Stretching your foot should not cause discomfort, so if you experience pain or a burning sensation you may be experiencing plantar fasciitis, a heel spur or pain from an injury. In some cases, the pain may disappear on its own; however, seek medical attention from your family doctor or podiatrist if the pain lasts more than one week.
It’s not concrete what causes plantar fasciitis. Some argue that inflammation causes the burning at the arch of the foot, but the counter-argument is there are no inflammatory cells within the arch. The Sports Injury Clinic says plantar fasciitis is caused by overuse of the arch tendon of the foot and the pain is caused by degeneration of collagen fibers. If plantar fasciitis is left untreated, it can result in heel spurs which can cause pain. If the spur breaks off it can become mobile within your body, lodging itself between bones that make up joints, causing intermittent locking. There are several causes of foot trauma that can cause pain and burning if the foot is stretched, such as mechanical overload on the arch or a cut.
Plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and foot trauma all cause pain and possible burning if your foot is stretched. Plantar fasciitis may be most noticeable when you first wake up and after long periods of rest. You can also feel pain in the heel and sometimes the arch if you press down with your thumb. Common sports activities that cause plantar fasciitis are running, dancing and jumping. A heel spur will feel like a bony protrusion on the heel, and it will cause irritation of the connective tissue. If your heel spur breaks off from its original location, you could lose range of motion. Foot trauma is easy to identify if you have a cut, but the pain and burning caused by overload may be more difficult to identify.
To treat plantar fasciitis and mechanical overload you need to rest and ice the arch of your foot. Although stretching will be painful and cause burning, stretching is an important part of recovery. For plantar fasciitis, taping the foot in strips across the plantar fascia can also take stress off the foot so it can heal faster. If the pain is caused from a heel spur, take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Surgery may be required for a heel spur. In case of a cut, clean and cover the injury to prevent an infection.
To prevent plantar fasciitis, avoid wearing high heels, especially if you will be standing for long periods of time. Wear soft leather uppers, shock-absorbing soles and removable foot insoles, recommends Foot.com. If you live an active lifestyle, wear shoes appropriate for your activity such as shoes specific for running or hiking. Appropriate footwear will not only support your arches, but it will also prevent injuries if you step on a sharp object.