As an athlete I have had many of injuries. I’ve had to go through many treatments as well. Everything from acupuncture to foam rolling.
I always found that the simplest treatments were always the most effective because you could do them more often from the comfort of your own home. An injury in your heel might not seem like a big deal but it actually affects how you walk and your ability to work out.
To be more specific, I’m referring to plantar fasciitis. I went almost my whole life without experiencing it or really knowing what it was until last year, when I injured my heel during a long distance run. You’d think the best treatment would be physio right? Well there is actually an extraordinarily easy trick using only a tennis ball and your body weight, to save you some time and money.
Stay tuned for that tip, but first let’s cover some need to know information.
What is Planters Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is very thick band of tissue which stretches from your heel bone to your toes and creates that beautiful arch in your foot. Overuse or overstretching can make it become inflamed.
According to Medline Plus Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions, and causes pain, especially in the heel, which makes walking difficult. Conservative treatment that includes heel and foot stretching exercises usually improves the condition with time.
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Sudden weight gain
- Shoes with soft soles, or poor arch support
- A tight Achilles tendon
- Frequent long-distance, or downhill running.
As one of the most common heel injuries, it develops from more than one cause. Don’t let that scare you though, it is not a particularly difficult thing to treat.
- Heel spurs, which are bony growths on the heel bone
- Pain on the bottom of your heel
- Slight swelling, redness, and tenderness on your heel
- Pain in the morning, followed by gradual improvement during the day
- Your pain may subside to a dull ache by the end of the day and continue to improve
According to Medline Plus, the best prevention for plantar fasciitis is maintaining flexibility around your ankle, especially your calf muscles and Achilles tendon.
An easy way to test and increase your ankle flexibility is to put your toes against the bottom of a wall, with the opposite leg staggered slightly behind you. Think about the position you would be in if you were lunging. With your foot touching the wall, simply bend your knee so it moves forward and touches the wall itself. Do not move you foot while doing this. Your foot should be firmly placed in front of the wall. If your knee can touch the wall with ease you have flexible ankles. Fantastic! If not…you’ll need to work on this.
Plantar fasciitis usually improves over time, in six to 18 months, without treatment, With treatment, the condition can improve more quickly, often in two months or less. You will need to visit your healthcare practitioner or physiotherapist to receive the right treatment option.
One simple thing you can do at home is stretching exercises to relieve the tightness of the plantar fascia tissue. Stretching also relieves the tightness of your calf muscle and achilles tendon.
Tennis Ball Stretch:
Stretching exercises create a pulling feeling in your muscles without causing pain.
What’s the tennis ball stretch you may ask?
It’s a simple activity you can do at home to to treat your tendon for a few minutes a day.
Perform the tennis ball stretch while seated. Place the arch of your foot on the tennis ball and roll the ball back and forth with the arch of your foot. Simply push you foot onto the ball using your own body weight. Perform the tennis ball stretch while standing as your condition improves.