In our continuing series on injuries that can happen when you start your exercise program too quickly or you suddenly increase your activity or intensity.
This week we look at plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is one of those conditions that you hear about frequently. But do you know what it is?
The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot that connects the heel to the toes. The plantar fascia’s role is to support the arch of your foot.
There are various ways that you can irritate the plantar fascia. One of them is when you suddenly change your activity level. The sudden change does not allow the band to build up strength. Without the strength to do its job, the tissue will get irritated, swollen, and it can develop small tears.
How do I know when I have plantar fasciitis?
The telltale sign of plantar fasciitis is heel pain. At first, it may be that your heel will hurt when you first get up in the morning or first get up after sitting for a period of time. The pain may only last for a few minutes but then start to get worse as time goes by if you ignore it. You may also notice heel pain when you stand for long periods of time or climb stairs.
The pain is due to the stretching of the plantar fascia. When you are sleeping, the foot is in a positon where the plantar fascia is at rest. When you get up in the morning, the plantar fascia is stretched and if it is inflamed, it will cause pain until it is sufficiently stretched out.
What do I do about plantar fasciitis?
The main cure for plantar fasciitis is rest. You may need to stay off your feet for a few days so that the tissue can recover. Taking some over the counter ibuprofen may be of some help.
If you do that and it does not help or if you feel you need relief faster, then it is time to go see your friendly local podiatrist. The doctor will ask you about your physical activity, when the pain started, and examine your foot. An x-ray your foot may be done to make sure that you do not have a stress fracture.
It may be that the doctor recommends that you have custom orthotics made to help cushion your heel. If you have high arches or flat feet, orthotics can be very helpful.
The doctor may also suggest that you go to physical therapy. Besides teaching you stretching exercises, there are other therapies that they can do to help you.
How long does it last?
Depending upon how long you have been putting up with the damage, it can take time to heal. You need to be prepared to rest and then rest some more. If you start back too soon or you start back too quickly, you will just be back out of commission again fast. You need to take your time getting back from plantar fasciitis. This is a good time to develop a good cross training exercise like swimming. Talk to your doctor about alternative exercises and when you can start them.
In summary, plantar fasciitis can take you out of activities if you are not careful. Make sure you build up your activity level and intensity so that you don’t end up sidelined! Next week will be the last in this series on injuries that can happen when you start your exercise program too quickly. See you then!
The Foot Blogger Chick
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