Plantar fasciitis is the painful inflammation of the band of ligaments that runs from the toes to the heel of the foot.
Once the swelling subsides and the initial, severe foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis is under control, you can begin some simple rehab techniques: massaging and stretching.
The 3 Easiest & Best Steps to recover from this painful condition with the greatest results are these:
Step 1 - Massage
Gingerly massage your foot as often as you can, slowly stretching and contracting the plantar fascia. Sometimes you can find a massage therapist who is trained and specialised to treat foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis. If you live at the Sunshine Coast, come and see me (Sand), as I will be able to help. For bookings, please contact me here.
Step 2 - Golf Ball
As soon as your pain subsides enough to even consider trying this one, place a golf ball on the floor and, from a seated position, gently roll it along the bottom of your foot. This will release the tension in the fascia of the foot.
Step 3 - Stretching
As your foot becomes less tender, you can start gently stretching it. Gently stretching your feet, calves, and Achilles tendon every day will keep them loose and feeling fine.
Plantar fasciitis can seem at its worst in the mornings when you first get up and at the end of the day, after you have been on your feet all day. Plan on stretching several times a day, at around these times. Doing foot exercises when going to bed and before getting up in the morning warms up the plantar muscle in the arch of the foot.
Some recommended stretches for plantar fasciitis include:
A) While sitting, stretch your legs straight out in front of you and curl your toes toward your body for a nice stretch.
B) Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and a towel draped around the ball of your foot. Use the ends of the towel to slowly pull your toes toward you, stretching your plantar fascia. Hold for 30 seconds and release. Repeat this stretch ten times on each foot.
C) Stand with your hands flat against a wall at shoulder height, with elbows bent. With your feet flat on the floor, slightly bend the front knee and straighten the back leg. Slowly push yourself away from the wall to stretch your calf and Achilles tendon.
D) Keep the heel on the floor and lift all of the toes off the floor. Tap only the big toe to the floor while keeping the outside four toes in the air. Next, keep the big toe in the air and tap the other four toes to the floor.
E) To stretch the plantar fascia, stand facing a wall. With the heel on the floor, the toes rest against the wall. Make an upward movement with the ankle by bringing the knee towards the wall. The toes are extended, stretching the plantar fascia.
When the above stretching exercises start to feel good, it may be time to move on to the stair steps:
F) On the edge of a step, stand on the balls of your feet, then very slowly and gradually lower your heels. Return to the starting position and repeat several times. You can do this exercise three or four times each day to keep your plantar fascia and connecting tissues limber and less likely to become injured again.
If these 3 Easiest & Best Steps aren't serving their purpose for you and you still aren't experiencing relieve from the pain, then some other solutions may help. They include:
- Consider bracing your foot at night
- Some people recommend wearing a boot or night splint to keep the plantar fascia gently stretched during sleep. Sometimes heavy bedding or tightly tucked in bottom sheets causes the foot to plantar flex at night, exacerbating the problem. If taking heavy bedding off feet or loosening the sheets doesn’t help, a nighttime brace may be a good idea. The brace keeps the foot from dropping, and prevents it from pointing the toes at night which would allow the muscles to shorten, and in turn cause pain.
If all the above doesn't seem to help, you may find that using orthotics or shoe inserts will help reduce your symptoms and prevent future flare-ups.