Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia — the ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot — becomes inflamed. This is a fairly common condition, with nearly 2 million people receiving treatment for it every year.
Plantar fasciitis is most common in people who stand, walk, or run regularly for long periods of time, as well as those who are overweight. People with high arches, flat feet, tight Achilles tendons, or tight calf muscles are also susceptible. Symptoms include pain and swelling in the feet, particularly in the arches and heels.
It may be common, but that doesn't make plantar fasciitis any less painful. If you suffer from this condition, read on for five ways that you can relieve your pain and prevent it from coming back.
1. Try Night Splints
A night splint keeps your foot in a neutral position while you sleep. Many people point their feet during the night, which can cause extra pain and tension in the plantar fascia. To counteract this, a night splint lets the fascia passively stretch throughout the night to promote healing.
Night splints are uncomfortable for some people and can disrupt their sleep. But, many more find significant relief from the pain in their feet when they use them.
2. Change Your Shoes
During the day, it's important to make sure you're wearing shoes that fit properly to help prevent pain from plantar fasciitis. Shoes that are too small are especially bad for those who already have sensitive feet, as are old shoes, which lose their shock absorption with time and put unnecessary pressure on the feet.
When shopping for new shoes, look for a pair that have thick, well-cushioned midsoles. Motion control shoes are also good for people with flat feet.
3. Change Your Socks
Compression socks can also help relieve pain from plantar fasciitis. People with plantar fasciitis experience decreased blood flow to their feet, which slows the healing process.
Compression socks can help increase blood flow to the tissue to promote healing.
There are tons of options out there when it comes to shopping for compression socks. This list of the best plantar fasciitis socks will help you choose which ones are best for you.
4. Stretch it Out
Stretching can significantly reduce pain from plantar fasciitis. One study followed 66 patients and found that, after regularly performing a series of stretching exercises for eight weeks, 94 percent of them saw a decrease in their overall pain.
The following stretching exercises are all great pain relievers.
Stand with your hands planted against a wall. Take a step back with your right foot and make sure it's flat on the floor. Slowly bend your left leg forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Repeat this stretch at least three times on each leg, holding for 15-30 seconds.
Seated Big Toe Stretch
Sit in a chair and cross one leg over the other. Reach for you big toe and gently pull it back toward you. Repeat at least three times for 15-30 seconds before switching sides.
Seated Towel Stretch
Fold a towel lengthwise (you can also you a yoga strap, a scarf, or a resistance band). Sit down and place the towel under the arches of your feet, holding one end in each hand. Gently pull the tops of your feet toward you to stretch your arches and calves. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat at least three times.
Iontophoresis uses electrical impulses to send topical corticosteroids in the soft tissue of your feet to promote blood flow and relieve inflammation.
Iontophoresis must be administered by a physical therapist or athletic trainer multiple times throughout the week, so it can be costly and time consuming, but many people who have tried it have experienced a decrease in pain, an improved range of motion, and less swelling.
Millions of people are plagued by plantar fasciitis, especially those who are active or regularly wear ill-fitting footwear.
When properly utilized, these treatments listed above can all be effective, both for dealing with pain from plantar fasciitis and preventing it from getting worse and coming. Give one of them a try today for long-lasting results!