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Suffer from heel pain? What should I know about Plantar Fasciitis?

What is it?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that originates from your heel and runs across the bottom of your foot to your toes. When you strain your plantar fascia, it becomes weak and inflamed. This type of injury will often lead to pain around your heel or in the bottom of your foot when you stand or walk, especially for the first few steps in the morning.

Common causes & Risk factors

Plantar fascia acts to support the arch of your foot. Repeated strain can cause micro-tears in the fascia. These can lead to pain and swelling.  Some of the risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis are:

  • Flat feet or high foot arches
  • Wearing shoes with poor support, such as high heels
  • Walk and stand on hard surfaces for long period of times, such as teachers and factory workers
  • Overweight
  • Middle-aged or older: most common between the ages of 40 to 60

Signs & symptoms

  • Stiffness or pain in the bottom of your heel
  • Pain travels from the bottom of the foot towards the mid-foot area
  • Pain is usually worse in the morning when you take first few steps
  • Pain tends to get better after a few steps but get worse as the day goes on
  • Pain can also be triggered by rising from sitting or standing for long periods
  • Increased pain when climbing stairs

Treatment plan

The treatment plan starts with pain relief during the early stage of plantar fasciitis. Then, it will move onto regain full movement of your foot through targeted stretches and manual techniques, and restore specific muscle strength of your foot through specific exercise. The treatment plan ends with restoring normal foot biomechanics and improving techniques to prevent recurrences to ensure a safe and functional return to work and/or sport.

 

By: Jie (Janet) Yang, PT.  

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us today for you FREE 15 minute meet and greet!

Neck pain

Neck pain plagues us all. Whether we sit at a desk all day long or perform as a high functioning athlete, we all experience neck pain at one point in life. There are a dozen reasons as to why we experience neck pain. They can range from underlying conditions such as arthritis, biomechanical and postural inconsistencies, or you just slept on the couch wrong and kinked your neck. This first part of the series, we will start by looking at the general anatomy of the neck and the movement.

Anatomy of the neck

At its core, the neck is comprised of seven cervical vertebrae that house your nerves which innervate specific areas of your body. You can think of these bones as your car frame and the nerves as your electrical wiring for everything else. Between each bone you have discs that serve to function as shock absorbers and cushioning between those joints. These discs can be comparable to your car shocks that help whenever it runs over bumps. Layers of muscles, ligaments and other supportive structures serve to move the head and stabilize the joints between. Ligaments serve to provide support to structures, while muscles also act to stabilize and move the neck and shoulder in certain directions.

There are many muscles which range from being thin and small, to larger and thicker muscles. Most of these muscles either aim to 1) stabilize and/or 2) produce movements. The neck is able to produce movements of flexion (chin to chest), extension (chin to the sky), lateral flexion (ear to shoulder) and lateral rotation (chin to shoulder).

 

 

 

A quick check of how your neck is can be as simple as performing these movements and looking at how balanced each side is along with if you experience any pain local or away from the neck. Give it a try!

 

We experience pain whenever the body fails to balance the forces on our neck due to posture, or there is some underlying cause. Typically, as therapists we look at your signs and symptoms in addition to if there is pain with active or passive neck movement. All of the observations we make help us play detective to determine what exactly is the root cause of neck pain.

In our next post, we will look at some of the major muscles that we all have struggles with. We will go over some ways to stretch these muscles and exercise them. Till next time!

 

Jonathan Chang RMT, SMT (cc)

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