If you run, walk or stand a lot during your daily life, you may notice that your heels hurt, particularly when you first get out of bed in the morning. This pain is a characteristic sign of plantar fasciitis, a condition that affects the fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. Plantar fasciitis can make everyday activities like walking extremely painful, so it's important to treat it quickly and effectively. Try these four tips to reduce your pain and speed up healing.
1. Stretch Every Day
Stretching your calves, ankles and feet can help to eliminate plantar fasciitis pain and prevent it from returning. Perform these stretches every day:
Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with one foot forward and one foot back. Bend your front knee, straighten your back leg and lean forward onto the wall, keeping your back heel down. You should feel a stretch in your back leg, as well as in the arch of your back foot. Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds.
Foot stretch: Sit in a chair and rest your painful foot on the opposite knee. Use your hand to pull your toes up toward your shin until you feel a stretch in the arch.
2. Wear Supportive Footwear
Orthotic footwear can help to prevent further foot strain while walking or standing. Select shoes that provide firm support for your arches and have plenty of cushion in the sole. If ordinary shoes and off-the-shelf inserts don't help to relieve your pain, you may need custom orthotics to support your foot correctly.
3. Wear a Night Splint
When you sleep, your ankles naturally relax, allowing your foot to rest in a pointed position. This allows the tissue on the bottom of your foot to heal in a contracted position, which means that it stretches and tears again when you get out of bed and flex your foot to stand on it. Wearing a night splint to keep your ankle flexed at 90 degrees encourages the tissue to heal in a stretched position, so that it doesn't hurt so much when you get out of bed. If your pain is worst in the mornings, try wearing a dorsal splint or a boot splint to keep your foot flexed overnight.
4. Rest as Much as You Can
If you continue to run or walk excessively with plantar fasciitis, you could make your pain worse. Take a break from running and try to avoid long periods of walking or standing. When you have to walk or stand, wear orthotic footwear to support your feet and avoiding aggravating the injury.