Consistent roadwork is a fundamental in most sports including combat sports.
An unfortunate side effect to this can be inflammation and pain in your foot.
Understanding heel pain causes and treatment is vital to understand.
If you’re going to be consistently running, jumping, and doing many of the activities a Martial Artist or athlete will be doing, there is a good chance you could run into this issue.
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The most common ailment in regards to this type of foot pain is Plantar Fasciitis.
Prevention is the best way to avoid this issue.
To prevent something we must first understand it.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
In short, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia.
The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue that runs along the sole of the foot from the heel to the base of the toes. With the calf muscle it creates a mechanism around the back of the heel that helps maintain the arch of your foot.
Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot.
If tension and stress on that bowstring become too great, small tears can arise in the fascia.
Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed, though in many cases of plantar fasciitis, the cause isn’t clear.
Causes and Preventions
Normally for most things the best cure is prevention.
This is why understanding heel pain causes and treatment is so important.
For most cases there is usually no underlying reason for plantar fasciitis.
However, it is often associated with having a tight calf muscle.
Regularly stretch your calf muscles.
Standing calf stretch and downward facing dog yoga pose are some common and effective calf stretches.
If you don’t have them already invest in a foam roller and a massage stick.
Foam rolling, and self-myofascial release have become very popular and rolling the calf is no different.
From rumble to smooth, from soft to firm there are many varieties of foam rollers to choose from.
Every individual will be different but the two I own are smooth/firm and a medium/rumble roller, find the foam roller that best fits what you need.
Another factor that can put you at a greater risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis is extended periods of standing.
Obviously, taking breaks to limit the amount of time you are on your feet is optimal.
If you have a job or partake in an activity that requires you being on your feet for an extended period and sitting down is not an option, there is a few things you can do to help.
What doesn’t being overweight or obese, make you a risk factor for?
The extra unhealthy pounds put a lot of pressure on the heel in everyday life.
A sudden gain in body weight is strongly linked with plantar fasciitis.
This is one of the major heel pain causes and treatment can be attention to shedding a few pounds.
Exercises and Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel.
Long-distance running, jumping activities, and certain types of dancing for example can contribute to causing plantar fasciitis.
Add or supplement with more low-impact exercises in your exercise routine, like swimming or cycling.
After you’re done, stretch out your calves and feet and don’t forget to use a foam roller or stick roller.
Don’t go barefoot on hard surfaces, including your first few steps when you get up in the morning.
If You Are Already Feeling The Pain
Luckily the majority of cases will respond and get better from stretching treatments and this will be enough to treat the syndrome.
However, it can take 6-12 months for your foot to get back to normal.
In rare cases surgery may be needed if initial treatments have not worked.
The easiest thing you can do is rest & Ice.
Keep weight off your foot until the inflammation goes down and use ice to help speed up the process.
Invest in night splints, they are an excellent treatment for plantar fasciitis, but their bulkiness can be cumbersome and difficult to get used to for some people.
Another simple trick if you sleep on your back can be to untuck your bed sheets before you go to sleep.
If Your Pain Is Severe And You See no Signs Of Improvement
Don’t hesitate to visit a podiatrist who will talk to you about your symptoms and examine your foot and ankle.
They will conduct examinations to exclude other potential sources of pain and be sure of the diagnosis.
This might include X-rays to assess the bones.
Occasionally an ultrasound or a MRI may also be needed, especially in chronic cases.