Plantar fasciitis often comes with heel pain and inflammation that makes walking uncomfortable. The condition is common in people who participate in sports activities that involve a lot of leg movements such as football players, basketball players, and marathon runners. It can also result from overuse injuries caused by wearing improper footwear when working out.
Approximately 70% of patients with plantar fasciitis are obese owing to the fact that excess weight can put too much strain and stress on the plantar fascia ligament. Statistics show that the condition is a relatively common problem as well since around 2 million people seek treatment for plantar fasciitis on an annual basis.
Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
Under normal conditions, the plantar fascia (a long and thin ligament that connects your heel and toes together as well as supports your foot arch) absorbs the shock and intense pressure you put on your feet. If the tension and stress become too much for the ligament, this can lead to damage and tears in the fascia. These injuries manifest with swelling, stabbing pain, and stiffness in your heel.
Plantar Fasciitis Management
A majority of people with plantar fasciitis report improvement in their condition 10 months after the start of their treatment program. The general goal of the treatment process is to relieve the pain, decrease the inflammation, and avoid re-injury.
The RICE Method
This easy self-care technique can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, promote flexibility, and help speed up the recovery process. This is also the recommended first aid treatment when it comes to acute musculoskeletal injuries.
Rest. Stop doing any activity that increases the pain such as running because it makes your feet hit the ground hard. Refrain from doing the activity that caused your plantar fasciitis until you are fully recovered.
Ice. Apply an ice pack to the injured site for 15 minutes every 6 hours for the first three days. Cold therapy helps relieve pain and decrease the swelling. Remember not to put the ice directly on your skin. You can wrap it in a towel or use a cold water bottle and roll it over your foot.
Compression. Wrap the affected foot with an elastic bandage to immobilize the area. Don’t wrap it too tightly as it might affect the flow of blood in the area.
Elevate. Raise the affected leg by propping it on a pillow to reduce swelling and alleviate the pain.
Other ways to manage plantar fasciitis the pain
Take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to ease the pain and inflammation. If there’s no relief after 7 days, you need to contact your doctor. Do not take more than what is necessary.
Use a splint at night when sleeping to immobilize the plantar fascia while you sleep.
Maintain proper foot care while working out by wearing insoles for plantar fasciitis. Make sure that your shoes fit you properly and have adequate support and cushion. These measures can reduce the stress and strain placed on the plantar fascia every time you workout.
You can also use arch supports to distribute the tension more evenly on your foot, most especially if you have a high or a low foot arch.
Exercises To Ease The Pain
Tight muscles will only aggravate the pain. The best way to loosen them up is by strethcing. Staying active is also necessary because the pain can be triggered by prolonged periods of sitting or standing. However, it is best to consult your doctor and find out your exercise tolerance prior to performing any physical activity.
Sit comfortably with your leg stretched out in front of you. Cross the injured foot over the knee of the opposite leg. Hold the toes and pull them gently toward you for 10 seconds. Do this on the other side and repeat at least 10 times for each foot.
Place one foot in front of the other while leaning forward on a countertop. Flex your knees and lower yourself down to a squat. Your heels should stay flat on the floor. Hold it for 10 seconds and do on the other side. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Place your palms flat on a wall while leaning forward. Keeping your right knee straight, position the left leg in front and bend your left knee. Push your hips toward the wall and hold the position for 10 seconds. You should be able to feel a stretch in your calf. Do the same for the other leg and repeat 10 times for each side.
Plantar fasciitis doesn’t always require aggressive treatment. Although the pain can limit your productivity, you can manage the symptoms on your own by doing the health tips mentioned in this article. However, if there’s still no relief, doctors might recommend surgery.