Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common recurring tendonitis injuries that active people will have to deal with. Often times, the reason why the plantar fascia keeps getting inflamed and the symptoms keep coming back is due to the fact that we never truly treat the cause of the pain rather just the source of the pain. In this video, I’m going to show you what is really causing your heel pain so you can finally fix it forever.
First, it helps to understand the role of the plantar fascia. The real job of this tough structure is to support your arch in standing. It runs from the calcaneus or heel distally towards the tendon sheaths of the toes. Essentially, it spans the entire arch and can be felt if you strum across this area with your thumb. For those that have inflammation of the fascia, you feel a distinct knife-life stabbing pain in your heel when you take a step (especially in the morning).
The reason the symptoms are particularly worst in the morning is that the plantar fascia has had a chance to shorten and tighten up a bit over night with your foot remaining in a plantar flexed position mostly from the covers pulling your ankle down. Even later in the day however, the pain is obvious and it prevents those that suffer from it from walking, running or competing normally.
The problem is that people often times will seek out treatment for their plantar fasciitis and be left with either no resolution to the problem or worse, they feel slightly better but the pain comes back quickly. This is because doing nothing but ultrasounding, rubbing, massaging or rolling a lacrosse ball on the arch is not getting at the real problem. You are simply attacking the symptom and not the cause. So let’s get to the cause.
Most of the time, if you test your calf flexibility on the side of pain and determine that you have calf tightness then you definitely want to fix that since that is almost always the cause of same sided pain. The problem is however, doing a traditional hanging standing calf stretch off the stairs is not going to fix this pain. Instead, you need to realize that the pain is coming from the inability of the foot to maintain a rigid position at the time you lift your heel off the ground to propel your body. It is maintaining an everted heel with a loose midfoot which creates an unstable foot to try and press off of. This will result in an enormous amount of stress being shifted to the fascia to do something it is not equipped to do.
So if you want to stretch your calf you have to place the foot back in the position you are struggling to maintain. This is shown in three different ways in the video. Now, if the pain you are getting is coming from a side that does not exhibit calf tightness then you would want to look to the opposite side glute medius for weakness or a lack of thoracic extension or rotation to that side.
When the glute medium is weak on the opposite hip you get a dropping of the hip on that side. This forces the opposite foot (the one you are having the pain on) into pronation and creates an unstable foot once again. Either way, regardless of what the cause is you can see that it has nothing to do with the foot itself and everything to do with the joints above like the ankle, hip or spine.
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