How To Treat Plantar Fasciitis

In my last post we saw that Plantar Fasciitis is a very common cause of heel pain and it is generally caused by overuse and excessive strain on the plantar fascia.

Let’s look in more detail at the treatments that you can use!

Number One: Rest

Reducing unnecessary strain on the foot is really important. Quite a number of my patients come in having had a sore heel for weeks or even months and they tell me that they just kept exercising-pushing through the pain.

Eventually it became so bad that they just had to reduce their activity, but they almost seem to feel guilty about it, as though their feet should have just kept going.

To help my patients see the importance of rest, I describe Plantar Fasciitis as like having a torn ligament in your wrist or hand. You’d have your hand in a splint or bandaged up and give it time to recover. 

You wouldn’t put your entire body weight on your hand, and push it through the torn ligament 10,000 times every day. But if you did, you wouldn’t expect it to just come right. 

But that’s what’s happening when you keep doing a lot of exercise on the damaged fascia under your foot.

It’s not easy to rest the Plantar Fascia so you have to get creative. If you normally stand a lot at work see if you can substitute periods of sitting.

If you regularly exercise by walking or running consider changing to cycling or swimming. In some cases when the pain is really quite severe people end up in a moon boot for a little while so they can rest the foot 24/7.

You may need to be resting the foot for at least six weeks. 

Number Two: Reduce the Inflammation and Pain

We often find that using a soft gel ice pack wrapped in a tea towel and placed against the foot for about 15 to 20 minutes can really make a difference. 

You should elevate your leg on a foot stool while you do this.

Some people prefer ice massage using a paper cup, or maybe a bottle they have placed in the freezer. You can do this several times a day.

In some cases using analgesics or non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs may be helpful, as long as this is done in accordance with the directions from the pharmacist or your health professional. 

Number Three: Stretch the Plantar Fascia

Take a seat and cross your leg so that the sore foot is resting on your opposite knee. Use one hand to pull the toes back towards your shin and with the other hand gently press on the fascia and feel that it’s tight.

Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat it 10 times. This method should be repeated three times a day.

Stretching the calf and Achilles tendon can also improve your pain and ankle movement (see diagram below)

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