Plantar fasciitis affects more than you may think

Two million Americans suffer with plantar fasciitis.

One out of ten people experience it in their lifetime, making it the most common cause of heel pain.

So what can you do to not only treat it, but prevent it?

We've got the answers.

American Podiatric Medical Association for Walking suggests, our feet average 115,000 miles of it in our lifetime, but with overuse, our feet can develop heel pain often caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the feet.

Christine Panagos, PT, SCS, CSCS board certified sports physical therapist level II adolescent sports rehabilitation providence sports care says, "For the first week or two they write it off and say this is going to get a little bit better and they'll stretch maybe, but usually the symptoms don't go away."

That's what happened to Michelle Mehr. She ruptured her planta fascia playing competitive ultimate frisbee and couldn't exercise for a year.

Michelle Mehr suffered with plantar fasciitis describes how she was unable to be active, "It was challenging for me. I don't like to be inactive."

Athletes like Michelle and people who are either overweight or stand for long periods of time are most prone to plantar fasciitis. Wearing old, worn out shoes is another culprit. Make sure to replace yours every three to six months.

Early intervention includes a good balancing and stretching program.

Here is two you can try at home. First, hip abduction.

Michelle Mehr, describes the hip abduction method, "So I'd have you do that quite a bit until your hip was on fire."

Next try clambshells. Stack your hips in a fetal position and raise.

Christine Panagos, PT, SCS, CSCS, a sports physical therapist describes the clambshells activity, "So we want to prevent that foot from rolling inward and that arch from collapsing."

If a stretching program doesn't help after 6 weeks, you may be referred to an Orthotist for custom made orthotics, that's what got Michelle back on track.

Before spending money on pricey custom made orthotics, experts recommend trying over the counter inserts first.

Another tip? Have someone look at how you're running to make sure you're not overpronating and putting yourself at risk.

Research Study

HEALING HEEL PAIN: PLANTAR FASCIITIS REPORT #1817

WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS? Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot gets inflamed. The foot tissue is called the plantar fascia; this tissue connects the heal bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. When the plantar fascia is overstretched, or over used it can make walking very painful. (SOURCE: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
SYMPTOMS: Most cases, the pain associated with plantar fasciitis:
· Develops gradually
· Affects just one foot, although it can occur in both feet at the same time
· Is triggered by - and is worst with - the first few steps after awakening, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or getting up from a seated position
· Feels like a stab in the heel of your foot
Source: The Mayo Clinic
TREATMENT: Stretching and strengthening exercises or use of specialized devices may provide symptom relief. These include:
· Physical therapy. A physical therapist can instruct you in a series of exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and to strengthen lower leg muscles, which stabilize your ankle and heel. A therapist may also teach you to apply athletic taping to support the bottom of your foot.
· Night splints. Your physical therapist or doctor may recommend wearing a splint that stretches your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep. This holds the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight and facilitates stretching.
· Orthotics. Your doctor may prescribe off-the-shelf or custom-fitted arch supports (orthotics) to help distribute pressure to your feet more evenly. (SOURCE: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)


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