What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis simply refers to inflammation of tissue (fascia) that covers the sole of the foot. This fascia covers every muscle, bone, joint and organ in the body, but in the case of plantar fasciitis it gets stressed by excessive stretching and becomes inflamed.
What Are The Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
The primary symptoms of plantar fasciitis are pain in the heel and pain on the bottom of the foot. One of the most common ways people know they may be developing plantar fasciitis is they experience pain on their first step, right when they get out of bed in the morning. This pain may get better as the day goes on or it can also get worse if you are frequently walking throughout the day. Going barefoot or wearing minimalist shoes will definitely aggravate plantar fasciitis.
Avoiding the problem
Typical management of plantar fasciitis is primitive at best. The first recommendation is to rest, stay off your feet and even wear night splints. If the above don’t work then often times a walking cast is prescribed.
Masking the Problem
If the problem is overstretching of the fascia, then masking the problem by not allowing the fascia to stretch is another traditional option. Things like orthotics, high arch shoes and heal cups are recommended often as a way to mitigate the problem. Many people are advised to never go without shoes. These remedies essentially just get rid of the natural function of the fascia and don’t let it perform its job. The misleading information using these treatments above, is that stretching fascia is the root problem, it is not.
Managing Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms
Next typical management recommends painkillers and ice. Both of these may temporarily reduce pain, but only temporarily hide the pain and with NSAIDs you are not only damaging your liver, intestinal tract and healing ability, you actually create a barrage of chronic inflammation and that perpetuates the problem. The longer you use NSAIDs, the worse the condition will get. (this goes for all tendonitis type issues also)
The problem with traditional plantar fasciitis management is that nobody ever stopped to ask why the fascia was inflamed or overstretched in the first place. Its not natural to have constant foot pain and its not natural to have excessive inflammation.
I propose we need to ask better question such as;
- Why is there excessive inflammation?
- We all have fascia, so what protects asymptomatic people from having their fascia overstretched?
- What normal process is no longer working?
Answering these questions answers many of the questions as to why plantar fasciitis treatments often fail. The key is actually asking better questions and not just accepting treatments aimed at masking symptoms.
Part 2 will cover the root causes of plantar fasciitis as well as natural treatment of plantar fasciitis and what you can do at home to treat yourself.