What is plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is located in the sole of the foot and helps support the arch. When the foot is pressed on the ground and supporting body weight it extends to its full length. Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation that occurs when the plantar fascia has been stretched too far.
What can cause it?
Flat feet, high arches, poorly fitting footwear, increased weight, or a sudden increase in activity can lead to this condition.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include tenderness on the inside of the heel, pain in the morning or upon standing after resting for a long time, pain after or during activity, and pain when the foot is at rest.
How do I treat and prevent it?
To help relieve the pain, plan more rest in your daily routine, wear proper footwear including orthotics if required, ice your heels to decrease inflammation, and perform foot stretches in the morning as well as before and after activities that require you to be on your feet for extended periods of time. Stretches should be held for at least 30 seconds without bouncing. Stretches include:
- Calf stretch: Stand with your right leg back and straight behind you and heel down. Move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Switch legs and repeat.
- Foot stretch: While sitting, grasp your toes and gently pull them toward you until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot. Stretch one foot at a time.
- Arch strengthening: Place a towel on the floor, grab the towel with your toes and pull it toward you. Repeat with your other foot.
(Download the PDF file to see pictures of the stretches)