What is plantar fasciitis?
Ever had pain on the bottom of your foot? Ever been told that you have Plantar Fasciitis and wondered what it was?
- Plantar - referring to the bottom surface of your foot
- Fascia is connective tissue that covers all of your internal body structures and wraps each muscle
- -itis means inflammation and pain
Typically inflammation is caused by an excess of blood (and other fluid) sent to a distressed area of your body, in order to help it heal. Unfortunately too much blood causes pressure and pain and pain signals the body to send more blood and cause more inflammation. The good news is, there are several ways to relieve inflammation:
- Ice is a vasoconstrictor which reduces the size of the blood vessels and forces blood out.
- Anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID) behave as a steroid and block the enzymes that lead to inflammation and pain.
- Elevation - if you raise your foot above your heart, gravity with help the blood (and lymph) drain.
- Wearing arch supports will help with the pain while you are wearing them.
So why is your foot in distress in the first place? Fascia is a very sticky tissue (think plastic cling wrap). When your foot stays in the same position (or endures repeated trauma), the layers of fascia stick together. Once these layers are stuck together they don't move freely and slide over each other like they should. This blockage causes pain and inflammation. How do we prevent these layers from sticking together? Movement; forcing the layers to break apart. Try:
- Rolling a ball under your foot
- Wiggling your toes and flexing your foot up and down
- Varying your shoes
- Deep tissue massage
Doctors may tell you that you need to take muscle relaxers and other strong drugs for the pain. They may also tell you to get special shoes. These options will help but they will not solve the problem.
Healthy feet are happy feet!