by Kim Fitzgerald April 12, 2020 6 min read
10 years ago, I struggled with plantar fasciitis for 8 months before I found these effective techniques. Believe me I understand the pain and frustration and lack of information and knowledge available to us. And as an older (ish) athlete, I can tell you that after restoring function to my feet, I can athletically perform just as well as I did as a teenager! I’m not kidding, I can sprint just as fast as did at age 17...why? Because I have a properly functioning and aligned foot. I spend time restoring and mobilizing my body every day, so that I can keep active and pain free whether on my bike, family walks, surfing and everyday life.
Below I will outline a brief overview of Causes and then highlight the 5 steps to live Pain Free. If you have Plantar Fasciitis, I know you’ve tried everything out there to resolve this, and you’re finding very little or no relief. You’re stuck in this painful cycle. You’ve searched online, gone to a doctor or podiatrist, you’ve sought out physical therapy, searched online, even asked friends or family for referrals or answers - yes, you and over 2 million other Americans! It’s frustrating to say the least because unfortunately you’re receiving the same information over and over, yet it’s NOT fixing the problem! The only treatments provided for you are to treat underlying associated inflammatory disease, wear expensive orthotic shoe inserts, stretching, ice, night splints, walking casts or boots. Or how about add Corticosteroids injected directly into the already damaged section of the ligament? Or worse surgery in which the surgeon will partially detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone. OUCH! This invasive surgery may reduce tension in the ligament but it also can weaken the arch of the foot and full function of the foot may be lost forever! Honestly I can’t even believe this, because the invasion of tissues can permanently hinder your body’s structure and create awful lasting issues within the whole structure of the body...and then proper function is lost.
All this seems overwhelming but the good news is WE CAN FIX and allow you to go pain free. How? We will fix the function and structure of the entire foot, the root of the problem vs using just stop gap fixes that work to patch all the secondary inflammation but never fix the problem causing it.
So What Exactly is Plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.
Your plantar fascia is in the shape of a bowstring, supporting the arch of your foot and absorbing shock when you walk. If tension and stress on this bowstring become too great, small tears can occur in the fascia. Repeated stretching and tearing can irritate or inflame the fascia. When you have these repeated small ‘micro-traumas’ within the fascia, your body will continue to bring in more replacement cells and inflammation. Left untreated you’ll wind up with what’s called Fibrosis. Fibrosis (also known as Fibrotic scarring) is a pathological wound healing in which connective tissue replaces normal tissues and cells to fill in the ‘gaps’ or micro-traumas. If this goes on for a long period of time, it will lead to considerable tissue remodelling and the formation of permanent scar tissue.
But here’s the good news, your body is highly intelligent, and we can change the course of this problem now! You deserve to be able to do all of the things and activities you love without pain. And you certainly deserve to wake up in the morning and get out of bed without this awful stabbing pain!
5 Steps to a Pain Free Life - Let’s DO this:
We will be using a extremely effective prop, the Yamuna Foot Waker, which you can obtain via my website: www.bodybalancebykim.com
1.) Stimulate and work the Heel Bone - 3 Points to a healthier Heel Strike!
Make sure that your entire heel bone is connecting with the ground. Unfortunately we tend to loose portions of our heel bone (calcaneus) connecting with the ground while walking or standing. This sets up rigidity within the bone, perhaps even bone spurs from the body's natural reaction to want to heal the space on the heel which receives the most impact. The Achillis Tendon connects to the back of the heel and the plantar fascia connects in front of the heal bone. It's crucial to have your heel strike the ground fully and in a balance way in order to treat and release the Plantar Fascia. A movable and pliable Calcaneus is key to your success in permanently resolving pain!
2.) Mobilize the Joint in front of the Heel Bone!
It's crucial to have a gliding and sliding Heel Bone! Remember the Plantar Fascia attaches to the front of the heel, so this step is very important! Take a quick assessment, after step 1. You’re surely finding more contact with your entire heel bone (calcaneus) into the ground. Now while standing, take a look at the space in front of the heel bone. Take a look from the side. Is this tissue lifted from the ground? Can you slide a finger or pinky under this tissue in front of the heel on the outside of your foot? Chances are yes, and this sets you up for dysfunction, fusion of these two bones and a very angry Plantar Fascia attaching here!
3.) Stimulate the outside of your Feet!
Structurally speaking, the outside line is where you should be weight baring. Structure absolutely rules the function in the body, and if you're breaking down here, you're left with painful patterns in the foot, ankle, knee, and hip! Take another assessment...are you loosing the outside of your foot? Is the outside line "splaying out" and are you dropping through or falling through your arch? Your arch should be lifted and you should be weight baring on the solid bones meant to take the impact - on the outside line. It's like 'positive reinforcement' if your will. Work the outside line, and it will engage more into the ground, your arch will begin to lift up as it's not longer needed for balance once the outside line takes over!
4.) Ball of the foot! Create space in between the Metatarsals!
When we’re wearing narrow shoes or shoes for too long, the metatarsals lose space between them and the muscles attaching to these bones contract and shorten - and the Plantar Fascia is then affected. Narrowing in between these bones can also lead to a condition called, Morton’s Neuroma. (Morton's neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot.
5.) Lastly. The Toes! Contract/Relax stretching technique.
We will be using the PNF Hold/Relax Technique for the toes. This is when you first stretch, then isometric contract, then stretch further and gain a longer length by essentially tricking the nervous system. After a full contraction of muscle, there is a refractory period of time, when you can facilitate the relaxation of the muscle. By facilitating the relaxation of muscles we can improve circulation and improve extensibility of myofascial tissues, giving a true longer length. To accomplish this the muscle is placed in a stretched position, hold for a few seconds, then contract the the muscle fully without moving (also called isometric), such as pushing against the stretch without actually moving. This is when the reflex is triggered and there is a “6- to 10-second window” of opportunity for a beyond ‘normal’ stretch,” Black says. )Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF).
In order to fix any foot condition, you absolutely have to restore proper function and structure for the entire foot. Using band aid fixes, only treating the painful portion, splints and inserts will not restore function and so the painful pattern will always come back. Fix the whole foot and the issues go away, your performance is enhanced greatly, and many structural mal-alignments begin to balance out as your foundation is finally set, strong, functioning properly and aligned.
Cheers! And may we continue to heal ourselves of pain, increase performance in everything we do, take our power back, and become our own healer.
Plantar Fasciitis vs. Heel Spurs - An Informative Overview
A heel spur is a hook of bone that can form on the heel of the foot. Like plantar fasciitis, it can develop from long-term stress on your feet. People often assume that foot pain is caused by a heel spur, but this usually isn’t true. Heel spurs often cause no symptoms. According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), 1 in 10 people has a heel spur, but only 1 in 20 people with heel spurs experiences pain. Conversely, the Cleveland Clinic reports that 50 percent of people who have heel spurs feel pain because of the heel spur. Again, fixing the function of entire foot and ‘cleaning up’ around the heel bone will resolve this protective mechanism of the body. Sources & Educational Information:
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