Plantar fasciitis: Not a matter of arch support

 

You are having heel pain or discomfort in the arch of your foot. This can sometimes be due to a genetic defect, but this is rare--the exception, not the rule.

Often a new shoe with more arch support or support inserts are recommended.

We say, “I have flat feet.” But have we ever asked ourselves, “How did my feet become flat?”

If you were not born with pain in the feet, then the pain must have developed somehow. Let's look at how your muscle movement patterns can cause flat feet.

Many people wear shoes with some type of heel at work. Even athletic shoes have a higher heel-to-toe differential. This causes the calf muscle to be in a semi-contracted position constantly.

When a muscle is always in a shortened or contracted position, it will stay that way. This is called adaptive shortening. Remember, your body always thinks efficiency and adapts accordingly. As the calf tightens, it will cause the foot to turn out. Over time this will become more apparent.

Try this:

1.Take a few steps. Stop. Look at your feet. Are they VISUALLY straight?

2. Turn your feet visually straight, do they feel turned in?

3. With feet forward, squat down low. When you get your thighs parallel to the floor, did you have to turn your feet out? Did your heels elevate? See if you keep your feet straight and heels down. How hard is it to squat like this?

If you answered yes to any of the questions in numbers 2 and 3, you have tight calves and plantar faciaitis. Knee pain or back pain could be in your future--if they haven't shown up already.

"What does tight calves have to do with my foot pain?"

When you walk you will get some outward rotation of your feet. Instead of a light heel strike and rolling on the outside of your foot to the pads of your feet, you will heavy heel strike, which places all the pressure on the inside of your foot--the arch--causing repetitive stress on the plantar fascia. This will cause it to lengthen and weaken. The attachment point is on the heel, which explains the pain that is felt.

Meanwhile your foot is pointing outwards, but your knee is still going straight forward. This puts tremendous pressure on the inside of the knee. 

To remedy this, begin stretching your calf muscles and strengthening your anterior tibialis (your shin muscle). Make a conscious effort to walk with your feet straight.

In a short amount of time you will find a degree of natural relief. 

Yours in Health,

Brendan Ridings NASM CES

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