5 Stretches to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis
Feet hurt? Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common diagnoses when it comes to having foot pain. However, just because you have foot pain doesn’t necessarily mean you have plantar fasciitis. Common signs and symptoms of this diagnosis include pain in the heels and/or arches, increased pain with prolonged standing and walking, and increased pain when you first stand up out of bed in the morning. Usually this develops in both feet simultaneously, but not always.
What causes plantar fasciitis? Could be for any number of reasons or combination of reasons. Changes in activity such as getting a new job that requires you to stand more than you typically had or running or walking more than you are used to are common reasons as to why this can develop. Weight gain may also be a contributing factor as can wearing shoes that do not provide ample support to your feet.
What is happening at the anatomical level in the feet that leads to plantar fasciitis? The plantar fascia is a soft tissue structure that spans from the bottom of the heel to the ball of the foot and helps to support the arch of the foot. If it undergoes periods of increased stress repeatedly, such as being on your feet more often or for longer periods of time, microscopic “microtears” can develop in the plantar fascia. Because life’s activities require us to be on our feet often, it is tough for these microtears to heal. However, if it is treated appropriately and diligently, it will get better!
This brings us to ways to treat plantar fasciitis. What can you do to help decrease this heel pain? Lots of things! What better time to treat this than during the COVID-19 quarantine?! A silver lining to this pandemic and staying home is that most have more time to treat those nagging injuries! Let’s get started…
Relieving Plantar Fasciitis
Roll and stretch your feet out BEFORE YOU GET OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING and throughout the day as often as you can.
Keep a golf ball and a shower-sized towel by your nightstand. When you wake up in the morning, take three minutes sitting at the edge of your bed to roll out your feet with the golf ball – place the ball on the floor and roll it back and forth along the arch of your foot. Is there a region near your heel that is especially tender? Spend more time rolling out that region. Now grab that towel, wrap it around the ball of your feet, grab the two ends with your hands and pull the towel towards you and hold for about a minute – this stretches the plantar fascia.
Ice the bottoms of your feet WITH ICE CUPS.
Ice controls inflammation and if we can control inflammation, we can help control pain. Take a handful of small paper cups and fill them three-quarters full of water and throw those puppies in the freezer. Once frozen, rip the top of the paper cup off so that the ice is sticking out. Rub the ice along the underside of the arch and heel. Do this for 5-10 minutes. Ice cups are a very direct source of icing and is better than an ice pack or even rolling your feet with a frozen water bottle because the ice is applied directly to the feet.
Don’t go barefoot – EVEN WHILE AT HOME.
We need to make sure the arches of your feet are adequately supported. Being on your places a lot of stress through the plantar fascia. Normally, this is perfectly fine, however, when it becomes painful and overly stressed, that is when problems develop. By wearing shoes and slippers that support the arch, we are supporting the plantar fascia and are allowing it to heal. How do we achieve this? Wearing a shoe with good support and/or inserting an orthotic into the shoe. Not only is it important to wear good support outside of the house, but also while you are at home. THIS IS SO CRUCIAL! There are slippers and sandals that are a great option to wear indoors. If you have questions or are looking for good shoe and orthotic options for you, talk to us at Chiappetta’s! This is what we specialize in! Click Here to see our favorites shoes for Plantar Fasciitis.
Give some love to your calf muscles – THEY WILL THANK YOU LATER!
Even though your calves probably aren’t causing you pain, they are directly connected to your feet via multiple muscles and tendons. Tightness or tender “trigger points” in the calves can contribute to issues in the foot. Options for giving your calves some love include using a foam roller on the ground to roll out these muscles, have someone take some lotion and give those calves a massage, or take your rolling pin (yes, the one you use to roll out cookie dough) and roll it over your calves while you are sitting watching TV – just make sure to wash it before making those cookies.
Strengthen your feet and legs – THE PLANTAR FASCIA ISN’T THE ONLY STRUCTURE SUPPORTING YOUR FEET!
Muscles provide support to your feet as well. Weaknesses in muscles in your legs and feet can cause the plantar fascia to bare a greater load than it would if your muscles were stronger. Exercises that work the calves (such as heel raises) as well as exercises that work the muscles within the foot itself are helpful! Oftentimes, weaknesses can be found elsewhere that can contribute to pain as well – seek a medical professional to help you determine this.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to decreasing plantar fasciitis-related pain? BE PATIENT! Taking care of this injury requires diligent work EVERYDAY, usually for weeks or months. Your pain should be improving, however, do not expect it to disappear overnight! If your feet aren’t getting better or if you have questions, make sure to seek help from a trained medical professional.
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