Plantar Fasciitis and foot pain are common sources of frustration. Foot pain affects running, walking, weight lifting, and jumping. STANDING is even painful when pain is bad. That first step in the morning feels like a knife driving through the bottom of your foot. Foot pain can contribute to knee pain, hip pain, and back pain.
It is common that movement seems to help, but too much time on your feet also hurts. Foot pain is a complex issue that is inconsistent. And it's annoying!
But the complexity is why the foot is so fascinating! Despite the complexity, there are certain techniques that I have found to be successful. The video above will begin to teach you how to fix Plantar Fasciitis and other foot pain.
Because even though foot pain can be frustrating, it is fixable.
This video starts to explain some of the exercises and muscle releases we use to help fix Plantar Fasciitis and other foot pain at NorCal Physiotherapy. "Starts to explain" because foot pain is complex and needs more than just an exercise video to resolve.
What can cause pain in the arch and the bottom of the foot?
Many structures in the bottom of the foot can cause pain - muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and bones. Muscles can overwork. Joints can be stiff. Ligaments become strained. Nerves become irritated. Rather than just blindly diagnosing foot pain as Plantar Fasciitis, a thorough assessment should be completed to target which structure is the underlying cause of foot pain.
What is the Plantar Fascia?
The Plantar Fascia is a strong band of connective tissue on the bottom of your foot. The Plantar Fascia has two jobs. First, it helps support the longitudinal arch of your foot - the middle part of your foot between the heel and the toes that "arches" up. Second, the Plantar Fascia helps with load and force absorption - as your foot hits the ground, the arch collapses a bit, stretching the Plantar Fascia which acts as a spring.
Foot muscles that can contribute to foot pain
There are a lot of muscles that act on the foot. The muscles that we are most interested in while working on the foot are the small muscles in the foot. These muscles help control ankle stability, provide arch support, and move the toes. Therefore, exercises for Plantar Fasciitis and foot pain should be very specific to these muscles.
These muscles, if you care to know, include the Quadratus Plantae, Abductor Hallilcus, and Flexor Digitorum Brevis.
Foot and ankle joints that cause foot pain
Joints of the foot and ankle can cause pain just as muscles can cause pain. Joints can become too stiff or too mobile. When a joint is stiff, it causes restricted mobility in that area. These joints are typically the Talocrural joint and the 1st Metatarsal Phalangeal joint. When mobility is limited, the joints can become painful.
When mobility is limited, the movement has to come from somewhere - tightness in one region will need compensations and more mobility from other regions. This commonly happens to the Tarsometatarsal joints (Naviculo-Cuneiform joint). This excessive movement forces the surrounding muscles to work harder to stabilize the region and can cause irritation.
Exercises to resolve foot pain
Treatment and exercise for Plantar Fasciitis should focus directly on the structures that are affected. For self-treatment, it is best to begin with a muscular approach. It is hard to mobilize your own foot and ankle correctly; it is much easier to release and retrain the muscles of the foot with specific exercises. These exercises, as shown in the video above, should target the small muscles in the bottom of the foot.
The video above will show you a great place to start for not only Plantar Fasciitis pain, but also other sources of pain in the bottom of the foot.
The focus of this video is to teach a self-release of the muscles in the foot and then show how to improve muscle activation and control of the muscles of the foot.
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