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Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions known. It’s responsible for 11%-15% of all the foot symptoms requiring professional care among adults.

Fortunately, it usually very well treatable with the right exercises.

A few simple stretching exercises can make a big difference in the pain you’re experiencing, especially in the morning.

And here I will show you exactly which exercises you should do and why for fast pain relief.

I’ll also show you what is causing your plantar fasciitis and how you solve the different other causes.

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So if you want to properly treat your pain I would advise you to keep reading.

  1. What is plantar fasciitis?
  2. What are plantar fasciitis symptoms?
  3. How to diagnose plantar fasciitis?
  4. What is the difference between the heel spur and plantar fasciitis?
  5. What causes plantar fasciitis?
  6. Plantar fasciitis treatment with 4 exercises
  7. What can I do to prevent plantar fasciitis to occur?
  8. Plantar fasciitis surgery

What is plantar fasciitis?

plantar fasciitisPlantar fasciitis is an inflammation of your plantar fascia. Your plantar fascia runs from your calcaneus or heel bone to the ball of your foot.

It’s a tendon plate that is important for weight bearing. It carries about 14% of the total weight on your foot.

When it is overused, it can get damaged. Your body will try to repair this damage with an inflammatory reaction.

The signs of this inflammatory reaction are:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Heat
  • Reduced mobility

Not all these symptoms have to be present but usually swelling, pain and reduced mobility are present. The swelling of the plantar fascia can only be measured through ultrasound examination.

What are plantar fasciitis symptoms?

There are a few plantar fasciitis symptoms that are very specific. These symptoms usually start during walking or running for a long period of time. In the end, the pain under your foot starts to occur.

As the injury progresses, symptoms start earlier over time. When the symptoms are at most worse, pain is always present. The following symptoms will always be present in severe plantar fasciitis:

The first one is the location of the pain. The location of the pain is always the same and always at the same spot in.

You can see the location of the pain on the picture above.

If there is no pain at that specific location it’s safe to say that you don’t have plantar fasciitis. When this happens you should search for a different cause for your pain.

The location of the pain is always at the front side of your heel bone under your foot at the medial or inner side. It’s at one specific point and doesn’t radiate. It feels like a sharp pain.

The second very specific symptom is a pain in the morning. You will feel the most pain in the morning when you get out of bed. At this moment your foot has been resting for 8 hours. This results in stiffening of your plantar fascia. The stiffness causes more pain. When you walked around a bit or stretched a bit, the pain will disappear.

Also pain during walking or running for a longer period of time causes more pain under your foot. This is caused by overusing your foot by doing this. This results in more damage and therefore more pain.

Lastly, when it hurts more to walk barefoot than to walk with shoes, this is an indication for plantar fasciitis. When you walk barefoot you put more pressure on your plantar fascia. This also results in more damage causing more pain.

How to diagnose plantar fasciitis?

To properly diagnose plantar fasciitis several things are important.

First, the specific symptoms described above have to be present. If your symptoms are different it’s safe to say that you don’t have plantar fasciitis but a different foot problem.

In addition to the symptoms, the history of the injury has to fit in. This means that the pain started slowly, first only at the end of a long walk or run. As the injury progresses, the pain starts earlier and earlier until it’s always present.ultrasound plantar fasciitis

Finally, an ultrasound image can confirm the actual swelling of the plantar fascia that is characteristic for plantar fasciitis.

If you only have either the symptoms without the swelling or the swelling without the symptoms, the plantar fascia is not the problem. A swollen fascia can be present without producing symptoms.

In order to be able to understand this, it’s good to know that the image doesn’t always tell the whole story. There are dozens of examples where an ultrasound image shows a tear in a muscle or a tendon without any symptoms. On the other hand, there can be symptoms without anything showing in the image. That’s why you have to look at the image and the symptoms combined.

A misdiagnosis can lead to unnecessary long treatment with little results. A very good example is a heel spur or calcaneal spur that might be found on an ultrasound image. That is something completely different and often has nothing to do with your symptoms. I’ll explain right now why.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

It is typically caused by overuse of the foot. The overuse caused the damage of the plantar fascia. There are actually 5 factors that can cause the overuse of your plantar fascia.

I’ll explain why they have such a big impact on your plantar fascia and later I will show you how you can use this knowledge for your treatment.

Being overweight

Being overweight is one of the biggest risks for developing pain under your foot. As I mentioned before, your plantar fascia carries about 14% of your total weight. This means that the bigger your weight, the bigger the load your foot have to carry.

When this load is bigger than your plantar fascia can handle, it will get damaged. Research shows that being overweight increases your risk by 5,6%.

Standing for a long period of time

The same research shows that standing for a long period of time increases your risk by 3,6%. This is because a lower load can also cause damage if it is applied for a long period of time.

Flat Feet

Another study shows that having flat feet increases your risk for developing plantar fasciitis.

When you have flat feet, your plantar fascia is more stretched. This applies a higher load, causing damage.

Weak Calf muscles

Another big factor is weak calf muscles. Unfortunately, there is not much research done examining the link between weak calf muscles and plantar fasciitis. However, in my experience, everyone with plantar fasciitis has weak calf muscles. Because of the lack of research, I can’t say if the weak calf muscles are caused by the plantar fasciitis or that it’s the other way around. What I do know is that it is something we have to address and treat.

Weak calf muscles can also cause calf muscle pain.

Reduced dorsiflexion

The last risk factor is reduced dorsiflexion of your ankle joint. This means that you’re unable to lift up your foot far enough.

dorsiflexion ankleResearch shows that people with 0 degrees dorsiflexion have a 23,3% higher chance of developing plantar fasciitis then those with 10 degrees dorsiflexion.

The amount of dorsiflexion is measured from a neutral position. The neutral position of the ankle is when your foot and lower leg are in a 90 degrees angle. This is for instance when you’re in standing position.

Healthy people are able to make about 20 degrees of dorsiflexion in the ankle joint.

Now you know the most common causes for developing plantar fasciitis, it’s time to learn why this causes plantar fasciitis.

To fully understand this, you first have to know the anatomy of the lower leg.

First, on the back of your lower leg, you have your calf muscles. Your calf muscles are connected to your heel bone through your Achilles tendon. Right after your Achilles tendon starts your plantar fascia. Around your plantar fascia, you have several foot muscles. These 5 structures form a chain that is very important during walking:

• Calf muscles
• Achilles tendon
• Heel bone
• Plantar fascia
• Little foot muscles

When one of these structures don’t function properly pain will start to develop. That is because more pressure will be applied on the end of the chain, which is your plantar fascia.

This also explains the risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis. Short and tens calf muscle reduce the dorsiflexion of your ankle, along with reduced mobility of your heel bone. This increases the load on your plantar fascia.

When your little foot muscles lack the strength to support your foot, you develop flat feet. This increases the load on your plantar fascia.

So in order to cure your plantar fasciitis fast and effective, your treatment have to adjust all these issues.

And I’ll show you how to do this right now: