Dear Boys and Girls,
Taking up running has felt like...coming home. For the past two or three weeks I have repeatedly asked myself, Why did I stop participating in a sport that I loved so much.
Today I was reminded why: Plantar fasciitis. On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain I felt on my foot (first it was numbness, then it was sharp pain) was a definite ten.
Sigh. Will I be forced to quit? The very word quit is so contrary to my nature. I will Not go down without a fight!
In the past, I was too lazy to follow up with my stretches and exercises to relieve the foot pain. In all honesty, I fear that I will fall into the same non-compliance once again. But now I know that if I don't do my part, I will only have myself, not my foot, to blame.
What's different about now is that I know we have to find solutions to our problems. There will always be obstacles. Always.
So, I'm committing to doing my part. Off I go to do my stretches. Please, G*d, please, bring Barbie's feet some relief!
Your partner in health,
- Heel pain can be caused by stress placed on the plantar fascia ligament when it is stretched irregularly, which causes small tears and inflammation. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help the ligament become more flexible and can strengthen muscles that support the arch, in turn reducing stress on the ligament.
- Exercises for plantar fasciitis—when combined with other steps such as resting, avoiding activities that make heel pain worse, using shoe inserts, icing, or taking pain relievers—usually succeed in relieving heel pain.
- Exercises for plantar fasciitis may be especially helpful for reducing heel pain when you first get out of bed.
- If you have questions about how to do these exercises, or if your heel pain gets worse, talk to your doctor.
Towel Curl (Strengthening exercise)
- While sitting, place your foot on a towel on the floor and scrunch the towel toward you with your toes.
- Then, also using your toes, push the towel away from you.
- Make this exercise more challenging by placing a weighted object, such as a soup can, on the other end of the towel.
Stretching the plantar fascia and calf muscles can increase flexibility and decrease heel pain. You can do this exercise several times each day, and before and after activity.
- Stand on a step as shown above. Be sure to hold on to the banister.
- Slowly let your heels down over the edge of the step as you relax your calf muscles. You should feel a gentle stretch across the bottom of your foot and up the back of your leg to your knee.
- Hold the stretch about 15 to 30 seconds, then tighten your calf muscle a little to bring your heel back up to the level of the step. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
This exercise stretches the muscles at the back of the lower leg (the calf) and the Achilles tendon. Do this exercise 3 or 4 times a day, 5 days a week. To do this stretch:
- Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Put the leg you want to stretch about a step behind your other leg.
- Keeping your back heel on the floor, bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in the back leg.
- Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
- Place a rolled towel under the ball of your foot, holding the towel at both ends.
- Gently pull the towel toward you while keeping your knee straight.
- Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat 2 to 4 times.