Are you feeling a stabbing pain through your heel in the mornings? Are you concerned that it may be plantar fasciitis? Plantar fasciitis refers to a condition where there is an inflamed plantar fascia (the sheath that runs across the sole and connects the heel of the foot with the toes). Patients report a stabbing sensation of pain close to the heel and usually during the morning. It commonly occurs soon after taking the first steps after waking up. It can also occur after long periods of sitting down.
Plantar fasciitis does not usually require surgery to fix. You can often treat it with at-home physical therapy alternatives. Here are four simple recommendations for plantar fasciitis.
Wearing the Right Shoes
The best way to prevent and treat plantar fasciitis is by wearing the appropriate shoes. Shoes should be shock-absorbent and have adequate arch support. Athletic shoes are often a good option for patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. Most athletic shoes have a sufficient amount of cushioning for the soles of your feet, lowering the pain and inflammation on the heel. This cushioning will also provide relief while aiding in recovery. The high arches found in many popular running shoes may also provide enough support for your feet.
Working stretches into your daily routine is another great way to help relieve the pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Here are a few stretches you may want to try:
- Stretching your calf muscles can help extend the plantar fascia of your foot. Start by leaning your hands against a wall with the affected knee straightened in front. Once you feel the stretching sensation, hold this position for 10 seconds. You may repeat this stretch 3-4 times.
- Try the rolling stretch. Place a round object (such as a tennis ball or foam roller) underneath the sole of your foot. Roll the ball or roller from the toes to the heel and back to help elongate and massage the foot muscles.
Icing the Area
Icing the painful area of the foot is another way to alleviate pain from plantar fasciitis. You may refer to the following directions when icing feet for plantar fasciitis pain:
- Allow the affected area to rest from extreme pressure for 1-2 days, avoiding performing any strenuous exercise. Complete rest (with no pressure at all on the foot) could produce a different kind of inflammation, so gentle walking is appropriate.
- Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time to the affected area to help reduce inflammation.
- Wrap the affected area with a compress to help avoid swelling.
- Keep the foot elevated when sitting to give it additional rest. This elevated rest can be especially beneficial during sleep.
Wearing a Night Splint
Putting a splint on your foot at night is another way to help heal plantar fasciitis. Splits help relieve pressure on the foot muscles by holding the foot in an upright position so that the plantar fascia and Achilles tendons are stretched out. By resting at night with the fascia and Achilles tendon stretched, muscles on the soles of the feet are lengthened instead of being tucked forwards. The forward position can increase the inflammation that causes plantar fasciitis.
These simple remedies may relieve the symptoms and pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Most people will respond to these positively. However, if you find that this treatment is not helpful and your symptoms persist, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a licensed medical foot doctor. At Best Foot Doctor, we take pride in providing excellent care for problems like plantar fasciitis. Please call our office to schedule an appointment with us.