Common pains, uncommon curesSome serious sports injuries can be cured or prevented by uncovering their hidden causes
If you roll your ankle, you pretty much know why it hurts. That's a straightforward sports injury, and it's easy to treat. But sometimes, active guys come to me with nagging, debilitating, and ultimately infuriating injuries that just won't go away. I tell them the problem might be that they're not looking at the right body part. Some of the most common sports injuries can be helped by considering the not-so-obvious.
The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot; the inflammation and pain you're experiencing are due to excessive tension in the fascia. This injury has been known to linger for months.
The plantar fascia connects to the calcaneus, or heel bone. The problem is that your calf muscles (by way of the Achilles tendon) connect there too. When those muscles are tight, the Achilles pulls on the heel bone from above, stretching the fascia and causing strain.
Rolling your foot on a tennis ball helps loosen the fascia, and you can also attack the problem from above by loosening your calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Try this for several minutes, several times a day: Sit on the floor with your right leg straight and a foam roller beneath your right ankle. Cross your left ankle over your right ankle. Put your hands flat on the floor and keep your back naturally arched. Roll your body forward until the roller reaches the back of your right knee; roll back. Repeat with the other leg.
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