When plantar fasciitis flares up, it limits your ability to enjoy life! In this article, I share the surprisingly simple plantar fasciitis solution that works
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue in the foot used during walking and foot movement. It is a tricky type of pain because it typically goes away when you walk and then shows up as soon as you put your foot on the floor in the morning.
This disconnect between the cause and the pain makes this a condition that can take a while to heal. When pain occurs at the time of injury, like an ankle sprain or back spasm, it makes you stop. Since plantar fasciitis pain goes away when you move, it's easy to do too much, too soon only to find out that you did hours later.
The Plantar Fasciitis Solution: treat the root cause
The first step is to find the root cause of the inflammation. One of the most common causes is too much of one type of repetitive weight-bearing exericse such as walking. Walking is simple, free, and most people can do it. It’s great exercise, but it’s not the only type your body needs. It also needs mobility and strength and functions best when you do all three regularly and mindfully.
Mobility - freedom of movement of all joints in the body
Strength - ability to move against gravity with confidence, not strain
Stamina - ability to move for longer periods of time without getting tired and needing to stop
Overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis flare up when your body is not getting the balance of these three types of exercise it needs to function well.
So, the first step to take, before you take another step, is to
Meet yourself where you are with presence and kindness. Accept the fact that although you don't have pain, you can still have inflammation. Take a break from walking while you level up the other two types of exercise.
Restore the muscle memory to move well. When you practice these moves mindfully, your brain and body remember this key skill you are born with to move with the greatest strength and least strain.
Start doing mindful stretching for your whole body. It's all connected, so stretching all parts of your body will help reduce inflammation. Mindful stretching ensures you are listening to your body and doing it in a way that feels like a ‘thank you’. Do this several times a day, especially before bed. Include stretches for your foot but do them in a pain-free range.
Gradually add mindful functional strength exercises every other day. This type of exercise is essential for aging well, and allows you to enjoy exercising without adding to the inflammation in your foot.
Before you start walking again, take time to find the right shoes. Then start with the shortest duration possible and see how you feel the next day. Alternate walking with your strength days so your body has time to recover.
Gradually increase the frequency, duration, and intensity to the amount your body needs for stamina. That is only three times a week for thirty minutes. Once you have worked your way up to that amount, consider carefully whether more is better for your well-being or not.
Consult a physical therapist if the pain does not start to resolve after applying this root-cause treatment.
The most important ingredient here is trust. Trust the pain as your guide. Trust that your body wants to heal. Trust that your body needs a balance of three types of exercise/movement and when you balance them, and progress at the rate your body can adapt, plantar fasciitis (and many other forms of exercise-related) pain resolves.
If you would like professional guidance, click here to join Exercising Well, and together we will get you back to enjoying pain-free movement and whole-person health.