If you struggle from aching, sore, burning feet you may have PLANTAR FASCIITIS! Although this is connective tissue and not a muscle it can be very painful to deal with. Usually you feel it first thing in the morning and your first steps are painful because you are pulling on a tightened and torn tissue. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Having flat feet or doing activities that flatten the arches such as running, skipping and high impact foot activities will cause small tears in the fascia and inflammation that thickens the tissue. To repair the damage we use ice to reduce inflammation, stretch the tissues and massage out some of the adhesions. But for long term effects we need to strengthen our arches and calve muscles.
To stretch out the fascia place your heel close to the wall with the sole of your foot up against the bottom of the wall. Slowly start to lean forwards towards the wall. Doing it with a bend in the knee will increase the stretch as you bring your knee closer to the wall. Hold for 30 seconds on both sides.
Ice is a great treatment as it is an issue of inflammation in the tissues. Strengthening the calf and foot muscles help to take pressure off the fascia so that the muscles support the foot better. To strengthen place a towel flat on the floor. Use your toes to grab and pull the towel until it is fully crunched up. Spread it out again and repeat 3-5 times. You will feel the bottom of your foot fatigue.
Self massage using a ball or wooden dowel to roll out the fascia. If it is very hot after use ice to reduce the inflammation and flush out the tissues.