Help, My Feet Hurt!
Annoying isn’t it? You are finally doing something healthy for yourself, like getting outside and taking walks even though you are VERY tired and VERY busy and would MUCH PREFER sitting on your porch with the libation of your choice. And then suddenly, while you are attempting this health-and-body-improving adventure, you feel a brand new pain in your feet. What is this unwelcome passenger on your fitness journey? It just might be plantar fasciitis.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The most notable symptom of plantar fasciitis is a stabbing pain in the heel that often subsides after stretching or moving around. The pain tends to be worse in the morning, or after a walk or exercise that would inflame the foot. Other symptoms include occasional numbness in the foot, or swelling and/or tenderness in the heel or sole. The pain can be intense, or sometimes a dull ache, but it can certainly keep you from completing a favorite exercise.
How Do You Treat Plantar Fasciitis?
There are many products that provide relief from plantar fasciitis pain and inflammation. Insoles or inserts worn in shoes or on the foot provide extra cushioning, shielding the foot from pain. Plantar fasciitis socks provide compression, either during the pain-causing activity or during recovery. And braces, heel protectors, or arch support sleeves are all excellent (and affordable) ways of targeting pain that appears in specific locations on the foot.
In addition to support products, plantar fasciitis can be treated at home with some easy exercises. Since by definition, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot, it makes sense to target this area with stretches to relieve pain. Stretch the foot by standing on a stair, with your heels off the step, and lifting your toes up and down (brace yourself on a wall if needed, please). Another favorite exercise - stretch your legs in front of you while seated on the floor. Wrap a towel around the arch of your foot and gently pull it toward you until you feel the stretch. You can also do toe extensions and flexing, even from the comfort of your own bed.Pressure point massage balls have been known to help stretch the foot as well. Repeat these exercises multiple times a day, as needed.
We’re all fighting a rude battle with age, and plantar fasciitis can be one of the unfortunate side effects. Luckily, it can be managed easily and affordably, and from the comfort of your own home. With a little effort, you’ll be back to doing what you love in no time!
By: Jess Krzyczkowski
Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Ben Frederick