Whether you frequently walk to work, attend running sessions in the park, or just enjoy taking a stroll with the kids, if pain occurs in the foot it can become not just impossible to ignore, but excruciating.
There are various causes for foot pain but one of the most common is called Plantar Fasciitis. The Plantar Fascia is a band of tissue that extends from the heel of the foot towards the toes. Its purpose is to support the arch of the foot, absorbing the shock of when you walk. If tension and stress on the tissue become too great, small tears can occur in the fascia which then leads to irritation and inflammation.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis are a stabbing pain in the foot that usually occurs with the first few steps of the morning. In many cases, as you get up and move about the pain can subside. The potential for pain during the day exists however and is usually brought about by long periods of standing, or equally when standing up and moving about after an extended period of being seated.
Risk factors that can lead to Plantar Fasciitis are:
- Footwear: Flat feet, a high arch, or even an abnormal walking pattern can affect the way weight and the stress is distributed across the foot.
- Tight muscles: The muscles of the posterior leg are interconnected (e.g the calves and hamstrings) and thus can transmit tension and pain all the way down into the foot.
- Age: 40-60-year-olds are reported as the most common age group to suffer Plantar Fasciitis. In part this is because the tissue in the foot begins to lose elasticity at this point in our lives whilst we are relatively still active.
- Occupation: Anyone who spends extended periods of the day standing (e.g. health care professionals, teachers, hospitality workers), particularly on more ‘unforgiving’ floor surfaces.
- Obesity: Extra pounds translates to extra stress on the Plantar Fascia, heightening the risk of inflammation.
So what self-help options are there to relieve the pain?
- Change your footwear, or use an orthotic insert, to provide more support for the arch of the foot and thus help spread the weight and stress more evenly
- Roll out the bottom of the foot with a lacrosse or tennis ball (or even a sturdy water bottle) for 1-2 minutes each day. This will help to work into and soften and stretch, the Planta Fascia.
- Additionally, foam roll the calves and hamstrings. Spend a few minutes each day on both groups of muscles by using a good roller at different angles to ensure you cover the full length of the muscle. This is a great self-myofascial release technique that focuses on loosening and breaking up tension in the tissue.
- A sports massage of the plantar fascia and the surrounding muscles of the lower leg is also a really effective way of relieving the tension and the pain. In addition, a simple regime of stretching and strengthening can go a long way in preventing the recurrence of pain and this is something that your therapist can guide you through.
At Lymm Osteopathic Practice, our patient journey and processes have been fully adapted to comply with new health and safety measure upon guidance from the UK government to keep everyone safe. Deep tissue and sports massages are now available with Jason.