In the previous blog, we talked about what causes Plantar Fasciitis and other foot conditions. This blog will cover how to resolve your foot pain. If you have not checked out part one of this blog series then go to our website to read all about it.
A major issue that is a common cause of foot pain is footwear. By changing this we can cause a long term decrease in your symptoms.
Firstly finding a shoe that has a very small heel and that has a wide toe box to allow your toes to sufficiently spread out. The less a shoe does to your foot, the better it is for your foot. Then as you walk during the day the muscles in your foot will strengthen.
There are lots of brands to choose from when picking a barefoot shoe for example Vivobarefoot, Bearfoot Athletics, Lems, Xero and Feelgrounds. Finding brands that blend foot function with fashion will help your transition.
If you do not wear barefoot shoes often then you may not be ready for a complete jump to barefoot shoes. For example, if you could not swim you would not jump in at the deep end straight away. The same applies to your feet. Slowly building your capacity through the foot will help to gradually build your strength and motion in the foot, reducing the chance of injury and discomfort.
Start off at one hour of being barefoot and then gradually increase the time spent each day by 20 minutes to help your transition.
Toe Extensor Stretch
It is common to stretch the plantar fascia. This is based on the idea that the tissues are tight and shortened. But because modern footwear actually lengthens the plantar fascia we should focus on the opposite side of the foot rather than stretching something that is already lengthened.
Start with a stretch to the toe extensors:
Pull one or both feet behind you and position the top of the foot on the ground.
Pull your heel back and towards the ground. This action should allow a good stretch to the top of your foot.
Hold this position for 30 seconds before relaxing. (It is common to get a cramp in the arch of your foot, the more you practice this stretch the better it will get).
Soft Tissue Mobilisation
A common fix for plantar fasciitis is rolling a ball under your foot, this is effective because when deep pressure is put into the plantar fascia, blood flow is stimulated. This can speed up healing and also act as temporary pain relief.
Find a small ball, either a golf ball or a sliotar and roll it slowly on the bottom of your foot. When you come to a painful point, hold this pressure for 20 seconds before moving off the area. Do this for 3-5 minutes and see if your symptoms are less than before.
Strengthening The Foot
Improving the strength of your foot should be a major factor in the rehabilitation of your foot injury. As mentioned earlier, just switching to a barefoot shoe can significantly increase the strength of the muscles in your foot.
But you may need to further foot strength can work on the small muscles of the foot.
The Toe Scrunch:
Place a small towel under your foot.
Slowly grasp the towel with your toes and pull it towards your heel.
Do this for 10 reps of 3 sets.
Strengthening the tight foot extensors (which are the muscles on the front of your shin) can also be beneficial to your foot pain. Moonwalks are an effective way to do this.
Do this exercise for 20-30 reps at a time.
Then when you have the ability to create a strong foot position you can progress to maintaining it while loading the foot. For example, squats and single-leg RDL’s without any shoes on will help create foot stability in multiple planes of motion as you will be constantly shifting your weight through the foot and forced to adapt.
If you suffer from foot pain or have any questions then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
Wearing high heels shoes can create a lot of problems when it comes to walking biomechanics which could cause injuries in your feet and further up your body into your hip and lower back.
What changes high heels make?
It creates a-lot of pressure in your big toe
It will reduce the ability to get a spring in your step because there is less tension in your calf due to it being in a shortened position.
You have to step higher to clear your foot off the ground and this can cause injuries to other areas of the body. The higher the heel, the higher you have to step.
With your heel raised the knee is moving forwards so there is more loading through your quadriceps and therefore more compression across the knee.
Whereas the people who use a low heeled shoe are more likely to put the foot under their centre of mass and use the muscles around the front of your lower leg as shock absorbers.
Simply put, if you run downhill you will feel like your knee is under more pressure. Therefore, if you wear high heeled shoes you are changing the biomechanics of your walking to affectively be always walking downhill.
High heel wearers moved with shorter, more forceful strides. This movement pattern continued even when they kicked off their heels and walked barefoot.
Try it yourself:
If you go up on your toes and take a few strides. It is very difficult it is to take a full stride and engage your glutes.
But, if the foot is flat on the floor with your toes extended it is much easier to engage your glutes.
So what can we learn?
If you wear high heels for a long period of time, your calf fibres could shorten and be put under much greater strain than if you do not wear high heels.
None the less, there is a bigger problem lurking and brewing underneath when heels are worn regularly.
Slowly and gradually the disuse of the muscles at the front of your lower leg will weaken and your calf will shorten. If left too long, it will result in tightness.
Exercises and rehabilitation
Instead of just stretching the calf and forcing the ankle into a position, the aim is to strengthen the front part of your lower leg.
First, bend the knee and lift the foot up with the leg bent. This will access lots of the required muscles. Then slide the foot forward and lower the leg. Repeat and slowly slide forwards.
Bend the knee, come onto your toes so the whole calf is engaged. Then lower the heel down but as you do this increase knee flexion while the toes are raised. Do this one leg at a time and slowly move backwards.
Do 2 minutes of each of these exercises every day. This is especially important if you are doing running as an exercise.
If you would like a full functional assessment or have any pains when exercising feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois