Plantar fasciitis is an extremely painful condition caused by inflammation of the thick tissue, or fascia, that run along the bottom of the foot. Who gets it? Typically, long distance runners, people with low arches who run in shoes without proper arch support, and those with a muscular imbalance in the hips or pelvis which places more stress on one leg than the other. Here are some tips for relieving the pain by one of our Westchester Health specialists, podiatrist John Viscovich, DPM, MBA, FACFAS.
5 things you can do at home to relieve plantar fasciitis pain
Stretch the fascia
Stretching everything in your lower legs, feet and ankles several times a day can help minimize the pain. Before your feet hit the ground in the morning, actively flex your ankles a couple of times to stretch the calf muscles, and extend your toes. Pull your toes up with your hand until you feel a stretch along the ball of your foot. You may feel the stretch anywhere from the ball of your foot to your heel. Holding this position for 30 seconds a few times can make a world of difference in your pain levels. Once you’re out of bed, pay particular attention to stretching and strengthening your calf muscles and other leg muscles throughout the day.
Roll a frozen water bottle under your arch
Applying ice helps control inflammation. Freeze a water bottle and roll it under your foot for 10 minutes at the end of each day, paying particular attention to your arch.
Wear a night splint
To prevent the soft tissue in your foot from tightening during the night, a night splint is very effective. Looking somewhat like a shoe boot but not as solid, a night splint keeps the angle of your foot and lower leg at 85-90 degrees, the optimal level of stretch for relieving plantar fasciitis. Wearing a splint to bed might be awkward (for you and your partner) but if you wear it faithfully for a temporary period of time, your foot will soon feel a lot better and your plantar fasciitis may go away altogether.
Tennis ball massage
Even tight shoulders can cause plantar fasciitis if your arm swing throws off your proper hip alignment and the way your feet strike the ground. A standard tennis ball can help keep your muscles loose. Place the ball on the floor and gently roll it under your foot for a few minutes to loosen up your plantar fascia. Then lying on the ball, move it up your legs, back and shoulders, all the way to your neck. Put enough pressure on the ball to get a deep massage. You may feel some soreness but back off if you feel overwhelming pain.
Support your arch
Because the bottoms of your feet are sore and painful from plantar fasciitis, you need to offer them protection and relief. The best shoes for this are hiking boots. The stiff sole protects the foot while it heals, the rocker-bottom shape of the boot sole relieves stress on the foot, and the leather uppers give the entire ankle and foot more stability. If you’re not the hiking boot type, buy an insole (a commercial one from a podiatrist, not over-the-counter) with an arch bump to push on the plantar and keep it from flexing. Wear this support in all your shoes, if possible.
By following these simple treatments, your plantar fasciitis should hopefully go away altogether
After a few weeks of icing, massaging, stretching and supporting, your plantar fasciitis will hopefully be cured and the pain will stop.
If you’re experiencing plantar fasciitis pain
If you think (or know) that you have plantar fasciitis, make an appointment to come see me at one of my Westchester Health offices. I’ll examine your heels, ankles and feet, evaluate your condition, and together with you, determine the best course of treatment to alleviate and hopefully, eliminate your pain. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.