Heel and arch pain – A guide to less discomfort
Few things can be as bad as pain which occurs from time to time. Although warm-up is an essential thing which mustn’t be skipped, there are other situations which can prevent you to cover the distance which you have planned. Heel and arch pain can be bothersome, and while some will require you just to take five and continue, others will keep you derailed for some time.
One of the most often causes of this pain is the infamous Plantar Fasciitis, a condition which may occur no matter for how long you have been jogging. Therefore, in this article, I will try to make things clear when it comes to Plantar Fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Around 10% of humankind had suffered from this condition at least once in a lifetime. In simple words, Plantar Fasciitis is a disorder or a condition which manifests as pain in the heel and lower section of the foot. Other symptoms might include swelling, a sensation of tingling or numbness. In general, there shouldn’t be any fevers or similar additional symptoms following this disorder.
What characterizes Plantar Fasciitis is the time when the pain appears. Usually, first steps in the morning are the trigger of the pain, or when you try to lift the foot toward the shin. Also, if you are trying to walk after a more extended period of inactivity, this can cause the pain to appear as well.
In some cases, longer walks may cause discomfort and this condition. In most cases, the pain is “located” in the heel region of the foot, although it can appear along the internal section of the tread. Also, about 70% of cases of this condition are manifested as pain in one foot.
What causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Unfortunately, this question is not easy to answer. Plantar Fasciitis is not caused by just one factor; it would be closer to the truth to say that one or more elements can lead to this irritating and sharp pain. However, everything can come down to damage of the ligament which connects the toes of the foot and the heel. Since this area suffers a lot of pressure, people in these categories are at higher risk of suffering from Plantar Fasciitis:
- Obesity can lead to the appearance of this condition. Since the weight of the body is increased, the feet are suffering significant pressure, which can cause the mentioned ligament to tear.
- Athletes are spending a lot of time on foot, as well as soldiers and in general people who spend a lot of time standing. This puts additional stress on feet and can increase chances of getting this condition.
- Flat-footed people don’t have adequately developed the arch of the foot, which stresses the ligaments further because the weight of the body is not equally distributed.
- Calf muscles and Achilles tendons also influence if this condition will develop since they are “on the other side” of the heel. In case that calf muscles are not adequately formed or are tight, they will not support the weight they should, which results in appearing of pain.
- Improper shoes are one of the most common causes of this disorder. In general, shoes without supportive inlays should be avoided, because those can leave the arch ”hanging” in the air, and if this is paired with long time spent standing, the results can be devastating.
The micro-tearing of this ligament is not the worst thing that can happen. Since tiny cracks are appearing on the surface of the ligament, the microorganisms can penetrate the defense of the tendon which causes inflammation.
There are several trigger points for Plantar Fasciitis which you need to be aware of, so that identification and treatment of this condition will be successful.
How to treat Plantar Fasciitis?
Since there is no particular cause of this disorder, as we saw, there are a lot of things which can be done once the condition develops. Luckily, not all require you to do anything drastic, but rather to change some of your habits and routines.
In most of the cases, the pain will disappear during the day, but will most often return tomorrow. To avoid this, you can do several things. Here are some of the suggestions.
Wear proper shoes
Overall, shoes should fit like a glove (pun intended). For those you are wearing around the house, you can have some freedom, since you won’t be spending a lot of time with those on your feet. However, when it comes to running shoes, you must have zero tolerance. Therefore, the Best Brooks Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis were the subject of my article some time ago, so take a look at those, because they are carefully chosen to tackle this problem.
All of those are featuring superb cushioning, excellent arch support as well as tight hug of the foot. These factors are crucial in preventing Plantar Fasciitis from appearing.
Socks also matter
Many people forget about how important the choice of jogging socks is. Having good shoes will solve the majority of the problem, but why stressing the shoes, when the socks can improve the results further?
There is a particular type of socks which are specially made for preventing of Plantar Fasciitis. They have better support in the area surrounding the arch of the foot, and are tighter and keep the foot in place. Of course, the Best Socks For Plantar Fasciitis are those which are contributing both to preventing and treating this condition.
In case that you don’t have this kind of socks, you can always see how to wrap the foot for plantar fasciitis with an ace bandage, because this method can be even more suitable. Adjustment is entirely up to you, and bandages can be used for a more extended period, before losing their features.
Mixing things up a bit
Although this is another preventing principle, it is quite easy to understand and apply. The idea is that you need to take a look at what are you doing the most, and change routine a bit.
If you are spending a lot of time working in a sitting position, stand up, stretch and take a few rounds walking to grab a cup of coffee or fresh water once in a couple of hours. On the other hand, if you are more of a sports person, you shouldn’t push things too far. Take training regime seriously, and take a break exactly when it is needed. Recent research had shown that patients who practiced high-load strength training have better results in recovering from this condition.
Also, if you are standing a lot, see that you don’t spend a lot of time standing. Walking and overall movement is excellent for preventing Plantar Fasciitis from appearing.
Stretching and resting
In case that Plantar Fasciitis appears, the doctor will usually tell you that resting and stretching are essential in the process of regeneration. In truth, things are straightforward here, and you should always follow what the doctor tells you.
As I said, this condition is caused by micro-tearing of the muscle under the arch of the foot, and because of that, it takes time for it to recuperate and regenerate. Pausing with jogging for a few days, and applying cold bandages will help in healing process.
Stretching of the foot is also important because during this process the joints and ligaments will move and be active, improving the blood flow, thus accelerating healing rate. Of course, keep things light; pushing it too far might backfire, resulting in even more significant damage.
One of the easiest ways to relieve pain from this condition is by applying pressure, and to slowly massage the affected area. This increases the blood and oxygen flow through the area, which results in pain reduction. There is a method called graston technique plantar fasciitis where stainless steel instruments are used to relieve pain. Because of the usage of the tool, this way is far more precise and can deliver more significant relief.
Cases, where surgical procedure will be required, are rare. Since pain is an apparent symptom of Plantar Fasciitis, it is usually discovered early, and there is no need for extreme procedures. However, sometimes it is needed for a doctor to intervene, but luckily, the science had progressed much, and the chances of recuperation are high.
Heel and arch pain is something which is widely accepted by joggers that will happen. However, even though it is widespread, it doesn’t mean that it should be neglected. On the contrary, to prevent further and potentially permanent damage, you should visit the doctor. He will give you the best advice on what to do, and you should follow his advice.