Best foot forward
Our feet are feat of engineering, 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons give us a platform to walk, run, jump and climb off. The adaptability and versatility of the human foot means that we are the only species that on the planet that can walk upright on two legs which is a key factor in how we became the dominant species. The mechanics of the foot allow the translation of momentum through the heel to the big toes where we are propelled forward with a kinetic wave that moves through the spine to our skull and back. Therefore, any dysfunction in the feet can be reflected into the anywhere in the body.
Modern life isn’t good for our feet, we spend too much time off our feet (feet require weight baring to keep all the tissues strong), our shoes are designed for form over function (don’t believe me, stand on a piece of paper and draw an outline of your foot, then overlay and outline of your shoe, how thin are your shoes?) in short we abuse are feet then are surprised that they hurt.
One common problem, increasingly prevalent as we age, is plantar fasciitis. To explain the definition of the condition, plantar refers to the underside of the foot, fascia is connective tissue (think layers of cling film that keep the layers of muscle and ligament from rubbing during movement) and itis simply means inflammation, therefore inflammation of the connective tissue on the sole of the foot.
The exact causes of plantar fasciitis are not know but, as mentioned above, lack of movement, the wrong movement and I’ll fitting shoes all contribute as does anything that causes inflammation, poor diet, stress and lack of sleep.
So what can you do?
Firstly, see a qualified professional who understands how the foot functions to ensure you feet are working optimally, click here to find out more.
Secondly, spend as much time as possible barefooted or in minimal shoes. Third, stretch your feet by kneeling down with you toes tucked under your feet. Forth, Wiggle your big toes, aim for 90 times each direction. Lastly, roll a golf or tennis ball under the soles of your feet. Repeat these exercises regularly, at least 5 times a day for at least 15 minutes. More is better, you want to feel like you have have stretched and loosened the sole of your feet.
Supplements that may help…
Turmeric and Omega 3 fish oil may be helpful to reduce inflammation. A review of clinical research by Thorne Research showed that curcumin, a component of turmeric, has significant anti-inflammatory properties that can improve injuries like muscle strain, sprains, and plantar fasciitis. One study conducted by the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre found that when mice were given curcumin for one month, several markers of inflammation (like paw thickness) decreased significantly. Shop for turmeric here
Omega 3 fish oils are known for its powerful anti inflammatory properties, choose an oil high in omega 3 with a good DHA and EPA break down like Wiley’s Finest Omega 3
Diet and Lifestyle
What you eat and drink can impact on inflammation in your body. Avoid sugary foods, alcohol and processed foods that cause inflammation in the body. Make sure your diet contains good sources of protein so you are getting all your essential amino acids. Only meat and animal products contain complete proteins, if you are vegetarian or vegan make sure you are having at least two vegetarian types of protein in a meal to ensure you are getting all your essential amino acids. Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and Salmon contain omega 3, as do walnuts, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds and are a great addition to your diet because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
Eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruit to get your RDA’s of vitamins and minerals and drink plenty of water. Look after your gut health, eat fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and miso to help populate your gut with good bacteria or consider a probiotic supplement. It is also important to manage your stress levels, stress contributes to inflammation. If you would like more help with your diet and how you can manage planter Fasciitis click here to find out about a nutrition therapy consultation.
Author Taz Faruqi
BSc HONS, DIP ION, mBANT, mCNHC
Take Your Health Back