Nothing is worse than waking up to a pain in your heel. If you find your heel hurting when you first get out of bed, walking a long distance, or even after sitting for a while, then you may have Plantar Fasciitis. According to “Heelthatpain.com” 10% of the total population may experience it during their lifetime. The article stated that the annual cost is between $192-376 million. That is a lot of cash and a lot of people. How do you get plantar fasciitis and can you get rid of it?
Plantar fasciitis has many different kinds of remedies as we will discuss in this article. Most only work minimally due to the misunderstanding of the cause of plantar fasciitis. The most common treatments are orthotic inserts and dorsi-flexion night splints. These do not even work 50% of the time and the inserts can cost upward of $400 a set. That is a pretty low bar for that much money. “Heelthatpain.com” reported that in a study of 250 people wearing orthotic inserts for 12 weeks, the pain only reduced about 37%. On average, they reported that the inserts and night splints reduced the pain by 47%. That is pretty low results. When you are in pain, that is very low odds.
In the August 2012 edition of the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, the average time for plantar fasciitis to heal was between 6-18 months. That is a long time! This article talked night splints and orthotics as well. It also spoke of heel cups, injections, and surgery as possible treatments. Ouch! that is not good!
There is one problem with these findings. The pain is not caused by the heel or arch of foot, that is the symptom. The pain is caused by the upper calves. The calves will tighten from walking with short strides, not using your toes to push, and wearing shoes with too much support. To be fair the article in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences did say that the calves could be at fault, however the calf stretches that were discussed were not a calf stretch but an Achilles tendon stretch. Which again points the cause at the foot! Let me explain.
In each of your caves there are 4 muscles that control the foot. The outside and inside calf muscles determine if you walk on the outside or inside of your foot, supination and pronation if you will. The 2 middle calf muscles, Gastrocs and Soleus controls the flexibility of the ankle up and down. Each of these muscles attach to the arch of your foot. As in the NIH article, leaning against the wall with one leg extended behind you does not stretch the calf, only the Achilles tendon. If you had Achilles tendonitis that would be great! Dropping your heel off a curb, step, or board does not stretch the calves either and it can tighten the calf when you get off each of these, which is not what you need.
Find a yoga strap, rope, or anything that is not stretchy like rubber bands to stretch. Sit on the floor with your back against the wall to keep your back at 90 degrees to your leg. Place the rope around the ball of the foot of the extended leg. Using only your hands, do not use your leg muscles, gently pull your toes back toward you and breathe out, Only hold for 3-4 seconds, so not to resist from the brain. Repeat 8-10 times. You should feel the pull behind your knee. Now rotate your foot outward and repeat. You will feel this on the inside of the calf. Finally repeat with your toes rotated inward. You will feel this on the outside of the calf. Make sure to do both legs, even if only one heel hurts.
The brain is important because of the emotional side of your muscles. Once you feel the pain, your brain will anticipate the pain and contract trying to stop the pain. This will make the pain worse. Remember to pull gently and breathe out as you feel your muscles stretching from start to finish. Once your brain can see the pain improving, it will let go emotionally and you can stop the pain within 5-10 days depending on the severity of the pain.
Final thought, use a golf ball on the arch of your foot. The arch will be tight because it has been fighting with your calves. Place the ball on the floor, press down but do not roll the ball on your arch. You are looking for sore spots. Press gently and when you find one, maintain the pressure, thenbreathe and release. This should be more relaxing as the pain subsides. Do this every morning and evening until the pain stops, then go out and have fun!