Plantar Fasciatis and Carpal Tunnel: Feet/Ankles & Hands/Wrists
It's Summer time meaning flip flops and sandals, thus, shoes with less support. It also means harder off-road surfaces so placing more pressure on the feet. Overall, increasing the chances of plantar fasciatis and calf cramp.
Regarding the hands, we use them every day, but when do you take care of your hands? Also, when do you consider how you use them?
This blog contains the hows, whys, and advice to both prevent and correct problems in the feet and hands, noting that these issues can continue to the knees and hips, and elbows and shoulders!
The big toe, medically known as the hallux (plural: halluces), has been a main form of balance since we were primates. With each step, it SHOULD absorb an equal force to twice your body weight.
The less you use your big toe, it increases the pressure placed on the arch, and outside of the foot.
- The dysfunctional pressure into the arch can create flat feet and inner (medial) knee pain, which can increase IT Band tension and thus, weaker glute minimus and medius, with tighter lateral rotators such as the Piriformis (referring back to a previous blog of how the Piriformis muscle is a common cause of Sciatica).
- The lack of support from the arch means the bones of the feet become dysfunctional regarding stability, creating increased pressure on the Plantar Plate (balls of the feet), which can cause hammer toes and bunions.
Either way, the base in which we absorb our weight is dysfunctional, meaning the ankle is dealing with an imbalance of forces, thus the muscles and fascia are dysfunctional, and ankle and feet issues occur!
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:
- Where are you feet pointing - inward, straight, or outwards? Does the change at all from lying down face up, sitting, and standing?
- In both sitting and standing, are your arches high, or quite flat?
- Feel the floor under your feet - how much pressure is down the outside of the foot compared to the inside and big toe?
- Are your toes quite flat, or hooked?
- How much pressure is down the front of the foot, such as balls of the feet and toes, compared the heel at the back of the feet?
The ankle absorbs both your body weight, and the forces required with movement. If the foot doesn’t absorb the pressures with balance, be it pronation or supination, the tibia and fibia sit on the calcaneal bone with a kink, meaning the Achilles is no longer moving straight, and the bones of the feet are having to move twisted. Thus, the fascia of the foot becomes twisted and dysfunctional, the ligaments compensating and weakened, and the muscles for the feet in the lower leg become strained and tight as a consequence!
Imagine the feet are the foundations of a building, and the body above is the building. If there is imbalance in the foundations, the building will incur structural issues depending on those individual imbalances, such as the knee and hip. It requires healthy tensegrity which means tension in the integrity.
The arch of the foot is also known as the plantar diaphragm, so with healthy movement it aids circulation of blood, lymph, and water for example. A weakened arch therefore can create reduced circulation for example! Therefore, a healthy arch and feet means quicker recovery, and less prone to injury and cramp.
TOP TIP: Walk pigeon toed without looking down at the feet, you are likely to have straight feet! The more you look down at your feet, the more you flex the torso placing more pressure on the plantar plate again, so it is important to trust yourself walking "pigeon toed" with an aim for straight feet. The more rotated outwards (laterally rotated) the feet are, the more odd this will feel, but the more you practice, the easier it will become, the aim is to remobilise the feet back to function again after all!!!
TOP TIP: Sitting square so pelvis straight (no hip in front of the other for example), and feet parallel and again, one not in front of the other. Lift one heel off the floor as you scrunch the other foot up (like a "towel scrunch"). See what happens to your knees, hips and backs of the ankles - do they stay straight or collapse/twist in or out? The aim is to remain straight, thus knee cap directly in front of the hip, and the big toe with 2nd toe in line and directly in front of the knee cap.
TOP TIP: Lying down with knees at 90⁰ with feet flat against a wall, and toes pointing slightly inward, in line with knees and hips and above. Push one heel softly into the wall at the same time as you life the other heel of the wall. Alternate and repeat. Alike above, the aim is to remain straight and balanced from feet to pelvis.
TOP TIP: Roll the feet with a golf/tennis/hockey/spikey massage ball, keeping toes inward and roll from toes to heel across the whole foot. Thus, mobilise the plantar fascia to reduce pressure and tension, enabling more change back to function again!
TOP TIP: Soak the feet in Epsom Salt water. Epsom salts are Magnesium Sulphate, and the skin is permeable meaning the skin can soak up the Magnesium, which draws water back into the connective tissues, increasing hydration and reducing friction. This consequently relaxes the nerves of the feet, which allows the connective tissues to truly relax. You can purchas