Categories
Foot injuries stretches

Plantar Fasciitis treatment – easy ideas to try at home!

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Underneath the skin on your foot is some tough connective tissue, going from the heel bones up to the base of the toes – called the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia helps to support the arch of the foot and absorbs some of the force when your foot hits the ground. It acts like an elastic tissue!

The term itself literally means inflammation of the plantar fascia.

Why does plantar faciitis happen?

We don’t fully know why plantar faciitis occurs. It has been thought to be due to the force of the impact – but that doesn’t explain why people with sedentary lifestyles also suffer. It is however very likely linked to running biomechanics, your foot arch, how your foot hits on the ground and a host of other factors depending on you!

What are the symptoms of plantar faciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is one of the more common and troublesome injuries among runners. It is characterized by pain in the heel and / or arch. You will often feel the pain with the first few steps in the morning or when beginning to walk after sitting for a while. Initially the pain eases up with gentle walking, but sometimes it progresses until it’s felt all the time.

Plantar fasciitis treatment – stretching

Lots of stretching!

Stretch out the fascia by doing exercises such as sitting with your legs outstretched in front of you and using a scarf looped around the ball of your foot to bring the foot towards you.

In our experience it is essential to perform the plantar fascia stretch, as well as the bent knee calf stretches and straight knee calf stretches two to three times per day.

Also, perform a non-weight bearing calf stretch before walking or getting out of bed (as much as practically possible). By improving calf flexibility there will be less strain on the plantar fascia.

ice massage as a plantar fasciitis treatment

Ice massage is a very effective way to help reduce your pain. A good and easy ice massage technique is to use a frozen water bottle or orange. Place the bottle / orange on the floor and roll it under your foot until the bottom of your foot goes numb.

The orange is nice because the massage is a little more focused and the bottle is nice because it is very cold.

self massage for plantar fasciitis treatments

Self-massage can also be quite helpful, especially before getting out of bed or before a run.

We prefer a technique where you use the heel of your hand to massage across the arch while flexing the big toe with your other hand.

If you prefer you can use inexpensive massage balls – designed for this very purpose, like this one. 

Using insoles as a plantar fasciitis treatment

Insoles or orthotics (custom foot supports) may be able to position the foot in a way that reduces strain on the plantar fascia.

The insoles can relieve the pressure of the heel, improve the bad functioning of the foot and reduce stress and stretch the ligament of plantar fasciitis that is the cause of discomfort.

Insoles like these from Dr Scholl – a market leader in these kind of products – are inexpensive and can be used in almost any type of footwear.

go barefoot!

Try walking barefoot in grass or on sand for 2-4 minutes after the initial painful period has subsided. This technique can be helpful to progress to the next level. This works for a couple of reasons…

First, walking on soft grass genlty bends and twists your foot stretching in ways that help workout tight muscles in the foot. Second, the gentle bending and twisting also strengthens the small muscles in the foot.

Strong glutes for plantar fasciitis treatment

Bum strengthening exercises are important because you will lose strength in the gluteal muscles since you cant push off as firmly. This may lead to other injuries down the line.

Medical interventions for plantar fasciitis

Other possible treatments include steroid injections, night splints, and shock wave therapy.

A final consideration: Some arthritic conditions may have similar symptoms to plantar fasciitis. We would recommend that you talk to your doctor if you are concerned about this.

Good luck with your plantar fasciitis treatment and recovery!

Do I have to stop running if I have plantar facciitis?

You can go back to running gradually – but we recommend waiting until you’re pain free to start again. Oh and make sure to continue with your stretches to keep it at bay!

other posts we think could help
  • How about more on stretching to solve the problem?
  • Self massage is a free and easy thing to try. Learn more here.
  • Our general principles of recovery information is a good basis for all running recovery.