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9 Ways Treat Plantar Fasciitis and Strengthen Foot Sole Muscles

Plantar fasciitis (pain of the heel) is a common problem found in middle-aged men and women. If left untreated for a long time, it will induce bone spurs in the feet.  but are you relieving yourself in the right way?

Dr. Chen Chaolong, the director of We Care Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic in Taiwan, dispels the myths of the public and provides a solution to plantar fasciitis, and sports coach Tong Wai-hung provided a range of exercises to relieve plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is regarded as a type of pain or numbness of the heel caused by cold or dampness in Chinese medicine and is generally found to be related to bone spurs on the bottom of the foot. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys govern the bones and the marrow, and most patients suffer from kidney water deficiency or kidney yin deficiency, so Chinese medicine treats the condition by replenishing kidney energy.

4 Types of People Prone to Plantar Fasciitis

Dr. Chen named four groups of people who are most likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis.

1. The elderly: as people get old, the fat on the soles of the feet will become thinner, the flexibility of the plantar fascia will become worse, and the muscle strength of the soles will be lost, which are all causes of plantar fasciitis.
2. People who are overweight: excessive body weight on the soles.
3. People who stand for a long time: bearing body weight for a long time will lead to increased pressure on the plantar fascia.
4. People who walk a lot: excessive walking increases the burden on the plantar fascia.

Avoid Cold Food and Sugar; Nourish the Kidneys

The treatment of plantar fasciitis should start with tonifying the kidney. The main herbal remedies are Liuwei Dihuang Pills, Bawei Dihuang Pills, Zhibai Dihuang Pills, Zuogui Pills, Yougui Pills, Duhuo Jishen Decoction and so on, which invigorate the blood and remove stagnation. Suitable foods such as black beans and Polygonum multiflorum (Chinese knotweed) are the best.

Dr. Chen pointed out that compared with food therapy, food restriction is more important, and there are two main types of food to avoid.
1. Cold food: cold food resists absorption and slows down the metabolism.
2. Sweets: especially processed sugar, which are easy to cause inflammation in the body, and they are the least suitable food for patients already suffering from inflamed plantar fascia.

‘Japanese-style Vajrasana’ Sitting Pose

Epoch Times Photo
Japanese-style sitting pose. (Courtesy of Amber Health)

For patients with plantar fasciitis who feel pain when getting out of bed in the morning, Dr. Chen recommended an effective “Japanese-style Vajrasana” Sitting Pose, which is the Japanese-style kneeling sitting pose.

He explained, “the plantar fascia is inflamed once it is stretched for a long time. The tibialis anterior muscle tightens this plantar fascia. The reverse sitting posture of pressing the instep can stretch and relax the tibial anterior muscle that is too tight. ”

The best practice is to sit for 3-5 minutes every hour. If you do not have time, sit at least 2-3 times a day.

Dr. Chen also cautioned that if you use shockwave devices that are available on the market or do exercises to relax the calf and Achilles tendon, it is best also to increase the stretching and relaxing exercises for the anterior tibial muscles in order to relieve the pain in the plantar fascia truly.

9 Movements of Stretching

Sports coach Tong Wai-hung has designed a set of daily plantar fascia health care exercises for people with flat feet and weak plantar fascia. The exercises include four stages: increasing range of motion, training range of control, enhancing muscle strength, and stretching and relaxing muscles.

To increase the range of motion and relax the adhesive fascia and tight muscles, each movement should last for five seconds and be completed twice on each foot.

Epoch Times Photo
Relax the metatarsal bones to relieve plantar fasciitis (Courtesy of Amber Health)
Epoch Times Photo
Relax the tarsus to relieve plantar fasciitis. (Courtesy of Amber Health)

Movement 1: relax the metatarsal bones, relax each metatarsal bone upwards and downwards.

Movement 2: relax the tarsus, both hands hold the soles of the feet, and move the fingers inwards and then outwards.

Movement 3: relax the calcaneus, hold the calcaneus, turn the calcaneus clockwise, and then counter-clockwise.

Training range of control

In order to use your strength properly, you need to have a degree of control. Each movement lasts for 5 seconds, and twice on the left and right feet.

Movement 4: Toe Control
1. Bent all the toes upwards
2. Bent big toe downwards, four toes upwards
3. Bent four toes downwards, big toe upwards

Movement 5: Ankle Control
1. Bent toes downwards, instep downwards
2. Bent toes upwards, instep upwards
3. Bent toes upwards, instep downwards
4. Bent toes downwards, instep upwards

Enhancing muscle strength

In isometric training, such as static and dynamic isometric training, each movement lasts 20 seconds, twice for each foot.

Movement 6: stepping on the towel

1. Step your feet on the towel, knees, and toes in the same direction
2. Bent the toes down with strength and pull the towel outwards with your hands

Tip: The aim is to strengthen the muscles on the sole, as well as the muscles on the back of the calf

Movement 7: Grab the towel
1. Step on the towel with the soles of your feet
2. Press the toes on the ground first, then bend them inwards, repeat 12 times

Stretching and relaxing muscle stretch

Stretch and relax the soles and the tibialis anterior muscles, each movement lasts for 30 seconds, twice for the left and right feet.

Epoch Times Photo
Stretching the hamstring. (Courtesy of Amber Health)

Movement 8: Stretching the hamstring
1. Place the towel underneath the forefoot and hold the towel with both hands.
2. Bend your legs first, lie down, and then straighten your legs slowly.
3. Pull the towel and move the leg towards the head, stop at the position where you feel hamstring the hamstring is tight and hold for 30 seconds.

Movement 9: Relax the tibialis anterior muscle
1. Kneel on both knees.
2. Hold both heels and calves in a horizontal line, and sit down slowly.
Tip: Pay attention not to be pigeon-toed.

Amber Yang


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