Foot pain and bone structure
Our feet certainly have a very important function, because they support the rest of the body and allow us to stand, walk, jump and run. They are quite small for their purpose if you think about it, because each one of them supports half our body weight - sometimes the whole! So how do they manage to do their job without crushing or bending?
The secret is their inner structure. Feet are sustained by a bone structure in the shape of an arch. Just as bridges and vaults, they can support a massive stress because the shape of an arch distributes the weight across and down to the ground. Without this arch structure, our feet would cede and break. Both feet should ideally have a well-proportionate arch shape: not too high, not too flat.
Also, there is soft tissue that holds the feet in place and cushions it. In example, plantar fascia are connective fibers that stretch across our sole, from one extrem of our foot arch to the other. These fibers are like elastic strings that keep everything in place and help us walk. All pieces together allow feet to support our body weight and help us move around. When this structure is compromised, because of malformation or overstressing, our body weight can damage our tissue and cause foot pain, because the foot can no longer support us properly.
Plantar fascia can become overstretched for a number of reasons. People with flat foot, in example, are more likely to suffer damage in their plantar fascia because the flatter their arches are, the farther one end of the arch is from the other, and thus the more stretched the plantar fascia are. When extra tension is put on them, like supporting body weight, they can start ripping causing a painful condition known as plantar fasciitis.
It is important to know what are the causes and symptoms of plantar fasciitis in order to prevent it from happening as well as identify it when it has already happened. The direct cause of this condition is overstretching the plantar fascia, but there are several reasons why that can happen. Flat foot can lead to plantar fasciitis as well as any other excess of stress on the sole of our feet. Carrying weight, being overweight, and practising impact physical activity like running or jumping - especially when performed on hard surfaces - can also lead to plantar fasciitis.
A treatment for Plantar Fasciitis isn't hard to implement, and the condition itself usually gets healed without any need of direct intervention - like surgery or rehabilitation. Treatment for plantar fasciitis isn't about healing the woulds themselves, but stopping the excess of mechanical stress over the plantar fascia, so they can become cured by themselves. Pain caused by plantar fasciitis can be treated by applying cold to the area, taking antiinflammatories and using protective insoles. Plantar fascia can be protected from impact with bandages.
Also, strenghtening the muscles of the foot can help it get a proper shape, because the muscular fibers will hold everything in place. These exercises must be performed often and they include stretching, holding objects with the foot and massaging the sole.
As you now know, it's not about how to cure plantar fasciitis, but how to stop what causes it so it can heal itself. The soft tissue of the plantar fascia can recover once the pressure is gone, and all you have to do is help the foot regain proper structure. This is where orthotic insoles can help a lot.
Some insoles are cushioned or have a hole under the heel, and they are meant to ease the pain by preventing the affected zone of the foot from touching hard ground. However, the main application of orthotics in case of plantar fasciitis is to provide arch support. Heel pain and plantar fasciitis insoles often go together because most cases of heel pain, including heel spur, are a derived consequence of improper arch height.
Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis can be bought off-the-shelf. There are physical stores as well as online stores that sell this kind of orthotics. As the proper arch structure is the same for all, you don't need custom insoled for plantar fasciitis. They are more costly and you need an appointment with a physician. However, we do recommend that if you experience heel pain or sole pain, you consult a doctor to have it checked. Once plantar fasciitis has been diagnosed, any orthotic insole with arch support will do the job. Also, ask your physician about bandages and exercises to strenghten you feet muscles, so you speed up the healing process and calm the pain.