Plantar Fasciitis Treatments for an Active Lifestyle

by Matt Weik

lantar fasciitis is one of the common causes of heel pain. It occurs when the thick band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot becomes irritated and inflamed. The plantar fascia runs across the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes.

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes what many consider a stabbing pain with your first steps in the morning after hopping out of bed. As you get up and move more, the pain usually decreases. Still, it might return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a prolonged seated position.

Who generally suffers more from plantar fasciitis? Plantar fasciitis is prevalent in runners. In addition, overweight people and those who wear shoes with inadequate support have an increased risk of plantar fasciitis.

Treatment for plantar fasciitis may include stretching exercises, oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, orthotics, taping or strapping to rest strained muscles and tendons, physical therapy, and occasional corticosteroid medications. Plantar fasciitis usually responds well to conservative treatment within a few months.

5 Plantar Fasciitis Treatments

Recovering from plantar fasciitis is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take several months for the pain to subside. However, several treatments can help you work through the pain and keep you on your feet.

1.      Stretches

The first is to perform a series of stretches before getting out of bed in the morning and before bed at night. The second you can do to help is to do the stretches throughout the day as well. To perform the stretches, try these steps:

Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you. Loop one end of a towel around the foot of your injured side and hold the other end with both hands. Gently pull back on the towel until you feel the tension in your calf and foot. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, then release it. Repeat three times, then switch legs and repeat with the other foot.

Stand facing a wall and place your hands flat against it for support. Extend one leg behind you with your toes pointing down toward the floor and lean forward until you feel your calf and foot tension. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, then release it. Repeat three times, then switch legs and repeat with the other foot.

2.      Use a Lacrosse Ball

Use this as a foot massage to relieve tension and improve mobility as part of your warm-up routine. Before rolling, you can use a foam roller to help warm up your calves and feet if you wish.

Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Place the lacrosse ball under your arches or the heel of your foot, depending on where you feel most tension and pain. Take one leg and cross it over another, placing the foot on top of the knee. Lean forward into your foot and apply pressure with body weight, holding for 20-30 seconds. You can also move side to side or roll the ball under your arches to hit different areas of your feet.

3.      Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint

Night splints are a standard treatment option for people suffering from plantar fasciitis. You have to wear the device overnight to stretch the calf and arch without causing any discomfort. The splint prevents your toes from curling under during sleep, which can cause stiffness when you wake up in the morning.

Doctors commonly recommend night splints for people who wake up with stiff feet or difficulty walking. These devices help improve mobility and reduce inflammation by keeping the plantar fascia stretched during sleep. Night splints are often used in conjunction with other treatments like ice, orthotics, physical therapy, and other home remedies for plantar fasciitis.

4.      RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation

Often the first thing many people want to do when they wake up with heel pain is stretch out the foot by rubbing it. This can make the pain worse. Instead, rest the foot and apply ice to reduce inflammation.

Use a frozen water bottle or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel and apply for 10 to 20 minutes. You can repeat this process every hour for 2 or 3 days or until the inflammation and pain subsides.

5.      Shoe Inserts

The next step is to wear arch support inside your shoes. This will help prevent any future damage to the plantar fascia. You can buy these at most pharmacies or supermarkets. Still, if your pain does not improve, you may need custom orthotics from a podiatrist.

Orthotics are shoe inserts that help support and cushion your heel as you walk or run. If you didn’t want to go the route of seeing a podiatrist just yet, you can buy orthotics in most pharmacies and even online. They often have arch support that can help relieve pain from plantar fasciitis.

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