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What to buy for plantar fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis?

plantar fascia is a connective tissue, that is, a biological tissue that supports, connects or separates different tissues and organs of the body. Triangular in shape, thick and wide, it is located under the skin of the sole of the foot. 

It extends from the medial tubercle of the calcaneus (heel bone), attached to fibers of the Achilles tendon, and runs toward the forefoot. On its way, in the middle part, where the bones called metatarsals are found, it divides into five sections, inserting into each of the metatarsophalangeal joints of the toes.  In addition, it is  one of the most frequent causes of talalgia, heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis is a degenerative process at the origin of the plantar fascia as a result of mechanical overload, either due to physical activity, overweight or biomechanical alterations of the tread. This involves an inflammation of the fascia , the thick band of tissue that runs across the sole of the foot.

Sometimes it coexists with a bone overgrowth known as a calcaneal spur , although its presence is not essential for diagnosis nor does it produce symptoms.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes throbbing pain on the inside of the heel that usually goes away with the first few steps. As you move, the pain usually lessens, although it may return after prolonged periods of standing or when you stand up from a sitting position.

In the case of athletes, in terms of plantar fasciitis, its symptoms appear in the morning and after playing sports . It must be taken into account that once the first symptoms begin to appear, it is convenient to take measures because it is very likely that the fasciitis will continue to worsen, and can become very limiting both for sports activity and for the person’s normal life. .

Plantar fasciitis: most common causes

The plantar fascia is arch-shaped, supports the foot and absorbs shock when walking. If the strain and stress applied to the arch of the foot becomes too great, small tears in the fascia may occur.

Although the plantar fascia can occur without an obvious cause, there are factors that can increase the risk of suffering from this condition:

  • Age : Plantar fasciitis is usually most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Inappropriate footwear: especially sandals and basic shoes, such as summer shoes
  • Overweight: Excess weight puts extra pressure on the plantar fascia.
  • Foot gait disturbances: flat feet or high arches or even an abnormal walking pattern can affect the way weight is distributed when walking, which can lead to increased stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Certain types of exercise: any sports activity that puts a lot of pressure on the heel and its attached tissues. Some sports that are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis are aerobic dance or those that involve long-distance running.
  • Other causes of plantar fasciitis are :

Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

It is important that, when suffering from plantar fasciitis, a foot specialist traumatologist performs an adequate assessment, with a previous study of the biomechanics and the footprint. 

In a first phase, the professional can recommend to relieve the pain:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Relative rest
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Massage with frozen water bottle covered with a cloth to avoid thermal burns
  • night splints
  • Weight loss, in case the fasciitis is related to being overweight.

If in 6-8 weeks the plantar fasciitis does not improve with conservative measures, we can include:

  • Shock waves
  • RHB
  •  deep massage
  • infiltrations
  •  Iontophoresis :process by which a weak electrical current is passed through the skin.
  • Surgical treatment: it is not the most common option, it will generally be performed when the pain is severe and other treatments have failed. This surgery can be done as an open procedure or through a small incision.

 

Best products to buy for plantar fasciitis

Of the five points included in the treatment of fasciitis, rest, stretching and the application of cold are the only ones that can be developed at home , on a daily basis and without professional help, so it is very important to apply them constantly. to shorten those recovery times. These are some of the stretching exercises that specialists usually recommend:

– Roll objects with the foot. The foot affected by fasciitis is removed and a ball, a bottle of water or a soda can is rolled on the ground, so that the friction of these objects with the sole of the foot massages the fascia and relieves pain and tension. inflammation. If that bottle or that can is fresh from the fridge, the effect of the massage is added to that of the application of cold.

Crumple up a towel. Also with bare feet, a towel is placed on the ground and the exercise consists of trying to wrinkle it by mobilizing the toes . In this way, it is possible to mobilize the joints in the area and tone the muscles of the sole of the foot.

Stretch the fascia. Any exercise that helps stretch the plantar fascia to reduce stress on the arch of the foot can be beneficial. It can be done in many ways. For example, holding the heel with one hand while curling the toes toward the shinbone with the other. Another way to do this is, again, using a towel. Grasped by the ends, it is wrapped around the sole of the foot between the toes and the arch and pulled to draw the toes toward the tibia while the leg remains straight.

 

In any case, let’s looks  at some products you can buy  mats,  kinds of splints, insoles, compression socks, bandages, and massagers that help stretch the fascia and reduce inflammation and pain.

1. ANTI FATIGUE MAT

In many industries, employees are required to work standing, walking, and/or carrying loads. Experts agree that mats can significantly improve employee productivity and satisfaction while reducing absenteeism and chronic illnesses from prolonged standing.

How an anti-fatigue mat works is perfectly described in an article that was published in the April 1999 issue of “Health and Safety at Work”, written by James M. Kendrick: “Anti-fatigue mats are designed to The body sways naturally and imperceptibly, encouraging gentle movement of the leg and calf muscles. This facilitates blood flow and prevents blood from pooling in the veins, which would make workers feel tired.”

Standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time can lead to different problems. First of all, standing causes the muscles to contract, which reduces blood flow. As a consequence the muscles and joints ache and the blood stagnates.

On the other hand, this position causes long-term pronation or excessive flattening of the feet. While this may just be tiring and a bit painful, it can also lead to plantar fasciitis and other serious foot conditions. Low back pain is more common in workers who spend four or more hours a day on their feet.

As Mr. Kendrick pointed out, the cushioning effect of an anti-fatigue mat provides micro-movement in the feet, which minimizes pooling of blood in the legs, which may add to the interest in reducing slips and falls. So it may be at home or at reduce the flattening of your feet with an anti-fatigue mat .  A mat I recommend is the  ComfiLife Anti Fatigue Floor Mat

 

 2. NIGHT SPLINTS

One of the solutions that can alleviate the pain of the fascia and help end it is to use splints that help keep it stretched during the night hours. With this, it is possible to gradually reduce the inflammation until the lesion disappears . An example of this type of splint is this one from the Semme brand, which can be used for both feet and is made of comfortable, washable, light and breathable materials.

In addition to restricting the mobility of the foot to keep it in the position that most facilitates the stretching of the fascia, it has a tensioner that joins the area of the tibia with the instep, thus reinforcing that function . In addition to treating plantar fasciitis, it is also used when suffering from Achilles tendinitis. Recommend night splint to purchase.

 

3. MASSAGER ROLLERS

Another different way to relieve discomfort in the calcaneus area is to massage the area to help reduce the inflammation of the fascia. One of the exercises that podiatrists frequently recommend is to roll a cylindrical object with the sole of the foot, so that when doing so, the affected area is massaged . You can make a cold bottle, so that the effect of the massage is combined with the benefits of temperature.

Another option is to use a massage roller like one from the H&S brand, which combines an ergonomic surface dotted with small bumps that exert acupressure on the sole when rolling the massager . In addition to treating plantar fasciitis, it is also useful for tired feet, and it is light and small, so it can be easily taken on a trip.

 

4. INSOLES FOR FASCIITIS

The pain caused by plantar fasciitis in the heel area can become such, especially in the morning hours, that the possibility of resting it on a soft and comfortable surface helps a lot to cope with the discomfort . That is precisely the purpose of insoles like this one from the Dr. Scholls brand, which includes Shock Guard technology.

It has full-length cushions, so it supports the entire foot, distributing the pressure in a balanced way. And in addition to protecting the heel, it helps relieve tension in the plantar arch area. This model adapts to all types of shoes, from the most formal to those for sports use, so it will allow you to use the insoles both to go to work and during your leisure hours. The pack in the image, specifically, includes a couple of templates for women.

 

5. PLANTAR ARCH SUPPORT

In the case of these Well Being Pro brand insoles, their main function is to give firm support to the plantar arch to reduce the tension in the fascia and, with it, the pain caused by walking, especially the first hours of the day. Even so, it also includes a somewhat softer surface in the heel area to cushion the footprint in that area.

This product is quite popular on Amazon, as it has accumulated reviews from buyers, who have given it an average score of 4 points out of five . “They are hard and with that the arch keeps me relaxed, the pain I have in the plantar fascia has been reduced since I use them. They are not magic and they take away the pain, but I have gone from walking an hour and hurting to 5 with little bother,” says a user identified as Alberto Molina.

 

6. ORTHOPEDIC SOLES

 

Yet another option of insoles, in this case from the Valsole brand, although the purpose is practically the same as in the previous cases: to facilitate heel support on a softer surface that absorbs impacts when stepping on and reinforce arch support. plantar to reduce stress on the fascia . The latter is achieved by a notable increase in the curvature of the insole in the area of the bridge.

In addition to fasciitis, they are indicated for flat foot problems and knee and back pain.

 

7. COLD MASSAGE BALL

We said a few lines back that one of the exercises that physiotherapists and podiatrists usually recommend to recover from plantar fasciitis is to roll a bottle of cold water or a can of cold drinks with the sole of the foot. Thus, the effect of the massage is added to that of the temperature.

Well, this cold massage ball from the Saskate brand is a somewhat more elaborate version of that frozen bottle since, basically, it serves the same purpose. You put it in the fridge for two hours, so that the metal ball cools down and then you roll it with the sole of your foot inside its support.

The relief is the same, since this product allows, according to the manufacturer, “to reduce fatigue, pain, cramps and stiffness”, in addition to relieving inflammation and swelling. and not only on the sole of the foot, since it can also be applied to the back, shoulders, legs, arms, waist… All this by means of cold… or heat, since it can also be placed in hot water .

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8. SHIATSU MASSAGER

A somewhat more sophisticated way of massaging the feet . It has a casing in which the feet are inserted to subject them to various mechanisms: a rotating ball, a rolling rod, heating and air compression… All this, to provide a Shiatsu massage that “relieves foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis, improve blood flow, reduce physical exhaustion through the foot nerve reflex, and promote better sleep,” according to the manufacturer.

It has three massage intensities and three levels of air pressure to adjust to the needs and taste of each person. Likewise, the heating can be adapted to the personal preferences of each one.

 

9. COMPRESSION SOCKS

Splints, massagers, insoles… and socks! Yes, socks can also help you fight plantar fasciitis. But not just any socks, but compression socks like these from the Physix Gear Sport brand. They can be used during the day to alleviate the discomfort of fasciitis, or even at night to speed up the recovery process.

The manufacturer ensures that this anklet-sock is comfortable, since it adapts to your walking movements, is breathable and capable of absorbing moisture. Of course, it has a cushioned surface on the heel that reduces pain when stepping on it.

 

10. HEEL PROTECTOR

A different way to protect your heels from impacts while you walk, they offer these “silicone socks”, as the manufacturer calls them. Unlike the classic heel pads (soft pads that are placed under the heel), these protectors cover the heel part, but also hug the ankle, so that they remain fixed in the area no matter how much you walk and move your feet.

This protector is indicated for cracked heels, tingling in the heel, foot pain and treatment of stress fractures.

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11. WOODEN MASSAGER

Here is another model of massager, but in this case it does not have one roller, but ten. Five for the left foot and another five for the right. Why relax only one of them when you can do it with both at the same time? This Shiatsu massager is made of wood and incorporates spikes on each of the rotating rollers that exert acupressure on the soles of the feet by rolling them.

In addition to plantar fasciitis, this Iregro brand massager is indicated for stress, heel pain and discomfort in the plantar arch.

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12. FOR FASCIITIS… AND BUNIONS

Yes, this Pro Care brand splint is not only suitable for treating plantar fasciitis, but also for arch pain… and for bunions . This is specified at least by the manufacturer in the product file on Amazon. Other than that, it’s not too different from other splints that have been listed on this list.

It is a rigid structure that runs along the sole of the foot and goes up to the middle of the calf to guarantee an angle of the foot that facilitates the recovery of the fascia. From this structure, several wide bands wrap the leg and foot until they are practically completely covered. It has a removable and washable lining to ensure proper hygiene of the product at all times.

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13. ANKLE COMPRESSION

It is a compression sock that covers only the heel area, part of the instep and ankle. Using it allows, according to the manufacturer, “to improve blood circulation and relieve pain from heel spurs, Achilles heel, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and other discomforts.”

Valid both for going to work and for practicing sports, these ankle guards are made of “highest quality” material, capable of absorbing sweat quickly to keep feet dry and odour-free.

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14 STRASBOURG SOCK

Strasbourg sock, that’s what this invention is called. What is it? Well, a long stocking made of comfortable fabric that reaches even above the calf. From there comes a tightening band that can be overlapped by Velcro to another that comes out from the tip of the foot . By adjusting this overlap to the maximum, it is possible to keep the foot in a flex position (as close as possible to the tibia), so that the fascia is constantly stretching, gaining flexibility and losing inflammation.
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