Have you ever felt all cozy in bed when you first wake up? Maybe you have a little tightness in your calves or feet, but no real pain? Even though you feel good and have many things to do that day, thus do need to get out of bed, you linger. Why? Because you know as soon as your feet touch the floor, they will hurt. Not the “ooo ooo ooo” hurt, but the “@#!*($ %)^~+?&” hurt. You walk like a duck, or frog, or anything to lessen the pain. After 5 – 10 minutes of sheer agony, it slowly ebbs away till you are walking almost normal again. You try to stay on your feet all day through the nearly tolerable pain that stays with you, knowing that as soon as you sit and rest, your feet will attack and you will have to start the morning frog walk all over again.
You have Planter Fasciitis. You have already gotten a diagnosis from a doctor. And you are trying ANYTHING.
This blog is a compilation of the things I have learned to date about this painful dysfunction.
Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue that surrounds the muscle and bone of your feet, holding your feet together under your skin. We have many layers of fascia in our feet, and you only need one to create a problem for you. The fascia is connected to our muscles, and it’s the natural pull of the muscles that squeeze healthy blood, oxygen, and other good stuff around the fascia. Fascia doesn’t have its own blood supply, there are no veins. So whenever you walk/run, stretch, or just massage your feet, you squeeze the good fluids around the fascia, thus nourishing them. When the tissue is inflamed, it thickens. When the tissue is too thick to allow the proper flow of fluid around itself, it gets inflamed. This cycle only gets worse until something stops it. The main cause I have found that starts the whole process is a trigger point in the back of the calf. Usually the trigger point is between 2 and 6 inches from the crease of the knee. The point could be more to one side than the other, or it could be very close to the center of the calf. When I find the point for the first time and press too hard on it, it usually takes away my breath. I instantly let go, and wait for the stars to clear, before I return (MUCH more gently) and massage it out. Since the inflamed fascia is connected to the muscles of your calves, when you have a knot in the muscle it pulls on the fascia. Pulling on the fascia tightens it and doesn’t allow for proper blood flow. Improper blood flow creates inflammation, and starts the cycle.
To stop the cycle of inflammation thickening the tissue causing more inflammation, I don’t touch my feet to the floor without tennis shoes. Not slippers or high heels, but tennis shoes. I tie my tennis shoes so that the laces are not over the top middle of my foot. They are laced once at the bottom and twice at the top, using the hole that is set back a little. Just like when we have tennis elbow and we put the brace snug around our forearm, tying your tennis shoes like this will create support at your ankle and heel while allowing a little extra space for the inflamed part of your foot.
Soaking my feet in an Epsom Salt bath helps too. I use at least a 1/2 cup of salt to a gallon of warm water. I like to use the plastic tub normally used to wash dishes in the kitchen sink. These tubs are usually wide and long enough for my feet to rest flat inside.
Rubbing my foot back and forth over a tennis ball hurts at the time, but feels better in the long run. The amount of pressure that should be used on the ball is determined by the amount of pain. DON’T WINCE!! Don’t press any harder on the ball than you can handle with even breathing.
I stretch my feet AND calves. Stretching the feet helps the flow of fluid through the tissues. Stretching my calves eases the trigger point that is “causing” the fasciitis. As with all my stretching suggestions, remember my stretching rules!