If you have heel pain and it is especially intense when you first get out of bed each morning you might have plantar fasciitis. This is a condition that can give you quite a bit of grief and high levels of discomfort. When the thick bands of plantar fascia tissue that run along the bottom of your feet become swollen or irritated, the result is an injury known as plantar fasciitis.
The good news is that not only can this condition be treated at home and the pain you may be dealing with be relieved, but it is totally preventable too.
Plantar fasciitis presents in a variety of ways but most of the time the primary symptom is pain, especially foot pain near and around your heel first thing in the morning. This pain typically subsides once you get moving around and stretching, but it usually worsens when you stand for long periods of time or participate in activities that keep you on your feet.
You also might notice that your feet feel stiff and less flexible than normal, this can be another common symptom of this condition. Plantar fasciitis can make everyday tasks such as climbing stairs or standing on your toes uncomfortable and very painful. In more severe cases of this condition, you could have swelling on the bottoms of your feet and they may also become tender to the touch.
Prevention and Treatment
The prevention and treatment of plantar fasciitis often overlap with the tools and exercises they involve. When it comes to treating this particular condition most of the tools and techniques are often aimed at alleviating the primary symptom, pain.
If you currently have plantar fasciitis, finding time to rest your feet can often prove to be beneficial. This small step allows the muscles and other tissues that have been irritated some time off to begin healing.
Orthotic aids like insoles and arch supports can take some of the strain off of the damaged tissues in your feet by providing extra arch support and impact absorption. At night you may want to keep your feet elevated to avoid swelling from your body being stationary and horizontal when sleeping.
Stretching plays a key role in a healthy recovery from plantar fasciitis because it helps build strength and flexibility in the muscles and tissues in your feet and legs. Foot stretchers or rockers made for plantar fasciitis can aid you in stretching the right tissues and muscles that are afflicted by this condition. Continuing to use these rockers, stretchers, insoles, and other tools even after you have recovered from plantar fasciitis could help you avoid suffering from it again in the future.
If you don’t currently have plantar fasciitis, using a foot stretcher or rocker can still be beneficial because using this tool can help prevent plantar fasciitis. Working your feet out on these types of devices can improve their range of motion and flexibility. You may also want to keep wearing insoles or orthotics if you have them because the added shock absorption and arch support they can give you can also help prevent future foot pain.
Limit Your Risk Factors
If you have a job that keeps you on your feet you should try to take breaks and sit down regularly throughout the day to take pressure off your feet. Your weight can also be a risk factor; excess weight puts more tension on your plantar fascia tissue so reducing your weight can reduce your risk. In addition, ill-fitting shoes and a drastic increase in running mileage or hill work can strain the tissues in your feet. Invest in footwear that properly supports your arch, and work up to long distances and steep inclines gradually over time.