Plantar Fasciitis is characterised as a soreness towards the front of the heel and/or underside of the foot, with the first steps after waking up in the morning. Sometimes too sore to put full pressure down until it warms up. Then as the day progresses the discomfort dissipates and goes away (not always in severe cases). For this reason it is often something that people experience but can live with day to day. Runners and athletes of all levels are among the people that most commonly experience plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is the band of connective tissue (ligament) joining your heel to your toes, supporting your arch. It is the heel attachment that most commonly becomes inflamed and irritated, from strain on the fascia. While resting, our muscles and fascia slightly shorten which is why pain is more prevalent in the morning or after sitting for long periods.
So what can you do and how can Myotherapy help with Plantar Fasciitis?
Tightness in the calf is a common cause of tension through the underside of the foot. Loosening off your calf/s is a good start to overcoming plantar fasciitis but don’t expect it to happen overnight. It can take months (longer in some cases) to settle down. Strengthening and stretching you calf is the aim of the exercises that are usually prescribed by your Myotherapist.
There are 4 exercises/stretches that can help:
1. Calf Stretch (straight knee and bent knee)
Stand facing a wall with arms out straight. Put your right foot forward and left foot back. Keep you left knee straight and lean into the wall putting your left calf on stretch. Hold for 20 secs. Modify the stretch with a bent left knee to target the soleus muscle. Hold for 20 sec then switch legs
2. Plantar Fascia Myofascial Release
Place the affected foot on a ball (golf, massage, hockey etc.) or frozen water bottle with as much downward pressure as you can handle. Slowly move the ball along your plantar fasciaabout 1-2mm/breath. This can be quite painful so back off the pressure if it is too sore or you are feeling light headed.
3. Heel Raises (off the edge of a step) with towel under your toes.
Standing with your heel/s hanging over the edge of a step. Place a small rolled up towel underneath your toes. Slowly lower your heel below the step height and then slowly raise your heel as high as you can. It is important to control the down as much as the up. Try not to rest at the top and bottom to maintain maximum tension on the muscle-tendon unit. Do up to 2 sets of 12 repititions every other day.
Massage is a great tool to loosen off tight muscles and fascia, especially in the calfs. If you are self massaging make it once a day.
Remember to always consult a Health Professional before trying any of these exercises, to make sure they are suitable for you.
If you or someone you know thinks they might need help with plantar fasciitis you can book an appointment by calling 03 5248 7321 or by using our Online Booking System.