. This is pronation. Go in and out of these positions 20 times each.

If you keep experiencing pain in any part of your foot, visit the experts at All Sports Physical Therapy. Therapists can manually stretch your plantar fasciia and show you the proper exercises to prevent recurring injury.

Happy stretching!

By: Cecilia Manubay, PT

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