Tips to help you to find fast relief from foot pain
If you feel a sudden sharp, stabbing pain in your foot, especially in the heel area first thing in the morning, you might be suffering from plantar fasciitis. Any activity that causes stress to the heels is a problem that can result in foot pain and inflammation. Fortunately, plantar fasciitis is a common condition that’s treatable at home, so you can get fast relief and be back on your feet running or however you like to workout, soon.
How does one get Plantar Fasciitis?
The human foot is a complicated appendage. There are 19 muscles, 37 joints, 107 ligaments, and many tendons. The plantar fascia ligaments run along the bottom length of each foot and the arch of your foot. They can become inflamed and often develop heel spurs if left untreated. While plantar fasciitis often occurs in athletes or runners, anyone who works on their feet all day or does a sports that has them on their feet, is at risk. It can come on quickly–wear an ill-fitting pair of shoes over the weekend with no support and you might end up with the condition.
Additional causes of plantar fasciitis include:
- High arches
- Flat feet
- Tight Achilles tendons
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis at Home
When exploring how to treat plantar fasciitis at home you will find a variety of possible treatments such as stretches, exercises and other at-home options.
- Applying an ice pack: Using an ice pack reduces inflammation and eases the pain.
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist offers many exercises and therapies that might help cure the condition.
- Stretching: Loosens the calf muscle and Achilles heel.
- Rehabilitation: With rehabilitation, you might undergo stretching exercises and massage to strengthen the entire foot and ankle.
- Shoe inserts: Offers arch support and compression.
- Night splints: Offers compression to reduce swelling, offload tension and ease the pain.
- Sleep: The importance of sleep to help the body heal should never be underestimated.
- Avoid high impact foot exercises: Such exercises jar the foot and may make the pain worse.
- Plantar fasciitis socks: Compress the foot and offer support.
- Massage: Relieves pain and brings relaxation.
- KT Tape: Provides compression and pain relief.
- Lose weight if necessary: Carrying excessive weight puts daily pressure on your feet.
- Supportive Shows that offer good arch support: Support is important to avoid swelling and control pain.
While I can’t vouch for it, others swear by foot rockers such as the Powerstep UltraFlexx Foot Rocker tool. This plastic tool holds the foot in a proper position to stretch and strengthen muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the foot and lower leg. These deep stretches can provide pain relief to people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.
Stretches to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
Performing stretches to stretch the plantar fascia three to four times per week can help relieve pain. You’ll need to do them regularly to get effective results.
Here is a list of plantar fasciitis stretches:
Wall Calf Stretch
Tight calves often cause foot pain. Sitting is a major cause of discomfort. Wall calf stretches are a great way to loosen up the calves.
- Stand so you are facing a wall
- Place your hands flat against the wall at eye level
- Hold one leg back so that your heel is flat on the ground
- Move the other leg forward and bend your knee
- Rotate your back foot so it turns slightly inward
- Slowly lean against the wall as you stretch your calf muscles.
- Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds
- Return to the starting position
- Repeat three times
Crossover Fascia Stretch
This exercise focuses on the muscles in your feet. You can control the intensity of this stretch.
- Sit in a chair
- Cross your other knee
- Grab your toes with your hand and pull them towards your shin until you feel a stretch in your arch
- Hold this stretch for 15 seconds
- Repeat three times per foot
You’ll need a chair to perform Ballet Raises. The move increases flexibility in the calves and feet. This exercise is similar to reach Reach and Stretch exercise above.
- Bend the injured foot slightly
- Raise the arch of your foot but keep the big toe on the ground
- Hold the position
- Bend at the waist while reaching forward with your far hand
- Avoid bending your knee more
- Perform 2 sets of 15
Step-Up Arch Extensions
A tendon called the posterior tibial tendon supports the arch in your foot. If the posterior tibial tendon weakens, becomes inflamed, or suffers damage then the arch can fall.
- Using a stair, stand so that ball of your foot is on the step
- Lower your heal downward toward the step until you feel the stretch
- Maintain the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat three times
Performing the above exercises at least three to four times might help you conquer plantar fasciitis. However, even if you diligently workout with these stretches you might still suffer problems. Some people with plantar fasciitis have to seek medical help and undergo physical therapy and rehab exercises to improve their condition if it is severe.
—Dr. Kristina DeMatas
Dr. Kristina DeMatas is a Primary Care and Sports Medicine Physician based in Jacksonville, Florida. Her website is SportyDoctor.com.