Published on March 3, 2015
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia (of which runs from the heel to the toes on the bottom of the foot) becomes inflamed and/or irritated. It is the most common cause of heel and arch pain. This problem is typically worse in the morning, especially the first few steps out of bed. In addition, plantar fasciitis is typically aggravated upon the first few steps of walking after prolonged sitting, and with prolonged weight bearing activity.
The Following Strategies Can Help Alleviate the Symptoms Associated With Plantar Fasciitis:
- Abnormal foot mechanics (ie. flat feet) can place excessive strain on the fascia. Custom foot orthotics can help correct for these abnormal mechanics of which, in turn, will often result in less pain.
- Wear proper footwear. Purchase shoes that provide shock absorption and medial arch support. In addition, a small heel is recommended.
- Replace older footwear. This will depend upon usage. Many runners replace their footwear 2-3 times per year, depending upon the number of kilometres ran per year.
- Maintain a healthy weight. This will help minimize the stress on your plantar fascia and lower limb joints in general.
- Switch up your workout routine. Do not only perform weight bearing activities. Try integrating swimming and bicycling into your workout program.
- Apply an ice pack (wrapped in a paper towel or a t-shirt) to the fascia 3-4 times per day for 10 minutes each time. If pain increases, discontinue usage.
- Roll a golf ball or water bottle under your foot (repetitively from the heel to the toes) for a few minutes. Perform this same exercise 2-3 times per day. Discontinue these exercises if they cause pain and/or exacerbate symptoms.
- Try stretching the fascia. While sitting with your legs straight, wrap a towel under and around the ball of your foot while reaching forward and holding the ends of the towel. Gently pull the ends of the towel towards you. You should feel a gentle stretch near the heel and/or under the arch. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat a few times. Perform this same set of exercises 2-3 times per day. Discontinue these exercises if they cause pain and/or exacerbate symptoms.
- You can also try stretching the calf region. Put both hands flat against the wall with your back straight and the heel of your sore foot down on the ground (the leg not being stretched will be closer to the wall and flexed at the knee). Move your hips forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your calf region. Keep your back leg straight. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat a few times. Perform this same set of exercises 2-3 times per day. Discontinue these exercises if they cause pain and/or exacerbate symptoms.
- Consider the possibility of chiropractic therapy or physiotherapy