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What is Plantar Fasciitis?

by MASS4D® Insoles

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot pain especially in the arch and heel. While majority of people suffering from this condition know what it does, it’s also useful to know how it happens and what you can do to avoid it.

The plantar fascia ligament is a thick, elastic band that is located on the bottom side of your foot. Its main function is to provide your foot stability and support so it’s able to sufficiently absorb upward ground pressure created during walking or running.

Any stress or irritation to this ligament causes problems in the way it functions – this is felt as heel or arch pain, which worsens especially while taking the first few steps out of bed in the morning, or standing after long periods of rest.

Plantar Fasciitis: A Common Source of Foot Pain
Plantar fasciitis is often felt as pain either in the arch or heel.
You may experience a sharp, stabbing or shooting pain gradually in one foot or both. Some people even complain of stiffness in the heel, making it particularly difficult to exercise or play sports.

How flat feet lead to plantar fascitiis 

Foot posture plays a significant role in the development of plantar fasciitis. This is because of improper movement patterns that can eventually cause inflammation of the plantar fascia.

The Windlass Mechanism helps to describe the reaction of the plantar fascia as the foot arch collapses.

When the arch collapses, the plantar fascia either attempts to prevent or correct it. This is known as the windlass which refers to tightening of a rope-like structure as the plantar fascia tightens and pulls from the origin and insertion point.

The arch collapses because the plantar fascia does not have the sufficient strength to balance both the upward ground section forces and the downward bodyweight force.

Flat Feet

The plantar fascia, however, continues to contract, pulling on the origin and insertion points. Over time, chronic spasms, inflammation, and repetitive stress can damage the plantar fascia and also lead to the development of a heel spur.

It is likely that you may decide to go to the clinic when the heel spur starts to form as it causes severe pain.

A heel spur is an abnormal bony formation that is caused by repeated stress/trauma. It occurs at or near the point where the plantar fascia ligament attaches to the heel bone.

Pain can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, may cause difficulty during physical activities such as walking, running or playing sports.

It is common for patients to confuse heel spurs with plantar fasciitis, since both conditions cause similar symptoms.

Know the other risk factors 

Obese or overweight individuals tend to be at a higher risk of having foot pain because of excess weight on the feet. This leads to flattening of the foot arch over time which adds stress on the ligament in the foot, making it inflamed in the process.

This is why pregnant women often complain of pain in their feet, especially in the later stages of their pregnancy.

In addition to the weight gain, a pregnant woman also experiences various hormonal changes throughout the three trimesters. For instance, the hormone relaxin is released in greater amounts during the last trimester.

This makes the ligaments more flexible in order to prepare the pelvis for delivery. However, relaxin causes ligaments in the feet to relax as well, including the plantar fascia. When combined with the additional weight, this increases the chances of developing plantar fasciitis.

Another reason why people have plantar fasciitis is because of spending too much time on their feet. As is the case with waiters or sales professionals who are required to constantly walk or stand for long hours.

Standing Long Hours

Hard flooring made out of tile, wood or concrete can take a toll on flat feet as it only raises the pressure placed on both feet. It is not uncommon for people with standing jobs to also complain of muscle fatigue, back pain, and leg swelling.

If you’re actively involved in long-distance running which repeatedly puts pressure on the heel, you may start feeling pain in your heel and arch over a period of time especially if you have weak foot posture.

The risk of this type of foot pain becomes more with training errors such as sudden increases in training intensity or incorrect form.

There is also a possibility of developing overuse injuries because of postural misalignments caused by flat feet; the unhealthy movement of the feet leads to repeated strain on the ankles, knees, back and hips.

Since ageing can lead to weakening of the arch muscles over time, this also increases your chances of developing foot posture problems and as a result, plantar fasciitis.

For example, the ligaments and tendons in the foot and ankle may not stretch and contract normally, causing loss of elasticity. If the plantar fascia ligament, that runs through the bottom of the foot, loses elasticity, it may not be able to support the foot arch properly.

This could cause the foot arch to collapse under bodyweight, which can create tension on the plantar fascia ligament.

Foot Pain Relief, Injury Prevention, Better Posture and Sports Performance in One Insole     know more

How do I protect myself 

Once you have identified the risk factors, you can take appropriate measures either to minimise or avoid them completely.

Practising a healthy lifestyle that includes clean eating and exercising can help in keeping any extra weight off your body and feet. This should be useful in managing weight-related health problems and foot conditions.

Pregnant women can choose to opt for specialised footwear with a pair of ready-to-wear insoles to provide them relief from plantar fasciitis pain during their pregnancy.

Ideally, you should avoid wearing shoes with heels until your body has fully recovered after delivery. Go for flat shoes with wider heels at work, and opt for loafers at home. Wide and low footwear options will help in weight distribution and accommodate inflammation in your feet.

The same is true of people involved in professions which keep them on their feet for extended periods of time.

It would help to stretch out your calf, hip and hamstring muscles between breaks to relieve muscle tension. You should try and use short breaks to relax your lower body by sitting. Additionally, alternate between standing and sitting in order to alleviate the stress on your feet.

Apart from pacing yourself while running or training, it would be worth getting your feet evaluated for weakened or elevated arches. This way, you can manage foot posture problems before starting a new fitness programme.

You can also receive physiotherapist-recommended exercises to strengthen problem areas and improve running form. Generally, exercises such as towel scrunch, towel stretch, stairway calf stretch, straight leg lifts, and quad stretch can be beneficial for the feet and legs.

Calf Stretch

To protect yourself from foot problems brought about with age, you can invest in a pair of insoles that are designed to provide optimal support to your feet throughout the day.

This type of support is helpful in preventing common foot conditions which can otherwise make it difficult for you to perform even the most basic movements in your daily routine.

Movement is a key preventative strategy for not only foot problems, but many other health issues. Incorporating appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises, active living and healthy eating can provide numerous benefits for overall health.

MASS4D® Insoles can help foot posture problems 

There’s a simple test you can perform to find out whether you have foot posture problems. Stand in front of a mirror and check the height of your arches. Do they look unusually flat or high?

If they do, visit a foot specialist who can examine your feet in detail to determine the extent and severity of your condition.

It is necessary to treat bad foot posture because if left untreated, your feet can become vulnerable to a number of problems, including plantar fasciitis.

Moreover, with your feet acting as the foundation of your whole body, there is a negative effect on overall movement, leading to problems in body posture.

This is why people with foot posture problems often complain of pain in their knees, hips or lower back.

One way of treating unhealthy arches is to practice strengthening and stretching exercises that can help relieve plantar fasciitis pain while building strength in your arches.

For example, rolling a golf ball under your arches for five minutes can help in stimulating blood flow and easing foot pain.

Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis

Additionally, investing in a pair of insoles would be a good idea to stabilise your arches and to encourage proper foot movement.

When your feet move in a healthy manner, there is less pressure placed on the ligament in the foot which gives it time to heal and recover.

You will also notice visual improvements in posture which helps reduce stress in problem-prone areas of the body – the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.

MASS4D® insoles play an important role in supporting good foot health to protect you from foot and lower body conditions. Order your pair of ready-to-wear foot insoles today.

Foot Pain Relief, Injury Prevention, Better Posture and Sports Performance in One Insole     know more

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