7 Ways to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

7 Ways to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

Krista Bugden |May 3, 2022

How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the connective tissue along the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed and irritated. Luckily, it is a treatable condition. Stretching, massages and using proper footwear can decrease symptoms.

The condition can make it difficult and painful to walk, so it's important to treat it quickly so you can go back to your normal lifestyle. Let's take a look at the best treatment options for plantar fasciitis.

7 Best Treatment Options

So, you have got heel pain. Now, what? You actually have quite a few options. Below offers an outline of some of the most popular ones.

1. Calf Stretching

In many cases, plantar fasciitis can be caused by tight calves or a tight Achilles heel. This usually happens due to high levels of activity without adequate stretching. Thus, part of your solution to plantar fasciitis may be stretching your calf muscles regularly.

To do so, find a wall nearby. Place both your hands on the wall and extend your affected foot back, pressing the heel down into the floor. As you do this, lean forward into the wall. You should feel a gentle stretch on your back leg. Hold here for about 20 to 30 seconds. Make sure to do both sides (this can actually help prevent plantar fasciitis from developing in both feet).

2. Use Custom Insoles

Custom insoles are fitted to your feet. This offers the support your feet and body needs, including abnormal foot motion or collapsed arches (flat feet). Often referred to as orthotics, you will need to go to a clinic or center that specializes in making these. You’ll usually go in for making the mold, then have a follow-up appointment to ensure the insoles fit correctly.

3. Wear Proper Footwear

Walking in high heels or flip-flops can lead to improper gait and foot movements. As a result, you are more likely to experience plantar fasciitis after doing so. A quick fix (and preventative tactic)? Wear proper footwear! If you are planning on walking for a set duration, put on sneakers or shoes suited to the activity. This may further involve wearing insoles made specifically for you, as mentioned above.

4. Ice the Painful Area

Icing can help reduce pain and decrease inflammation. Aim to ice your affected foot for about 10 to 15 minutes, about three to four times each day. Ensure you place a cloth between your skin and the ice pack to prevent any damage caused by the cold. It may further help to roll a cold water bottle along the bottom of your foot (this can help release tension and knots in that connective tissue). However, if this causes more pain, don’t continue.

5. Limit Physical Activity

Unfortunately, the main treatment for plantar fasciitis involves resting. This means no walking or running. Yet, you can still exercise, but you may simply need to explore different options, such as floor movements or sitting exercises over standing. Ideally, you likely want to limit your physical activity until the pain subsides.

6. Lose Weight

If excess weight is a contributing factor to your plantar fasciitis, your doctor may recommend losing weight and working toward a healthier weight. As such, you may need to change certain lifestyle habits. This may involve eating healthier and cutting out processed foods.

When it comes to exercise, you may opt for options that don’t put pressure on your feet, such as swimming or biking. The key is to start slow and gradually build up your resistance, frequency or intensity.

7. Physical Therapy

Physical therapists are knowledgeable when it comes to the musculoskeletal system and biomechanics of the body. They can help determine the reason why you are experiencing plantar fasciitis, helping you come up with strategies to reduce your pain and prevent it from happening again.

As part of your physical therapy treatment, you may undergo manual therapy, be given prescribed exercises and stretches, as well as be provided with advice on types of shoes to wear or what type of activities you can do.

Plantar Fasciitis Signs and Symptoms

The most common signs of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Pain in the heel, or near the heel.
  • Increased pain after walking or exercise.
  • Pain in the arch of the foot.
  • Increased pain in the morning.
  • Swelling in the heel.
  • Pain in the heel that goes on for months at a time.
  • A tight Achilles heel or calf muscle.

Plantar fasciitis can occur due to several reasons, such as:

  • Wearing improper footwear.
  • Carrying excess weight.
  • Running, jumping, working or walking on hard surfaces.
  • Standing for long durations.
  • Exercising without properly stretching the calves.

In Review

All in all, plantar fasciitis is treatable. You don’t have to experience ongoing heel pain for the rest of your life, nor do you have to experience recurring heel pain. Taking proper care and the proper measures to prevent it go a long way, as well as help you maintain your health well into the future.

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