The plantar fascia is the arch tendon composed of connective tissue which supports the connection between the toes and the heel in your foot. It's the tendon which enables dancers to attain their perfect propulsion during jumps and basketball players to take liberating leaps into the air. The plantar fascia is composed of thick bands which supports the arch on the foot's bottom during weight bearing during sports and walking. Functioning as a shock absorber bowstring for the arch, the fascia can tear as tension increases on the bowstring. Gradually, repetitive movements continue to create additional tears irritating the fascia causing inflammation. The sharp pain resulting in the heel is called plantar fasciitis which is the most commonly diagnosed heel pain. If left untreated, the pain will extend into the arch and intensifies after long periods of sitting or lying down. Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Many people attempt to self-treat the stabbing heel pain through massage or stretching. Although these methods provide some relief, they're insufficient for treatment. Untreated plantar fasciitis will cause you to alter movement patterns in an attempt to alleviate the chronic pain being experienced. These new patterns for movement may temporarily relieve the heel pain, but almost always result in back, knee, and hip pain associated with the movement modifications. Seeing a physiotherapist will prevent additional problems before the patterns become habitual. Physiotherapy for the pain from plantar Fasciitis may include: 1. NSAIDS, Ibuprofen, and other drugs which relieve pain by reducing the inflammation. 2. Athletic Taping which provides support and stabilizes the arch. 3. Night splints designed to stretch the arch and calf muscle while you sleep. Maintaining the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia length, night splints facilitate further stretching of the problem area. 4. Specific strengthening and stretching exercises for your lower leg muscles, ankle and foot. 5. Ball Roll Therapy:  Using a tennis ball placed under the foot, roll the ball around your arch for 30 second intervals several times a day. 6. Orthotic supports which are custom fitted by casting and will ensure proper equalization during weight distribution. Braces, Do You Need Them? If you're at high risk for the development of plantar fasciitis (see At Risk Factors below), or if you're already being wakened in the night with heel pain, it's advisable to see a professional for a heel brace fitting. Orthotics, braces, are highly recommended during physiotherapy while retraining the body to redistribute the heel's arch support correctly, as well as during any sports. Even something as simple as walking the dog could further damage the delicate, injured fascia erupting in more pain and distress. Other Alternatives  
ViscoSpot heel cushions are clinically proven 95% effective for the initial treatment of heel pain (plantar fasciitis).
Bauerfeind ViscoSpot Bilateral Heel Cushion
Many of the manufacturers for orthotics also make comfort products for those suffering from plantar fasciitis, like the ViscoSpot Bilateral Heel Cushions. These amazing little gel pockets of protection alleviate pressure, tension and pain instantly being proven over 95% effective in pain reduction in the initial treatment phases for plantar fasciitis. Pro stretch wraps from bauerfeind, mcdavid, and others provide controlled dorsiflexion positioning for the arch. Cold wraps to decrease swelling and provide increased pain reduction are also available in combo packages or separately by both bauerfeind and mcdavid. Other supportive or protective items, such as recovery socks and Achilles tendon bands can help existing conditions, as well as decrease the likelihood of re-occurrence. High Risk Factors Who's at risk for developing plantar fasciitis? What can you do to reduce your vulnerability? More women than men develop plantar fasciitis. The older you are, the more chance you have of injuries, period. The most vulnerable age group for plantar fasciitis is between 40 and 70 years of age. Improper muscular alignment or body mechanics often result in increasing stress upon the fascia due to faulty postural weight distribution. Wearing shoes which are too narrow, shoes which don't have proper arch support, or high heels can cause plantar Fasciitis. Pregnancy which causes the feet and ankles to swell from increased weight gain can contribute to foot pain. Pregnant women should ensure they wear supportive shoes during this time to avoid unnecessary plantar Fasciitis development. Being overweight will put extra strain upon your fascia, along with every other tendon, bone, and organ in your body. Losing just 15lbs, if you're overweight, can have a tremendous effect on your overall health and prevent fascia tears. Long distance running, ballet, and aerobic dance are activities which are considered High Impact Exercise (HIE). The repetitive movements in HIE and sports is one of the highest contributors for plantar fasciitis.   Buy your Pro Stretch Package    

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