Plantar Fasciitis: What is it? How to prevent it? Symptoms and exercises

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis or inflammation of the plantar fascia is a very common condition that affects a large number of people around the world and in Spain represents 10% of all foot pathologies that require treatment. This condition can be debilitating, limiting mobility and causing significant discomfort in daily activities. However, through the right approach and the use of specific tools, it is possible to manage and alleviate these symptoms effectively.

But what is the plantar fascia?

The plantar fascia is a very strong fibrous band that acts like a ligament and connects the heel bone to the toes, creating the arch of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that involves inflammation of this plantar fascia. This structure is essential to maintain the arch of the foot and absorb impact during walking and running. When subjected to excessive stress or inflammation, it can cause acute pain in the heel or bottom of the foot, especially when waking up in the morning or after prolonged periods of inactivity.

What can inflame the plantar fascia and what does it feel like when we suffer from this ailment?

There are many factors that can increase the risk of inflammation of the thick tissue of the sole of the foot (plantar fascia): Biomechanical overload, Foot deformities (flat feet, high plantar arch, tight Achilles tendon), Inappropriate footwear ( very restrictive, heavy, thick, inflexible, etc.) and other factors such as being overweight, spending many hours standing, etc.

Transition to Barefoot Footwear: Everything you need to know to do it right

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis

The main symptom is pain under the calcaneus and pronounced in the heel, especially with the first steps after getting up in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest. Although the pain can also extend along the bottom of the foot along the plantar fascia, often more intense towards the arch of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis may be accompanied by stiffness in the heel and sole of the foot, as well as tenderness to touch in the affected area. The pain tends to worsen during activities that involve standing or walking, especially on hard or uneven surfaces.

These symptoms can vary in intensity depending on the severity of the condition and can significantly interfere with the daily activities and quality of life of the affected person. It is important to seek proper treatment for plantar fasciitis to relieve pain and prevent long-term complications.

How can we help prevent this ailment?

Although our feet have been moving barefoot for thousands of years, in a recent period our society has begun to use footwear with excessive cushioning, restrictive designs, wedges or heels. These shoes have deformed, deteriorated and weakened the muscles of our lower extremities, weakening all supporting muscles, intrinsic cushioning and strength.

Strengthening our feet is key….

Recovering our strength in our stride, strengthening the area near the ankle to prevent all the weight from falling on a heel with weak muscles and having an impact on our natural shock absorber, which is the plantar fascia, requires making a gradual transition towards footwear that encourages a more natural footprint, accompanied by appropriate exercises to strengthen our feet.

Strategies to prevent plantar fasciitis:

Preventing plantar fasciitis involves taking proactive measures to reduce stress on the plantar fascia and promote overall foot health. Here are some strategies that can help prevent this ailment:

  • Use of appropriate footwear: Conventional footwear oppresses and deteriorates our feet by not allowing them to function correctly. On the contrary, barefoot or minimalist footwear allows a greater range of motion and a more natural posture, reduces tension on the plantar fascia and prevents injuries. By using it regularly, it promotes a more balanced distribution of the load on the feet, which contributes to overall foot health and can help prevent plantar fasciitis and pain in the bottom of the foot.
  • Foot Strengthening: Incorporate specific stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles of the feet and legs into your exercise routine. This can help improve the flexibility, stability and strength of the soft tissues and intrinsic muscles of the foot, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
  • Plantar flexion-extension , either with the foot in the air or on a curb, with the heel unsupported, on two feet and one foot.
  • Circular ankle movements , clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • Walking exaggerating the heel-toe gesture.
  • Walk on tiptoe , with the toes outward and also inward.
  • Walk on your heels, with the toes facing outwards and also inwards.
  • Standing, we slightly elevate one foot and do rapid flexion-extension, tapping the metatarsals on the floor.
  • Walk supporting only the metatarsals.
  • Running technique exercises , landing with the metatarsal and without touching the ground with the heel: pendulum swings, low skipping, high skipping, heels to the gluteus, etc.
  • Use of recovery tools: Incorporate the use of tools such as massage balls or foot activation mats into your foot care routine. These tools can help release tension in soft tissues, stimulate blood circulation and improve flexibility, thus contributing to the prevention of plantar fasciitis.
    • The massage ball can help release built-up tension, improve blood circulation, increase fascia flexibility and reduce pain. Keeping it pressed and rolling it forward, backward and from side to side will allow you to stimulate the dense, lethargic tissue and awaken the nerve endings on the sole of the foot.
    • In a complementary way, the use of the reactivation mat will also improve or prevent this pathology. It is composed of a textured surface with bumps and reliefs specifically designed to apply pressure to key points on the feet, which helps activate muscles, improve blood circulation and increase proprioception.

Conclusions:

In summary, plantar fasciitis and pain in the bottom of the foot can be debilitating conditions, but with the right approach and the use of specific tools such as barefoot shoes, massage ball and foot activation mat, it is possible to manage and relieve these symptoms effectively. On our website, we offer you a wide range of products designed to promote the health and well-being of your feet. Find out how we can help you!

Massage ball Activation mat

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