Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toe.
According to Ayurvedic science, Plantar fasciitis is understood as Vata kandaka. Kandaka refers to the point of a needle which is like a thorn and that which produces a sharp, stinging pain at the heel of the foot.
Symptoms of Plantar fasciitis
Sharp pain in the bottom of foot near the heels. Pain is usually worse with the first few steps after awakening although it can also be triggered by long period of standing or while getting up after sitting.
Causes of Plantar fasciitis
The cause of plantar fasciitis is unclear, multifactorial, however most cases are from overuse stresses. Plantar fascia is in the shape of a bowstring, supporting the arch of foot and absorbing shock while walking. When tension and stress on this bowstring becomes great, small tears can occur in the fascia. Repeated stretching and tear irritates or inflame the fascia, although cause remains unclear in many cases of plantar fasciitis.
Risk factors of Plantar fasciitis
- Age - Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
- Certain types of exercise – Activities that place a lot of stress on heel and attachment tissue- such as long distance running, ballet dancing and aerobic dance- can contribute to the onset of Plantar fasciitis.
- Foot mechanics – Flat feet, a high arch or even an abnormal pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when standing and can put added stress on Plantar fascia.
- Obesity – Excess pounds put extra pressure on the plantar fascia.
- Occupation that requires prolonged standing – Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage the plantar fascia.
- Training errors – In athlete’s addition of speed workouts, plyometrics and hill workouts are particularly at high risk of developing Plantar fasciitis.
- Improper shoes - Athletes who train in lightweight and minimally cushioned shoes are at higher risk. Athlete’s shoes rapidly lose cushioning properties.
- Structural risk factors - low arched or high arched foot have increased stress placed on the plantar fascia with foot strike.
Complication of Plantar fasciitis
Ignoring Plantar fasciitis may result in chronic heel pain that impedes the daily activities of an individual. Changing the manner of walk as a way to relieve pain, that might lead to foot, knee, hip or back issues.
Modern perspective- management of Plantar fasciitis
- Conservative treatment - resting, icing the painful area and stretching.
- Medication - pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium.
- Therapies - Physical therapy, night splints, orthotics.
- Surgical and other procedures - Injections,Extracorporeal shock wave therapy, Ultrasonic tissue repair, surgery.
Ayurvedic treatment for Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is understood as Vata kandaka. Walking with foot placed on hard, uneven surface and exertion leads to the aggravation of vata. The vitiated vata along with other doshas get localized in the ankle- foot and produce this painful condition. At Amala, we treat Plantar fasciitis effectively. Our aim is to nominalize the doshas, reduce pain and inflammation over plantar fascia. Internal medications and External treatment procedures along with dietary - lifestyle modification and stretching exercises are combined for better results.
Diet in Plantar fasciitis
- Intake green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage. Vegetables like carrot, ladies finger, beans, etc
- Fruits like orange, pomegranate, berries
- Include spices like turmeric, cinnamon, long pepper, garlic, ginger in diet as they have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Avoid saturated fat, sugar and processed food.
- Avoid refrigerated food
Lifestyle in Plantar fasciitis
- Choose supportive shoes with a low moderate heel, thick soles, good arch support and extra cushioning.
- Avoid long period of standing
- Don’t exercise on hard surfaces.
- Try a low impact sport, such as swimming, bicycling, instead of walking or jogging.
- Avoid walking barefooted on hard surfaces.
- Lose weight
- Avoid high heeled footwear
- Avoid high impact sports that require jumping (eg, aerobics and volleyball).
- Don’t wear worn-out athletic shoes
Best Yoga postures for Plantar fasciitis
Yoga helps in strengthening the ankles, calves, thighs and spine. Certain yoga poses helps in reducing pain and stiffness caused by plantar fasciitis by gently stretching the ankles and connective tissue of foot.
Some of the yoga poses are mentioned below:
- Malasana (Garland pose)
- Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose)
- Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Dog Pose)
- Bandhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)