Plantar fasciitis and achilles tendinitis seem like very different conditions, however, they both are closely related. Athletes, office workers, recreational gym goers, and even children suffer from nagging pains associated with the feet. Young and old the causes are the same, and the inflammation seems to reoccur time and time again. While the most frequent ramification for inflammation is anti- inflammatories, that won’t take away the root cause of the issue. This then leads to re-injury, more inflammation and ultimately, frustration. There’s a simple fix for Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis and it can be done daily to help you get back on your feet.
Understanding Why You’re Getting Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinitis
If you take a very quick look at the anatomy of the calf muscle, you will see that it attaches under the foot. Tight muscles and knots in the calves tug on the insertion point of the foot. These same muscles are also responsible for pointing the toe and flexing the foot (dorsi flexion and plantar flexion). This explains why so many runners (with tight calves), seem to be prone to this condition. The repeated motion of walking and running can inflame the attachment points under the foot leading to repeated aggravation and inflammation.
Steps to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis
- If you’re already inflamed and in pain, try to limit your activity. Take *anti inflammatories, and ice your foot for no longer than 15 minutes at a time. Too much icing can cause a negative affect if done for too long. If it hurts to walk and its severely inflamed, this may be the time to take the anti inflammatories 2-3 times a day at a higher dose (1-2 pills). Make sure you take them with food (never on an empty stomach) and with loads of water to protect your kidneys and liver. Disclaimer
You can also opt for natural anti inflammatories such as turmeric or curcummin.
- Once the pain and swelling have come down, begin to perform foam rolling for your calves. The object of foam rolling is to address the tight muscles and knots that are creating the repeated “tugging” on the foot. It may take time to get the knots and muscles to relax so be patient with the process. If it’s a really bad case, you could try doing foam rolling 2 – 3 times a day (see foam rolling instructions below).
- Analyze your shoes. If you have a severer reoccurring case, wear shoes without heals. Flats with added arch support would be the preferred option. Take a good look at your gym shoes. If you flip them over you will see what’s called “wear patterns.” These tell you where the majority of your walking or running happens. If your shoes are severely worn on the inside or outside of the bottom of the shoes, then it’s time to get new ones STAT! If they are older than 6 – 8 months old and you use them often, you should replace them (even if they still look great). The inside of the shoes breaks down and no longer support the foot the way it should be. This attributes to poor movement patterns and excessively tight muscles.
- Oil Up! My favorite home remedy for inflammation is magnesium oil. Sounds strange but purchasing some at your local health food store and slathering your inflamed areas with magnesium oil, could be the best thing you ever did! I’ve found that it increases circulation, brings down the swelling, and speeds up the healing process. Note: it will burn however. This is normal and will dissipate in 5 – 15 minutes. Fan the area of just wait it out like a true glutton for pain!Read more about magnesium oil and it’s application here.
- Too Much Too Soon – Your tendons aren’t like your muscles, they actually need time to build and they aren’t as resilient. Although your muscles may not have a problem performing specific exercises, your tendons may not be ready for large amounts of exercise and stress. For this reason, you should always start slow, ESPECIALLY when it’s a new activity that your body isn’t conditioned for. Build it up over time to prevent injury and protect your body and your tendons.
How to Foam Roll Your Calves to Help Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
The standard rule for foam rolling is to find the tender spot (knot or tight muscle) and hold the leg over the foam roller for 20 – 30 seconds OR until 70% of the pain dissipates. This is based on the scientific structure of the facia which surrounds the muscles.
Add in some additional stretching and rolling for plantar fasciitis pain and Achilles tendonitis pain
Foam roll your calves 1-2 times a day. Add in additional stretching 1-2 times a day also. Don’t forget that most injuries take on a “tug of war” process. This means you’re going to have building days and recovery days. Days when your inflamed and trying to heal and days when you feel like you’re making progress. Take the good with the bad and do your best to stay positive through the healing process!