Lee Avery

Plantar Fasciitis. What is it and how you can help yourself.

Posted by Lee Avery Hypnotherapist 269 Days Ago

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is quite common and affects 1:10 people. It is a painful condition in the foot often caused by repetitive strain to the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous connective tissue which runs from under the foot from heel to toes. It functions as a type of shock absorber to the foot when moving, walking, or running. However, it's quite rigid. If too much traction is put on the plantar fascia, "trauma" such as an accident or "over-doing it" may result in micro-tears of the fascia. These micro-tears result in inflammation and pain. Plantar Fasciitis however can result in pain throughout the whole body not just the foot.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is most seen in people with poor foot biomechanics that put stress on the plantar fascia. Flat feet, weak foot arches and over-pronation are common causes due to over-stretching of the plantar fascia.

Common risk factors include:

Activity - Sports such as running, walking or dance that place stress on the heel bone and attached tissue increase the risk of plantar fasciitis, especially if the intensity of exercise is increased.

Extended standing or on-feet - Activities or jobs that require a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces can lead to stress and fatigue of foot muscles.

Weight and pregnancy - Additional weight, even through latter stages of pregnancy, increases strain and stress on plantar fascia.

Flat feet, over-pronation - Arches are the foot's shock absorber. With lack of arch, or arches that are weak and/or over-pronate, additional strain is placed on the plantar fascia, which absorbs the force.

Shoes with poor support - Shoes that provide no support put strain on the plantar fascia. Ballet flats, converse sneakers and flip-flops are not good for feet. All these shoes are thin-soles and provide no arch support. High heels can also encourage the Achilles tendon to shorten, adding additional strain on heel tissue.

What are the symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis usually causes pain in the heel of the foot. For some, it may be felt in the arch area or other parts of the sole of the foot, although heel pain is most common location. The heel may also have mild swelling. The pain tends to be worse in the mornings or after resting. The first few steps out of bed can feel intense, like a knife sticking into the bottom of the foot but improves with activity as feet warm up. For many, pain may also be felt after long periods of standing or starting to move after being seated for a time. For those doing sport, the heel pain usually makes itself known after exercise, but not normally during. 

Things you can do to help Plantar Fasciitis. 

  • Wear good shoes that give you arch support and have shock absorption.
  • Try shoe inserts which help to cushion the foot.
  • Put some ice on your heel in order to reduce the inflammation.
  • Rest your feet.
  • Reduce or stop the activities which have caused it.
  • Do some simple stretching exercises, such as towel stretches, calf stretches and toe raises.
  • Do not use heat.
  • Get your biomechanics checked by a professional.
  • If you are overweight, lose weight. It decreases the stress you put on your feet, by being heavy. If standing up is part of your daily job, then losing weight is one of the most effective things you can do to cure your plantar fasciitis and to prevent future occurrences of it.
  • Have Bowen Therapy.

How does Bowen Therapy Help Plantar Fasciitis?

People often suffer with pain or injuries in their feet due to problems elsewhere in their body. Bowen Therapy treats the body as a whole and I have been delighted with the results of the clients I have treated with Plantar Fasciitis. With foot mechanics being the primary cause of plantar fasciitis, helping the foot back into alignment is a key goal of any treatment. That's how Bowen helps plantar fasciitis - between the ice for the symptoms, and the stretching for maintenance. Bowen helps bring the entire body into balance. When the pelvis, legs and feet are helped back into alignment, gait is improved, and the plantar fascia is not re-injured. Feet are often the victim of a culprit elsewhere in the body. Pelvic misalignment through impact of the lumbar spine, short hip flexors or tight hamstrings may all play a part in how legs move. Knee and ankle alignment further influences how the feet land, and the amount of strain felt by the sole and the arch. Being totally pain free after one treatment however is unlikely especially if the plantar fasciitis has been a problem for a while. It may need a few treatments with time and exercises to help the body learn and maintain a new posture. Walking that "feels different" with the change to alignment and gait, needs to start to "feel normal", so the feet can remain pain free.