Plantar fasciitis typically presents as a sharp pain at the heel – particularly after laying in bed all night. Although the pain can persist longer than that, it will generally get better throughout the day and then back to pain the next morning.
Reduce the dependency of supportive shoes
The first recommendation for plantar fasciitis is to wear shoes that support the arch of your foot. The reason this helps is because the most common driver is a weak or “dropped” arch in the foot. The arch of your foot has the same advantage of arch bridges in architecture. The bones in your feet are allowed to distribute force evenly through the foot and less stress through the fascia.
The muscle in charge of supporting the arch is called the posterior tibialis. Additionally, the gastroc and soleus (calf muscles) are very important to support proper function of the foot. Fatigue is the most common cause of any injury. Fatigue results from that muscle doing too much too quick (over worked) or too little too long (deconditioning / out of shape) leading to fatigue then “injury.”
In the case of doing too little – we spend too much time in overly supportive shoes and decondition a muscle that we are dependent on any time we are upright.
The solution to this is to start spending less time in those shoes and start working on spending time barefoot or in minimalist shoes.
Minimalist Shoe Favorites
In the case of doing too much – athletes over-work this very resilient muscle to the point of failure. This isn’t nearly as common as the former, but the fix remains the same.
Manual Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis
Before taking that first step out of bed in the morning work on the inside of your shin bone. Aim somewhat deep behind the shin bone where the posterior tibialis muscle lives. Exercise caution and see a professional if you have a history of blood clots or other cardiovascular issues as you may exacerbate those problems.
Next start to work on the inside of the calf looking for “knots” or “trigger points” throughout. Again, try taking that first step. Work your way out to the outer portions of the calf and see if that makes a difference. Apply deep pressure for around 15 seconds in each spot you find. They will be sore.
Try stepping out of bed between working on each muscle to determine which muscle was the primary issue for you as this can differ between people.
Do NOT’s for Plantar Fasciitis
- Roll out the fascia: If pushing where it hurt worked then we wouldn’t have difficult chronic pain patients. Treat the cause and fix the dysfunction.
- Wear or rely completely Orthotics, Supportive, or “Corrective Shoes”: They can be used as a crutch as you rehab, but will make you even more dependent on them over time.