The infamous ’jogger’s heel’ or plantar fasciitis is a very common disorder that causes many people to feel pain in the heel and sole of the foot. Everyone puts too much stress on their feet from time to time – whether it’s standing for long periods, going overboard on the exercise, wearing the wrong footwear or gaining weight, these can all responsible for discomfort. We share our effective tips that you can use to help soothe the pain.
What is plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the underneath the foot, from heel bone to toes. Its tough, resilient structure helps it maintain the arch of the foot, absorb shock for the entire leg and stabilise the metatarsal joints during impact with the ground. Plantar fasciitis is the clinical term for when the tissue becomes damaged.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
Pain tends to start gradually, often just in the heel, but can sometimes be felt along the whole plantar fascia. Symptoms are normally worse in the morning and mostly after, rather than during an activity.
What are the symptom triggers?
Plantar fasciitis can develop in people who spend a long time on their feet, either standing, walking, or practicing sport that involve a lot running and jumping. People with high arches or those with very flat feet can also develop pain in this region.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
In addition to physiology, other risk factors include:
- Regularly participating in activities like running, basketball, tennis, step aerobics and dancing.
- Working in environments that require spending much of the day on your feet.
- Running on hard ground and undertaking hill training.
- Wearing worn out trainers that no longer support feet from hard impact.
- Pregnancy which causes temporary weight gain and hormonal muscle relaxants – causing flat feet.
- A burst of activity after a period of inactivity.
Top tips for avoiding and managing plantar fasciitis
Self-treatment initially involves offloading pressure from the plantar fascia by:
- Avoiding exercise on a hard surface, and resting the foot as much as possible.
- Regularly stretching the calf.
- Changing your footwear so they are appropriate for your foot type, running style and purpose.
- Losing weight if you are overweight.
- Wearing shoes with a medium heel (up to 3 cm) – avoid going barefoot or wearing flat shoes.
- Putting an ice pack or bag of frozen peas under the heel for up to 20 minutes every few hours.
If the above tips don’t work, or that you’re in a lot of pain and discomfort, or finding it difficult to walk, please contact your local healthcare professional for further medical advice. If your foot is a funny shape, there has been a snap, grinding or popping noise at the time of injury please contact you healthcare professional immediately.
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