What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is where the thick band of tissue running along the underside of the foot (the plantar fascia) becomes sore and inflamed. This causes pain around the heel area underneath the foot, although it can also hurt along the length of the foot.
The pain can be more severe first thing in the morning or after exercise. It is particularly common in people who are constantly on their feet for work or who are training for a sports event. It can especially affect hospital workers and waiting staff in restaurants as well as ballet dancers and runners.
It can be painful to flex the toes upwards towards the body and is often more painful when you get up after a period of rest. People who are overweight or who wear shoes that don’t fit properly (especially very loosely fitting shoes) can also find themselves suffering from plantar fasciitis.
What can help plantar fasciitis?
Depending how sore the feet are, massage may help, but in some cases it will be too sore for massage to be tolerated effectively. Where massage can be tolerated, massaging the whole leg may be helpful as often there is a link to the gastronemius and soleus muscles in the leg being tight and shortened. Reflexology may be helpful especially if combined with massage of the lower legs. It is likely that you would need a course of treatments to help your plantar fasciitis.
Taking a short walk around the office can be helpful to avoid you being sat down for long periods of time. If you enjoy exercise and running it can be helpful to build up slowly over a period of time. Is is vital to have well fitting running shoes that adequately support your feet. Doing a variety of forms of exercise types can is essential so you don’t overwork your feet on a daily basis. If you enjoy doing exercise and need it to help your mental and physical health maybe swap things around and try doing a cardio workout or go swimming a couple of times a week.
Having only a very light sole between you and the road or other hard surface can make plantar fasciitis worse, so ensure your feet have adequate protection when running.
Things you can do at home to help plantar fasciitis
Wear supportive footwear that grips your feet snugly but doesn’t rub or hurt. Loose fitting shoes can make plantar fasciitis worse as your feet feel like they’re having to clutch on to the sole of the shoe. Having shoes that have soles with a bit of bounce to them can be helpful, hard soles that are unforgiving should be avoided at all costs, or a comfortable insole should be inserted to help the pain on the heels.
Varying the height of your heel can be helpful. Having a small heel that isn’t too high but also isn’t completely flat can help. Avoid being barefoot on hard surfaces for any length of time and avoid ballet style pumps without a heel. Sandals and flip flops should be avoided as they don’t generally provide the feet with sufficient support.
Massaging the sole of the feet using a tennis or golf ball can be useful or if that is too painful try putting a bottle of water in the freezer and then using that to massage the underside of the foot. It would be a good idea to pop a sock on either your foot or the bottle to avoid getting frostbite!
Exercises to try to help with your plantar fasciitis Click Here (disclaimer do anything suggested on youtube at your own risk 🙂 )
Take painkillers such as paracetamol regularly.
If the pain is severe, prolonged or not eased by regular painkillers make an appointment to see your GP.
Over to you!
What helped your plantar fasciitis? Please let me know in the comments box below.
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Sarah Cooper is a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner, Aromatherapist and Writer based in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, England.
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