Intense foot pain first thing in the morning? Like stepping on pins.
Plantar Fasciopathy (aka Plantar Fasciitis) is a common cause of foot pain. It is often seen in people who spend a lot of time standing– eg Police officers, nurses etc and it is equally common in active or sedentary people. The typical description is that the first few steps on getting out of bed are like stepping on drawing pins.
Anatomy of Plantar Fascia
The plantar fascia is the tough connective tissue on the sole of the foot. Think of it as the bow string on an archery bow which adds tension to the arch but allows the arch some flexibility. This is exactly how the foot works and our bony arch is the body’s first line of shock absorption.
What causes Intense foot pain?
Repeated micro tears to the fascia have been identified as being the cause of plantar fasciitis, although inflammation is thought to have a key role.
You are more likely to be at risk injuring your plantar fascia and causing intense foot pain
- are overweight as this will result in extra strain over your heel
- have a tight Achilles tendon (the large tendon at the bottom of your calf muscles above your heel). This can restrict the flexion in your ankle and put you at higher risk of damaging your plantar fascia.
- have flat feet (pronate) or a high arch
- wear shoes with weak arch supports and thin soles
- Are in an occupation that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces for long periods
- Suddenly start exercising or increase the intensity of your exercise too quickly
- Have legs of uneven lengths
How can Intense foot pain be treated?
While in many cases plantar fasciitis will resolve itself over a few weeks or months, chronic cases of plantar fasciitis can reoccur and become difficult to treat fully. This can impact daily life and seriously curtail activities and exercise you may enjoy and be used to.
The recommended protocol for plantar fascia is a combination of stretching and strengthening to rebuild and support the damaged tissue, with strengthening being the most important factor in the long term. Here are some tips for helping strengthen the plantar fascia.
- Do calf raises. The calf muscle is continuous into the plantar fascia therefore strengthening the calf will strengthen the plantar fascia.
- Do the exercises very slowly. Slow is the best way to keep strengthening exercises safe. Slow means you don’t have to deal with extra forces generated by momentum in the exercise.
- Feel the burn. Unless you do enough exercise to feel burn in the muscle, at least twice a week, you will not get stronger over time. (NB This is true of any strengthening exercise)
- 1 day on 2 days off. If you are pushing the muscle hard enough to feel the burn you need to give it time to recover. Every day will overload it.
If you don’t notice an improvement within a couple of weeks or things get worse speak to a professional.
Are you in a lot of pain and want to get better as soon as possible? If so then why not book in for a consultation with same day, hands on treatment for relief.