By Rehan Iqbal
If you're active in any sport or exercise regularly, you rely on the healthy use of your feet whenever you engage in your preferred activity. Unfortunately, this can lead to a nagging injury known as plantar fasciitis. The challenges associated with this condition include limited range of motion, intense pain in the heel (especially in the morning), and general soreness.
Thankfully, this issue generally clears up on its own. However, without warning, it tends to return with fury - worse than times prior. If you're prone to plantar fasciitis, it's important to find a quality physician to help you stay on top of this injury to avoid the worst side effects and chronic issues.
Plantar Fasciitis At a Glance
Inside your foot, hundreds of miniature bones, ligaments, and tendons make up the anatomy of this appendage, allowing you to walk, run, stand up, ride a bike - you get the idea. One of the most vital components in your foot is the plantar fascia, the ligament that attaches your heel bone to the front portion of your foot.
When the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, plantar fasciitis is usually the result. It's one of the leading reasons people experience heel pain, trouble walking, and general foot discomfort. If the injury is related to overuse, you'll experience small tears throughout this tissue. The inflammation is a reaction to these tears to protect the ligament.
It's this inflammation that leads to a stabbing, knife-like pain in the foot. This pain is the most common in the morning or after you've rested for an extended period.
Being Aware of the Signs
The pain we mentioned around your heel is the most commonly experienced side effect of plantar fasciitis. Overuse perpetuates this, and it varies in intensity. Other symptoms of this condition include:
The pain caused by plantar fasciitis lasts anywhere from several weeks to several months. Your pain level depends heavily on how severe the condition is and the position the rest of your foot is in.
In rare cases, pain is experienced in the toes. Calf muscles tighten, but this isn't a direct product of plantar fasciitis. However, the tighter your calf muscles are the more pressure put on the ligament, intensifying the pain.
Causes of Plantar Fasciitis Flareups After Recovery
Flareups of the plantar fascia are common, even after experiencing a recovery. These are the most common factors that trigger future irritation of the plantar fascia
- 1Introducing the Body to a New Activity
Finding new exercises to work into your regimen isn't a bad thing. However, new activities can trigger a flare-up of plantar fasciitis. It would help if you gave yourself plenty of time to get used to new movements or exercises, allowing yourself plenty of time to acclimate to new fitness plans.
Normally, the body is not being used to the new movement that causes the pain. However, in some cases, it's the actual exercise that leads to the irritation.
Whenever you take on any new exercises or activities, always wear shoes that support the foot and ankle. Avoid anything that doesn't include shoes or any activities that require jumping or another jarring of the feet.
- 2Taking Activities Up a Notch
When running or walking is a regular activity, the intensity of your regimen can irritate plantar fasciitis. For example, if you're used to walking and you begin sprinting, the additional strain is likely to aggravate your condition.
Take on your physical activities in small amounts and use preventative tactics. Be sure to stretch before any rigorous activity. Use ice on your feet prior to and after participating in your normal workout. As time goes on, slowly increase your intensity.
- 3Gaining Weight
Sudden weight gain is one of the more common driving factors for plantar fasciitis. Regardless of whether it's muscle weight, body fat, pregnancy pounds, or any other form of additional mass, it puts extra strain on the ligaments in your feet.
This might cause plantar fasciitis for the first time or cause subsequent episodes after healing. The best course of action when weight triggers new irritation is to think about dropping a few pounds. In studies, patients who lost weight recovered from plantar fasciitis 90% of the time. If you're not in a position to lose weight, resting the feet and keeping them elevated may bring relief.
- 4Calf Muscles Tightening
The calf muscles connect directly with the ligaments and tendons to help us move. This includes the plantar fascia. During physical therapy, patients have shown improved plantar fasciitis after stretching their calf muscles. This helps support the arch in your foot and improves your mobility.
- 5A New Pair of Shoes
Attempting to wear a new pair of shoes your body isn't used to will cause plantar fasciitis. If they don't deliver support to your arches required to avoid irritation, this alters your patterns as you take steps. Only purchase shoes that feel comfortable when you attempt walking or jogging in them.
Always try them on and perform different types of motion in them to ensure they provide the stability you need to stay comfortable. When you first begin wearing them, keep your workout intensity to a minimum while you break the shoes in.
Remember, you can always add support by purchasing additional inserts or new padding. It's critical that you have proper support and stability at all times.
Any additional injury or strain directly to or in the vicinity of the plantar fascia will trigger flare-ups. Tendon aggravation in the general vicinity, especially the Achilles, will cause reinjury to the plantar fascia. In some cases, injuries as minor as sprained ankles will cause additional flare-ups after you've experienced healing.
It's important to take care of injuries as soon as they happen. This lowers the risks of injuring related parts of the body and complicating your situation.
- 7Worn Out Shoes
If you have old shoes, you'll also increase your chances of re-insuring the plantar fascia. Inspect your shoes often to check their quality, ensuring they're in proper condition for use daily or during exercise.
Look over the treads of your shoes, especially if you participate in high-impact activities like running, basketball, or anything similar. Obviously, the more you use your shoes, the faster they're going to break down.
How to Avoid Plantar Fasciitis Flare-Ups
Plantar fasciitis will return at any given time without warning. If you're not active in keeping this area of the foot engaged, chances are high that you'll experience re-injury. Use the following tips to help you avoid a return of inflammation and pain:
Purchasing custom shoes will help keep plantar fasciitis at bay. Make sure you purchase shoes that are crafted to support your weight. They should provide stability on all sides, in addition to having an ample amount of padding that supports your arches.
Keep them tied tight so they fit snuggly to your feet but ensure that you don't over-tighten. Remember, break them in before you work out at an extremely high level.
Stretch on a regular basis to avoid future aggravation. Be sure to eliminate any tightness before exercise, even if it means extended warm-up periods. Alternating hot and cold after intense physical activity will avoid sudden re-injuries to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other similar areas.
Night splints are one of the most effective ways of battling plantar fasciitis. These keep the tissue outstretched while you rest, ensuring your foot remains flexible after you wake. This delivers the proper support needed to keep the pain at bay.
Nothing helps more than plain old rest. Avoiding overuse, especially when you've first recovered from the injury, will help avoid further complications. Even in the future, after intense activity, be sure you get sufficient rest before lacing up again.
Listen to Your Doctor
Nobody knows your anatomy as well as your primary physician. If you trust your doctor, listen to their recommendations for treatment and avoid reinjury. This is especially true if you've used the same physician for a long period.
They're more familiar with the history of your injuries and know more or less what your body can and can't take and what procedures, if any, were performed on the area. Listen to them if they recommend a particular series of stretches or exercises.
If you begin a particular regimen or physical therapy, remain consistent in your efforts. Don't stray from your typical range of motion or intensity unless you slowly phase in these changes. Sudden disturbances of hard changes in your routine will cause aggravation
Be Sure to Keep the Right Tools
Keeping the right tools on hand helps you avoid re-insuring the plantar fascia. When you injure this area and begin healing, you'll need a specific set of items to help you keep the area stable. Use the following list to help acquire the right healing elements:
Now that you're aware of how to aggravate the plantar fascia after you've healed, along with ways to avoid subsequent injury, your recovery time will hopefully be much shorter. Remember, second and third injuries are always more severe and happen much easier. These incidents must be avoided at all costs.