These notes are mainly for me, but also for other whom would like to compare their experiences.
I seem to have this recurring plantar fasciitis and these are my findings so far.
The best video I could find on the subject was by this YouTuber Athleanx
He points out that the plantar muscle under the foot is being used for projection in walking and running. The reason being that the heel bone (calcaneus) needs to be kicking outward when the foot lands in propulsion to adapt to the ground. When it propulses it needs to rotate inward to lock the metacarpals together to provide a rigid projection lever.
Jeff says the reason this happens is that if the calf muscles are tight, then there is a timing issue and the calcaneus does not rotate inward on propulsion. The foot stays flexible and the plantar muscle is used for projection. He gives exercises on how to stretch the calves for correcting this movement.
The upper torso is rotating with the walking gape, but can not turn back rapidly enough. This causes another timing issue as it all translates down to the calcaneus not rotating inward on projection. He says we need to fix our thoracic extension.
Jeff says to fix the posture first and he gives 4 steps in this video
- Fix the rounded upper back Thoracic spine – broomstick always keeping one side on the floor.
- Fix rounded shoulders – Face pulls – Thumbs up and back
- Nerd neck fix – Tennis ball under chin and weight on forehead. Back and up to flat. Tuck the chin back to activate the deep neck flexors (Longus Colli)
- Fixing the pelvis if your hamstrings are tight. – Hamstring / calf stretch with arm extension forward – This may not be everyones issue – does not fix anterior pelvic tilt.
My trials at fixing PF
Rewatching this video whilst writing this post, I realised that I’d forgotten a lot of what Jeff had said. Thus I’ll be incorporating into my regular exercises.
However, I think the Plantar fasciitis came about because I’d had time away from any activity when I moved to Brisbane for a while. I was not training like I normally do and I was sitting on a chair in front of a laptop computer all day. I think the sitting in front of a computer all day seriously slows the blood flow to the calves via the underside of the leg. It’s not an issue if you’re doing decent regular exercise, but the subtle restriction of a chair all day long adds up over time. Several months later I decided to get back into exercise. I did all my normal stretching and then jogging. Thing about being fit once before is that your brain still thinks it is where it was fitness wise. I think this is where plantar fasciitis started.
An interesting point I just learnt. The muscle can start to stretch out in over 30 seconds, but the fascia needs at least 2 minutes per stretch.
Bike riding to loosen muscles below the knee
Also I used to ride for at least half an hour per day in hilly country. Recently I’d only been riding for a maximum of 15 minute bursts in flat country. Thus the blood flow to the whole leg region doesn’t really get going. In my opinion I don’t think bike riding get blood flow in the legs happening till you’ve been in the saddle for at least 30 minutes with at least 8-10 minutes of that being uphill. When I say uphill I mean that you should be sweating after a ride on a 20 degree celcius day at at least 50% humidity.
4 days ago my lower calves (soleous) were so tight that the muscles were lumpy . After 3 days of riding the muscle tissue is smooth once again. That’s 25-35minutes out and the same again back. After the 1st days ride the sore heel was worse in the morning, but I figured that was because I am unfit. The days after were better.
Stretching before stepping out of bed in the morning
The other note which seemed to be a major point in why it went away before was that I’d stretch before getting out of bed. Spending a few minutes pulling my toes back. I really think this reduced the pain standing out of bed first thing and that pain might have been the fascia around the soleus retearing.
This time when it came back a few weeks ago. I’d been unfit. I rode the bike on the flat <15minutes to the gym and did a legs workout. I think squats to the floor must have done it, but also just generally not being warmed up enough from a decently long aerobic bike ride.