Getting Rid of Plantar Fasciitis May Be Easier Than You Think

by | Aug 10, 2018 | Heel and Arch Pain

Nothing can put a grinding halt to your “get up and go” attitude like a sharp, stabbing pain in your heels as soon as you get up. If you have lived with heel pain like this for a while, the term “plantar fasciitis” may have started to enter your vernacular. It is the most common cause of the heel pain we regularly see in our office. If it’s the cause of your pain, then you’re far from the only one who knows what you’re going through. There tends to be a big complication among many plantar fasciitis sufferers, though: they don’t try to do anything to fight their heel pain! For every person who comes through our doors seeking treatment, there are plenty more who just silently bear with their discomfort. That just sounds miserable! In many cases, plantar fasciitis can be very much improved through conservative methods. Even a few lifestyle changes can make a big difference! So how about we make a deal? We will discuss some simple things you can do at home to help with your heel pain, and if your heels are still bothering you after that, it’s time to give us a call, OK? (Really, we are perfectly fine with you giving us a call now, if you want, but we thought we’d give you more options.)

Get Some Foot Rest

Among the best remedies for just about any type of injury or irritation is taking a break from the activities that may have been causing it. If you have been into running and other types of athletic training, that might mean taking a small hiatus, or temporarily switching up your activities to something less wearing on your feet, such as swimming or cycling. The plantar fascia needs time to heal just like any other part of you. Plantar Fasciitis

Ice Yourself

When it comes to the powers of heat, cold, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on plantar fasciitis, cold tends to be the type of therapy that has the greatest effect on people. Applying a cold compress to the heel and bottom of the foot for no more than 20 minutes at a time can be a helpful way to provide relief. It may especially be worth trying about 20 minutes before you go to bed, as well. Instead of a compress, one little trick is to fill a plastic water bottle with water (but not all the way!) and stick it in your freezer. When you want to chill your heel, take the bottle out and use it as a roller against the bottom of your foot!

Get Stretching

So why does plantar fasciitis hurt so darn much in the morning or after being inactive? Because your plantar fascia and surrounding connections are likely tight. Once you start to move around, they loosen up and things tend to improve. If you regularly engage in stretching, however, you can help reduce this irritation and, usually, the pain. The water bottle trick above is not only a good icing maneuver, it helps stretch the area as well! You can do the same with a tennis ball, if you wish. Here are some other stretches to try:
  • Calf Stretches will help loosen tight calf muscles, which can place strain on the plantar fasciia.
    • Stand at arm’s length facing a wall
    • Place one foot behind the other
    • Slowly bend your front leg forward, keeping your back knee straight and back heel on the ground
    • Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
    • Switch the positions of your feet and perform 3 more repetitions
  • Toe Stretches help you loosen up from the other end of your plantar fasciia.
    • Sit in a chair and cross one leg over the other
    • Grasp the big toe of the foot you crossed over (the one off the ground) and pull it gently toward you
    • Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
    • Reverse the position of your legs and repeat with the other foot
  • Towel Stretches focuses on the area in-between the areas of the previous two exercises.
    • Sit in a chair
    • Use a towel folded lengthwise to create a strap (if you have a fitness band, that can work too)
    • Place the strap beneath the arches of both feet
    • Keeping the ends of the strap in your hands, gently pull the tops of your feet toward you
    • Hold 15-30 seconds and repeat 3 times

Try Taping

Kinesiology tape (you know, the kind you sometimes see on runners) has the potential to stretch muscles and tissues, as well as provide support. However, unless you are a trainer or physical therapist (or know someone else who is), you might not know the proper technique to benefit your condition. And even if you do, it might not still have much of an effect. It is only recommended if you know what you’re doing.

What if None of This Works that Well?

In some cases, the above treatments can be enough to make plantar fasciitis pain vanish. If so, we’re happy for you! In other cases, though, pain and problems can persist. If that is your story, then it’s time to visit Kansas Foot Center for a closer look. A professional examination can help narrow down the specific causes of your plantar fasciitis. Knowing this, treatment can be directed more specifically toward the problem. This might mean a different approach toward stretching or changing your lifestyle. It might also mean more advanced treatments such as custom orthotics, night splints, or physical therapy. We might even recommend laser therapy for treating pain and aiding recovery. In rare cases, surgery might be considered. Whatever the recommendations, we will be sure to discuss them in full detail with you and answer any questions you may have. Don’t let heel pain from plantar fasciitis or any other cause put a damper on your daily life. Call us today at (866) 222-5177 or fill out our online form to have our staff reach out to you.