If you’ve ever had plantar fasciitis, you know it’s no joke. The pain in your heel and bottom of your foot can make walking extremely painful, and running or exercise becomes much more difficult.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia (a long, thin ligament that extends from your heel bone along the bottom of your foot to your toes) becomes inflamed or damaged from overuse. Repeated stress can even cause tiny tears in the ligament.
When the ligament is damaged, you’ll feel pain and stiffness in your heel and bottom of your foot, especially when you step out of bed in the morning, after sitting for any length of time, and after you exercise.
If you’re not quite ready to visit the doctor yet, here are a few simple techniques you can try at home to provide relief from your pain, courtesy of our expert team at Momentum Physical Therapy in the Sawtelle neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
The first and most helpful thing you can do is wear the right shoes — and orthotics. Choose comfortable shoes with excellent arch support and a low heel. Avoid walking barefoot, and consider orthotics such as shoe inserts or foot pads to provide additional support.
You should gently stretch the arch of your foot, your calves, and the other muscles surrounding your foot. Try these stretches a few times each day to promote healing and improve your mobility.
Some simple massage techniques can improve your pain as well. Use your thumbs to start massaging your arches, working from the balls of your feet toward your heels. You can also try rolling a tennis ball or golf ball around under your foot. These techniques will improve blood flow to your arch and foot and help break down tears in the ligament that haven’t healed properly.
Apply an ice pack to the bottom of your feet three to four times a day for 15 minutes at a time to reduce your pain and inflammation. Make sure to cover the ice with a thin towel or cloth to protect your feet.
Try cutting back on any activities that seem to increase your inflammation, especially high-impact sports such as running. Resting for a few days can give your feet a break and provide them time to heal. If you still want to exercise, try a low-impact activity such as swimming.
If you’ve tried all these options and are still feeling pain, the team at Momentum Physical Therapy can help restore your normal function. Feel free to call our office today or request an appointment online, and we’ll have you back to normal as soon as possible!