The name may sound mysterious, the experience isn't. Millions of people undergo any number of the following on a daily basis: a pain in their heel the moment their foot hits the ground in the morning; tenderness in the heel and arch area; pain in the heel or arch area after taking the first few steps following a long period of sitting; discomfort and throbbing in the heel and arch area after long periods of standing.
What It Is
Plantar fasciitis is painful inflammation of the heel and bottom surface of the foot. It is generally caused by overstretching of the fibrous tissue (fascia) that connects the heel to the forefoot.
Breaking the injury cycle requires an overall approach, examining critical elements such as postural alignment, biomechanics, musculoskeletal balance, correct footwear and training.
In addition to working on larger corrections in your posture, stride, strength and flexibility, here are a few specific tools to help you get on your road to recovery:
Bend the knee of your exercising leg. Place your hands under your metatarsal heads and toes. Flex your top arch and toes toward you. Move until your natural end range of motion. Gently assist with your hand as you continue to move. Return to start position. Exhale as you flex your toes and arch toward you. Inhale as you return to start position. Repeat for two sets of 8-10 repetitions.
Assume the same starting position as your "reset" exercise--bending the knee of your exercising leg. Place your hands under your metatarsal heads and toes. Extend your toes and top arch toward the ground. Resist with a gentle pressure with your hand resting on the top of your foot. Exhale as you move. Inhale as you return to start position. Repeat for two sets of 8-10 repetitions. Increase resistance with your hand as you get stronger and your body adapts and adjusts to the exercise.
While seated, cross your affected leg over your opposite thigh or bend your knee. Using your thumb or fingers start applying a very gentle pressure between the inside of your heel and inside anklebone. Because your fascia may already be inflamed, go slowly, allowing your thumb or fingers to be taken into the distorted tissue. You can use a muscle salve or a more adhesive substance for a better grip. Take the time to allow the micro bundles of your facial fibers to unwind at their own pace.