Coping With Plantar Fasciitis (PF)

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Published: 07th May 2014
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There are many types of sports injuries that can have a massive impact on your life, both through recurring pains and the inability to perform at the highest level. One of the most regularly occurring injuries is the slow deterioration of the Plantar Fascia (a band of tissue that connects the heel of the foot to each toe).

Although a solid bone structure, it is extremely susceptible to external factors. These stresses include repetitive movement from regular sport activities and slow deterioration due to the effects of aging. However, another very common cause of PF is excessive weight causing the heel to be under a lot of strain. This is why the heel is the most common area of affliction, as not only is the heel the largest pressure point, it is also where the Fascia is thinner.

PF can be extremely painful to live with, and has inherent risks if not dealt with at an early stage. This includes chronic heel pain that makes it almost unbearable to do more than a short period of exercise. Additionally, if the condition causes you to adjust your walking pattern to alleviate the pain, this can lead to other issues such as knee and hip problems due to uneven weight distribution.

In order to lower the risk of PF or to ease its symptoms, there are several methods that you can use that deal with the issue in a holistic way (utilizing all parts of the body in order to avert and reduce pain). This allows you to take matters into your own hands, and prevents you as a person from having to live with such hardship and discomfort.

Methods to prevent agonizing pain of PF include:

Swimming

Swimming is a great way to alleviate pain, as the weightlessness of being in water makes the strain minimal if not non-existent. This also means you can do longer periods of exercise without repetitive strain.

Low-impact exercise machines (such as rowing machines and elliptical devices)

These machines do not require any excessive ankle movement and rely more on leg movement, therefore meaning less strain on the Fascia. They are also excellent forms of exercise.

Non-strenuous exercises (such as yoga or Pilates)

These exercises are very simple and easy to do, and are primarily done from a standing or seated stance. This means that there is less forward movement, and therefore less strain on the heel and ankle area.

A better diet
Dieting is one of the best ways to mitigate the discomfort of Plantar Fasciitis, as excess weight as previously mentioned is one of the primary causes of the injury. Losing weight also makes it easier to do prolonged periods of exercise without pain, and so this provides even more of a foundation for eliminating the problem entirely.

Strong, suitable footwear

Having a good pair of shoes specifically for doing exercises such as running or walking are essential, as worn shoes can cause agony in the heel area.

Exercising for shorter periods of time (or regular breaks between long periods)

Having extremely long periods of exercise such as walking, although not as intense can still cause additional strain on the Plantar Fascia (the exception being swimming, as previously mentioned). Taking regular breaks to give joints a rest is another way to solve this problem.

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