Foot Intrinsic muscles for plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common injuries in the workforce. It has long been hypothesized that weakness in the intrinsic muscles of the foot is associated with the development of plantar fasciitis.
Many patients with plantar fasciitis will ask if they need to strengthen their foot muscles to improve their condition. Intuitively, many sufferers feel that with their pain, they have probably lost the muscle strength of the foot and, therefore, that it must be part of the rehabilitation. So, do people with plantar fasciitis need to strengthen foot muscles?
The answer is "yes" for the vast majority of cases.
Does Intrinsic Foot Muscle Weakness Contribute To The Development Of Plantar Fasciitis?
One study found that atrophy (reduction in muscle size) of intrinsic muscles in the forefoot may contribute to plantar fasciitis. The proposed mechanism was that a reduction in the intrinsic size of the muscles of the foot can negatively affect the arch by destabilizing it.
A guide with exercisesInterestingly, the loss of intrinsic muscle strength in the foot associated with muscle atrophy must be a contributing factor in the development of plantar fasciitis. Yet, few have ever heard of specific exercises to improve the fitness of their feet. However, you will be surprised at how stable, strong and healthy feet will get you further, faster, and without pain.
If you suffer from plantar fasciitis or have had it in the past, I specifically recommend these three exercises:
- Traction of the muscles of the plantar arch
- strengthening and stretching of the posterior chain
- Intrinsic muscles
However, the difference in intrinsic foot muscle volume between people with plantar fasciitis and those without it has remained relatively unknown until this study.
The researchThe study examined the relationship between intrinsic muscle size in the footand the incidence of plantar fasciitis. The study involved 20 runners, 10 of whom had chronic bilateral plantar fasciitis for more than 2 years and 10 who, however, did not have plantar fasciitis.
The intrinsic muscle volumes of the participants' right feet were scanned by MRI. Subsequently, a comparison of the intrinsic muscle volumes of the foot was made between runners with and without chronic plantar fasciitis.
The study found that there was greater intrinsic muscle volume in the rear foot in healthy runners than in those with chronic plantar fasciitis. A similar finding was evident in the total intrinsic muscle volume of the foot, but this was not statistically considered to be a conclusive finding. In contrast, it is interesting to note that the forefoot volume was similar in runners with plantar fasciitis and those without.
These findings, despite the relatively small sample size, reveal that prescribing foot strengthening exercises for people with plantar fasciitis is a good thing (especially since it can't hurt).
Don't overlook other contributing factors
It should be noted that while the lack of strength and intrinsic muscle loss in the foot has been validated as a factor in the development of plantar fasciitis, other contributing factors cannot be overlooked. These include running technique, running shoes, lack of hip stability, calf flexibility, training load errors, and more.
Overcoming plantar fasciitis can be a long journey. It takes patience, good communication with the professional, and also the right therapeutic approach. Thus, the intrinsic muscle conditioning exercise of the foot is an essential approach towards the road to recovery and even as a preventive one.