What Not To Do For Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of foot pain. The plantar fascia is a web like ligament that runs on the bottom of your foot, from the heel to the ball of your foot. Its purpose is to support the arch of the foot and to act as a shock absorber when pressure or weight is placed on the foot.
The plantar fascia endures a significant amount of wear and tear in your daily life. Typically, the cause of plantar fasciitis is long term standing or repetitive trauma such as running or jumping. These actions begin to stretch the fascia and result in inflammation of the tissue.
Typically, people with plantar fasciitis complain of pain at the bottom of the heel that can radiate into the middle of the bottom of the foot. It can develop in one or both feet. The pain usually develops gradually over a period of time. The pain can be sharp, dull or even a burning sensation. The pain is usually noticed in the morning when you take your first steps after getting out of bed.
What You Should Not Do For Plantar Fasciitis
When plantar fasciitis gets bad enough that you seek help, there are two things the average healthcare provider tells you to do. First, they prescribe a sleeping stretch boot and secondly they recomend stretching exercises. These are what you should not do! The fascia was not intended to be stretched. It is common for patients that see us for care, tell how uncomfortable and painful the boot and the stretching are.
Why You Should Not Stretch the Plantar Fascia
As stated earlier, the plantar fascia is designed to support the normal arch of the foot. When the bones of the foot are aligned properly, the tension of the fascia is normal (see figure 1).
One of the common problems with plantar fasciitis is a collapse to some degree of the normal arch (see figure 2). This loss of arch stretches the fascia and places it under greater tension. Then when you add the long periods of standing or the repetitive stress of running, puts more pressure on the fascia and can result in inflammation.
The boot for sleeping and common stretches further aggravate the condition and can cause more inflammation. So, do not stretch the plantar fascia!
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