THIS CONDITION IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF HEEL PAIN. Your plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue originating on the bottom surface of the heel bone and extending along the sole of the foot towards the toes. Your plantar fascia acts as a passive limitation to the over flattening of your arch. When your plantar fascia develops micro tears, or becomes inflamed it is known as planta fasciitis.
Sharp pain or deep ache in middle of the heel or along the arch of the foot
Morning hobble as foot recovers from bed time position
Pain fades when warmed up
Neglect to stretch properly
Overdo hill or speed work
Biomechanical issue of flat feet or high arches
Running on hard surfaces
Training with extra weight gained
Injury to the planta fascia
What to do:
Acute Pain Stage - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. At this stage, some anti-inflammatory creams and medications like Traumeel, turmeric based medication and or food. Keniesiotape can be very helpful and relieving.
Management – This can heal using a combination of therapy approaches and rest. Remedial Massagecan be amazing for this injury. Muscles in the legs and even in the pelvic region can be playing a role with the planta fascia. The shoes you wear or do not wear can play a role. Seeing an exercise physiologist can help or getting some really good leg stretches happening on a regular basis. It is great to understand how the calf, thigh and hip muscles can all effect the foot arch and it's functioning. Rolling a golf ball or spikey ball under your foot is also a great way to manage it.
Returning to exercise –Firstly, look at shoes. Shoes need to have good foot ache support. Even look at the shoes you are wearing when you are not exercising. Run on soft surfaces like grass not roads and hard surfaces and do your stretches and warming up exercises. Look at running techniques that suit your strength and help prevention of injury. If you usually run on your balls of your feet look at heel running or better still flat foot running. Speak to a running coach at this point so they can improve your style and technique.
GREAT STRETCHES TO HELP PLANTA FASCIA
Strengthens the tendons in your heels and calf muscles, which support your arch. To Do: Raise up on the balls of your feet as high as possible. Slowly lower down. Do three sets of 10 reps. Progress to doing the raises on stairs (with heels hanging off), and then to single-leg raises.
Improves flexibility in your Achilles tendon and calf—when these areas become tight, the arch gets painfully overloaded. To Do: Stand at the edge of a step, toes on step, heels hanging off. Lower your heels down, past the step, then raise back up to the start position. Do three sets of 10 reps.
Works the arch muscles and the tibialis posterior (in the calf and foot) to control excess pronation. To Do: While standing, press your toes downward into the ground while keeping the heel planted, so that your foot forms an arch (or dome). Release, and do three sets of 10 reps on each foot.
Toe Spread and Squeeze
Targets the interossei muscles of the foot, which support the arch. To Do: While sitting, loop a small resistance band around your toes. Spread toes; release. Then place a toe separator (used at nail salons) in between toes. Squeeze toes in; release. Do three sets of 10 reps of each exercise on both feet.
Works the toe-flexor muscles that run along your arch to increase overall foot strength. To Do: Lay a small hand towel on the floor, and place one foot on the towel. Using just your toes, scrunch the towel toward you, hold, then slowly push the towel away from you back to start position. Do three sets of 10 reps on each foot.
ref: Runners world. Ringwood running club, Victorian Athletics League