Just because it is cold, the snow is deep, and your heel hurts, doesn’t mean you have to stay inside and vegetate all winter. Take care of plantar fasciitis pain so you can enjoy snowshoeing through beautiful forest scenery on trails in the Blue Mountain, Collingwood, or Wasaga Beach area or skiing down the slopes.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the strong ligament under your foot that helps form your arch and transfers force to your big toe to push off for each step. This tissue gets a constant workout when you walk and do activities like running or snowshoeing. When it is overstretched, it can become inflamed, and you end up with stabbing pain under your heel.
The tried and true home remedies for an inflamed ligament include rest, icing, maintaining a healthy weight, and changing your footwear or using custom orthotics to realign your faulty foot structure and reduce tension on the ligament.
New research shows that the problem may also involve the flexor digitorum brevis muscle (FDB) that works your smaller toes. If it is weak, it leads to more tension on the fascia. A simple test can determine the strength of the FDB. Sit on a chair, knees and ankles at right angles, and lay a business card under your smaller toes. If someone can pull it out easily even as you press your toes down, the muscle is not strong.
To strengthen your FDB, sit and use a wide elastic exercise band looped around your smaller toes to pull them up gently. Then press your toes down toward the floor against the tension, working up to doing to 4 sets of 40 every day.
Another helpful stretch is to sit with the sore foot over your other knee, and pull the toes back toward your shin for 10 seconds, while massaging the plantar fascia with the other hand. Try to do this 30 times throughout the day.
If heel pain is keeping you from enjoying the great outdoors, call Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic in Collingwood, ON at (705) 444-9929. We can show you other stretches for your tight muscles and tendons, prescribe night splints that hold them in position while they heal, or use laser therapy to take care of your plantar fasciitis. Call today and you’ll be out on those snowy trails again without pain.
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