What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a common foot condition that causes pain and inflammation in the heel and bottom of the foot.
It is often characterised by sharp, stabbing pain in the heel or arch of the foot, especially when standing or walking after long periods of rest or inactivity. If left untreated, plantar fasciitis can become a chronic condition that significantly affects a person’s quality of life.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help fix plantar fasciitis and alleviate the pain it causes.
Here are some tips on how to help fix plantar fasciitis:
- Rest and reduce activities. The first step in treating plantar fasciitis is to give your feet a chance to rest and heal. This means reducing or eliminating activities that put extra strain on your feet, such as running or standing for long periods of time. If you must be on your feet for work or other reasons, try to take regular breaks to rest and stretch your feet.
- Stretch your feet. Stretching the muscles and tendons in your feet can help to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. Some stretches that may be helpful include:
- Toe stretches. Sit with your legs extended in front of you and use your fingers to gently pull your toes back towards your shins. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then release and repeat a few times.
- Calf stretches. Stand facing a wall with your hands pressed against the wall. Step back with one foot and bend your front leg, keeping your back leg straight. You should feel a stretch in the calf of your back leg. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then release and repeat a few times.
- Arch stretches. Sit with your legs extended in front of you and loop a towel around the ball of one foot. Gently pull the towel towards you to stretch the arch of your foot. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then release and repeat a few times.
- Get some insoles. Wearing shoes that offer adequate support and cushioning can help to reduce the strain on your feet and prevent plantar fasciitis from worsening. Look for shoes with a firm, supportive heel, good arch support, and plenty of cushioning. Avoid wearing shoes with thin soles or high heels, as these can put extra strain on your feet. You can get insoles to help with shoes you already own.
- Use ice to reduce inflammation. Applying ice to your heels and the bottoms of your feet can help to reduce inflammation and numb the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. To use ice to treat your plantar fasciitis, wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
- Try over-the-counter pain medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help to reduce inflammation and alleviate the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Have a chat with a pharmacist at Boots; don’t bother your GP with things like this.
- Use inserts or orthotics. If your shoes do not provide enough support or cushioning, you may want to consider using inserts or orthotics to help relieve the strain on your feet. These devices can be purchased over the counter, or you can visit a podiatrist to have some specially fitted for you, and can help to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis.
- Try physical therapy. Working with a fitness professional, like us at Real World Fitness in Nottingham, can be an effective treatment option for plantar fasciitis, particularly if the condition is chronic or severe. We can teach you exercises and stretches to help improve flexibility and strength in your feet, ankles and legs in general. Often, simply increasing your activity levels in a targeted way can reduce the worst symptoms in a matter of weeks.
Get in touch with us – we work with a network of osteopaths, sports massage therapists and physiotherapists that can help us create a unique training plan for you and get you moving again!
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