Should I stay off my feet with plantar fasciitis?
If you've ever experienced plantar fasciitis, you know how irritating and impactful it can be on your everyday life. And when it comes to what aggravates plantar fasciitis - It makes any kind of physical activity you do difficult, your shoes hurt, and the simplest things become a chore - like walking or running or just standing on hard concrete! It can be such a drag, many people wonder if they should just stay off their feet and let it heal.
It is always good to give injuries time to heal and remove any direct impact to the injured area... but let's face it, giving up standing and walking isn't exactly practical. And if you try and walk without putting pressure on your heel, every chance you create a mis-alignment in your knee or hip and experience referred pain and injury there! The best approach is to address the source of plantar fasciitis... and that is exactly what we are going to show you how to do in the post.
What exactly is plantar fasciitis?
It's inflammation of the thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia that connects the heel bone to the toes. The inflamed tissue runs across the bottom of the foot. The most common symptom felt is a stabbing pain near the heal.
At Bendable Body we often say 'you can't feel your fascia'... but with plantar fasciitis is it the fascial band that is inflamed and putting pressure and strain on the heel. The most common treatments our there include physical therapy, shoe inserts, steroid injections, and surgery.
There are also a lot of traditional stretches out there - foot stretches for plantar fasciitis, calf stretches for plantar fasciitis, the plantar fasciitis 'towel stretch' and plantar fasciitis achilles tendon stretches. These stretches which go directly into your heel and where you are experiencing the pain can give temporary relief, but what we know at Bendable Body is that if you don't address the source, you never truly get rid of the problem.
What is the fastest way to cure plantar fasciitis?
You may be asking at this point, what is the source of plantar fasciitis.
The medial hamstring which attaches at the base of the pelvis and below the knee on the inside of the lower leg is at the root of your plantar fasciitis. You can do heel stretches for plantar fasciitis all day long, but if you don't address the health of your medial hamstring, you won't be able to get rid of it for good.
It's important to note, because of where the medial hamstring attaches in your body, if you are experiencing plantar fasciitis you also may experience hip or knee pain. And the stretches we are going to show you will help with that too.
Here's why stretching the medial hamstring (with resistance to improve the fascia health in that muscle) has such an impact on your arch and heel.
It has to do with the meridian system according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Meridians are electrical currents running through your body that are not visible to the human eye but which Chinese Medicine doctors can affect through needling and palpating. Your physical, physiological and emotional health can all be accessed through this vast meridian system running through your body. The pancreas meridian in particular runs through the medial hamstring and into the heel and arch of the foot. So when you improve the health of the medial hamstring through stretching, you impact the entire meridian and fascial plan that goes all the way into the foot... the exact location of plantar fasciitis in other words.
So you can do stretches for plantar fasciitis in heel all day long if you like, but if you really want to remove the root cause, remove some of the dense accumulated fascia in your medial hamstring. Another really common approach to solving plantar fasciitis that we aren't big fan of are arch supports for your shoes. Your arch is like a bridge. And what does a bridge do? It supports huge amounts of weight coming down onto the arch of the bridge. Now just imagine adding a support under a bridge. What would that do? It would weaken the physics of the entire structure. The same thing happens in your body when you introduce a support from below the arch - it weakens your body.
How to stretch plantar fasciitis
The best way to impact plantar fasciitis is to do stretches with resistance for the medial hamstring. When you remove the unhealthy fascia from the medial hamstring, that muscle group works better and takes pressure off of the foot where you are feeling the symptom of plantar fasciitis. It's really common for pain and injury to show up in the extremities because the large muscles up higher in the body stopped working and doing their job long ago. So areas like the hands and feet in the case of plantar fasciitis are over working and eventually experience wear and tear and injury. The solution is to stretch those bigger muscles and address the root cause.