Plantar fascia may not be a term you hear every day, but it is important when it comes to foot health. According to Healthline, more than 50 percent of Americans suffer from foot pain, and that pain is most commonly associated with damage to the plantar fascia, a thin ligament that connects the heel to the front of your foot. This condition is called plantar fasciitis.
Repetitive motion and weight gain are usually the leading culprits when a person develops plantar fasciitis. The condition is common among athletes, pregnant women and those whose work requires long periods of time on their feet, because the constant movement and pressure from added weight leads to inflammation and pain. However, you can take a few actions to prevent and treat plantar fasciitis.
TREATMENTS The overall best thing you can do if you suffer from plantar fasciitis is to incorporate effective stretching to help loosen the tight muscles that aggravate the condition.
Seated Exercises Seated exercises are both helpful and achievable by most people. Heathline offers the following exercises for seated stretching:
1. Roll your foot over a water bottle or similarly shaped object for one minute per foot.
2. Cross one leg over the other and pull upward on your big toe. Hold this position for 15 seconds, release and repeat three times, before alternating to the other foot.
3. Use a folded towel to mimic an exercise strap. Place the towel under the arch of your foot and gently pull upward so that your foot is stretched in front of you. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat three times.
Calf Stretches Stretching your calves can also promote heel health. Simply extend your leg in a lunge-like movement and hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat three times per leg.
PREVENTION Stretching also works as a preventative for plantar fasciitis, but there are other considerations as well. WebMD suggests the following options:
Maintain a Healthy Weight A healthy weight will ensure that you are not putting unnecessary pressure on your body and especially your feet.
Exercise Regularly Regular exercise will help your body stay at a healthy weight and properly stretch muscles and joints. This will reduce the chances of the ligaments in your feet becoming too tight.
Ensure Proper Support Shoes are important. Proper support means that your feet are kept in a safe position. Going barefoot or wearing poorly constructed shoes puts added stress on your heels and feet.
Take it Easy You should always try to take it easy on your feet. Allow your feet to rest, and alternate between activities so that your heels and feet are not being subjected to repetitive movement for an extended period.
Start Slowly Always take time to warm up your body before exercise or other activity. Jumping into excessive movement can lead to injury.
Your foot health matters. If you suspect that you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, do not ignore it. Seek medical advice before changing your exercise or diet plan.