Do you have a sharp, piercing pain emanating from the sole of your foot, more so around the heel? If yes, the chances are that you are suffering from Plantar Fasciitis. Don’t worry about the medical term much; this condition is easily treatable. This article is going to explore deeply on how to treat plantar fasciitis. However, before we go further we first have to understand what this condition is all about.
Plantar fasciitis is the common culprit of heel pain, affecting scores of millions worldwide. Moreover, 1 in every 10 people suffers from this condition in their lifetime. As the name suggests, it occurs when the connective tissue plantar fascia becomes inflamed. Plantar fascia is the tissue that connects the toe to the heel of the foot; it acts as a shock absorber. The tissue is constantly tense or under stress and too much will cause it to swell and tear.
Runners or people constantly on their feet are synonymous with this condition. However, it affects a wide range of people with different lifestyles. Those obese for example can suffer from it. Certain strenuous activities like dancing and running are causative agents as well. Also walking on improper shoes can stress out the plantar fascia connective tissue.
Physicians cannot determine what really causes it, but research is underway. The pain subsides with time as the foot/ feet limber up, but treatment and management are necessary to prevent it from being worse. In a sense, leading to joint, knee, hip and back pain. Therefore, without much ado, here’s how to treat it.
Home Remedies That Work Quickly And Quite Effectively
People often ask about the cost of treatment, and I can concur it is arguably not cheap. However, there are easy DIY home remedies you can employ:
If the plantar fascia is in a constant state of tension, it comes under stress gradually. Regular stretching is key to relieve the tension. If you feel a piercing pain as you hit the floor in the morning, hold your painful foot and pull out towards you. Do this until you feel the Achilles tendon and calves stretch, and maintain for 30-40 seconds and relax. Do it three times or twice a day.
Foot Arch Band Supports
A more equally effective strategy to treat plantar fasciitis naturally is the use of Foot Arch Band Supports. It’s a small, lightweight, and durable band of arch support pads that can be wrapped around the sore foot. However, you need to ensure that you’re using the kind of support suitable for your foot type.
As I said earlier, strenuous exercise and standing on your feet too long are also causes of this condition. If you fall into this category and have bouts of pain, assess your activities and limit them if possible. Adequate rest is a treatment form that is effective during the acute phase of this condition.
As an athlete, you need to avoid any feet requiring physical activity during this phase. The key here is to limit movement as much as possible that could aggravate the condition, further making you uncomfortable. You can also substitute running for swimming, it is still an aerobic form of exercise.
After the pain has subsided, then you can continue with your workout schedule or your job. However, you will have to reduce the intensity of the workout and also reduce time spent on your feet during work hours. Limit the time spent on hard surfaces and wear shoes with appropriate sole thickness.
Complete rest is nonetheless impractical, neither is it desirable, there are still other home treatments you can employ.
Trigger Point Massage
Muscles in our body usually form tight knots called trigger points, which are soft and irritating. These points prevent muscles from relaxing and properly recovering. Trigger points can be managed by massaging the area directly. Step on a golf or tennis ball, and ensure the ball is in the arched region of the foot and rub. Do it for a few minutes twice daily. Remember to use the comfortable pressure that you can relate to.
Also, you can use a frozen water bottle, which not only massages the trigger point but also relieves the pain. Trigger point massage, when combined with stretching is even more effective.
Strengthening The Plantar Fascia
Regular foot/feet massage can mitigate this condition’s effects, but the aim is to prevent an occurrence or recurrence. Incorporate foot strengthening exercises and correct stances when walking or running. Strength exercises include picking up things with the feet, even though it sounds silly, but it is critical in the long run. You can also strengthen the calf and upper leg muscles since all leg muscles work together.
It helps to prevent an acute form of the condition from becoming chronic.
Dr. Ralph Dye invented this form of therapy. He was a podiatrist specializing in the treatment of foot pain arising from injuries. This therapy corrects the faults found in the biomechanics of the foot/feet by supporting the foot/feet arch.
This is recommended for those whom their labor demands them to be on their feet. For instance, factory workers and heavy machinery assembly technicians. Calcaneal taping minimizes pain and aids in mobility.
Since inflammation is the cause of pain, the use of ice to reduce the swelling and soothe the region by cooling is effective. Icing also hastens recovery process. You can also try “Contrast Baths,” which uses alternating hot and cold compresses to relieve the pain.
I can safely say that anybody mass index above 27 is a risk of plantar fasciitis developing. When you’re on the heavier side, your feet receive more impact with every activity you do. Proper nutrition and diet will solve the weight problem easily.
Use The Right Footwear
There are sandals for plantar fasciitis and shoes for plantar fasciitis specifically made to ease the pain on your heels. Depending on the shape and arch of your foot, there’s footwear for a pain-free stride. Also, make it a habit to change your shoes from time to time. Once a pair starts to become uncomfortable, it’s a sign that you need a new one.
Other Means Of Treatment Involve Doctors And Medication.
These are employed as a last resort and shouldn’t be used in cases of acute fasciitis, and it includes:
The Use Of NSAIDs
NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are usually administered in response to the inflammation and pain. However, they should be used with caution, and not longer than a month after onset of acute plantar fasciitis. The use of this drugs stemmed from the belief that fasciitis was an inflammatory disorder, but it’s now evident that inflammation is just a side effect.
This treatment works as a last resort after all the above fail. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory. Since this treatment will lead to other complications, it is advisable not to seek this one. Instead employ the above methods that are natural, easy to prepare and homemade.
Electro-Corporeal Shockwave Therapy
Before surgery is suggested this therapy is applied. It involves applying a regulated electric shock to the heel area. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to champion the success of this therapy.
This invasive form of treatment is often not required, since 95% of individuals make a full recovery. The 5% however, will most likely be suffering from chronic fasciitis that becomes severe.
Effective treatment is desirable and most notably addresses the symptoms. However, what’s important is to identify and fix the root cause of the issue. There is a possibility that our footwear is the problem. Are you wearing the right shoes for your feet? Most people are just concerned about the shoe fitting than if it is right. When I say right I mean, does it have a proper sole thickness, density, and material?
Proper footwear is critical, open shoes like sandals and flip-flops without arch support can be detrimental to your plantar fascia tissue. They will bring tension and stress to your feet if worn all the time. Invest in footwear that has arch support. Now I know it could be expensive to purchase some, but they are durable and will prevent fasciitis expenses altogether.
It’s a good deal if you ask me.
You can purchase a foot arch from the regular drugstore and insert it in your shoes. This is for those who find heeled shoes uncomfortable. They will relieve the tension and also provide additional support.
I know high heels are the best footwear for ladies but limit their use. And, don’t wear them regularly and for longer periods of time. Wear shoes that are symmetrically designed and are comfortable with extra room inside.