Most of us looking to relieve heel and ankle pain ask ourselves this very question at one time or another: “But why do I have this pain now?” especially when we’ve never had an injury or this kind of heel/ankle pain before.
There is one very good reason for why “now” is the time you’re experiencing foot, ankle, or heel pain. (And for many of our readers, it’s “Why now—again!”)
Calf tightness explained through a familiar analogy and a breakdown of the definitive treatment you’ve been looking for.
A Process that Happens Over Time
It’s 5 PM and the family is getting ready to go out to eat.
Mary is unpacking her bags. She’s on vacation, across the country, visiting her daughter’s family. Mary just turned 51, and the family will be going out to celebrate.
As she goes to get dressed for the evening, she discovers the pair of pants she keeps at her daughter’s house for when she visits, no longer fits!
She probably hasn’t worn the black pair of pants in a two or more years. But nonetheless, she’s still a bit surprised they don’t fit.
“Have I gained weight?”
The answer is yes, slowly, over time, she has put on body fat.
It’s no secret that weight gain happens for a variety of reasons. Mary—a creature of habit—hasn’t stopped going to yoga. She has remained active as usual.
She hasn’t stopped eating healthy, either.
What has changed is her body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR), and therefore the minimum amount of calories the bodies needs has decreased. That means that over time, her usual caloric intake is greater based on her new metabolism.
Despite being a small, unnoticeable change, a decreased BMR leads to a gradual gain of weight in most of us as we age. And, at a certain point, we then notice the weight gain. Maybe it’s looking a photo. Or maybe it’s looking in the mirror one day. Or, like for Mary, maybe it’s putting on a pair of pants that don’t fit, then we realize what has happened.
The Pain in Your Foot & Heel
Recall that your plantar fascia connects from the base of your heel bone to your toes. The calf muscle at the back of your leg becomes your Achilles tendon as it narrows down to the heel bone. It’s all connected like a chain, calf-Achilles tendon-heel bone-plantar fascia-toes, so the tension on one is equal to the tension on the other as you walk.
When your calf is too tight, so is your plantar fascia.
Aging also means we have decreased elasticity in our body’s tissue. Combine these factors with how as we age, we are often less active. Many people reading this sit at a desk for much of the day, for example. Just like how we one day look in the mirror and see that we have really gained weight (!), one day we get out of bed, and feel the vicious pain telling us our calves are too tight.
What is the difference between metabolic changes that leads to an insidious, unwelcome weight gain with aging and calves that get too tight as we age?
The difference is that you are very aware that your metabolism will change (unless you just climbed out from under a rock), and you accept that in order to keep your weight down, you must change your habits! Yet, when it comes to your calf and the problems it causes in the foot, many people aren’t aware of what needs to be done each day to eliminate or prevent their tight calves.
Symptoms vs. Cause
So many of our foot and ankle problems are caused by a tight calf.
Your calf is charged with elongating with each step you take—and that’s after it is shortened while you are at rest. You can see why this “re-stretching” can put stress on your “chain” causing the characteristic pain and stiffness when you first get up. It’s the “weak link” in your foot, the plantar fascia that is inflamed, irritated, and demanding of your attention. But it is your calf that is the problem.
With increased mechanical stress on your bone, joints, tendons and ligaments of your foot, the good news is that calf tightness is reversible.
Change Your Daily Habits Or Stick with the Pain
It’s no mystery that we gain weight as we age, and that we need to be vigil in our habits to control it.
If you’re willing to change your habits to adjust for your CHANGES IN METABOLISM, why not do the same for your foot?
Want to know more about the One Stretch, or have a testimonial to share? Visit here to read more about plantar fasciitis and email us at customer (at) onestretch.com if you have a testimonial we can share.