Self remedy tips for plantar fasciitis

shutterstock_117796435Plantar fasciitis or more appropriately termed plantar fasciopathy, is a common condition in the foot causing pain in the arch and/or heel. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes and forms the arch of your foot acting as a natural shock absorber for the foot. Due to the nature of this fibrous tissue, it is not very elastic and limited in its capacity to stretch and elongate, thus with too much traction on the plantar fascia microtearing will occur.  

If you suffer from plantar fascia pain here are some handy self remedy tips for managing plantar fasciitis/fasciopathy.

  1. Avoid aggravating activity such as impact sports and running sports for the short term until the pain/symptoms settle, and until you have received some guidance from your physiotherapist about return to activity.
  2. Wear appropriate shoes which offer support under the arch such as a stability walking/running shoe or a flat-mid heel dress, avoid high heels. In the early painful stages of plantar fascia pain, if possible wear supportive arch shoes to work, and even in the house. The more support you give the plantar fascia/arch the better! For example at work it may not be appropriate to wear running shoes if client facing, but if you spend most of your time in the office and not seeing clients then it may be a good idea to wear running shoes to and from work and even at work, then change to dress shoes for client meetings. This is encouraged for the first few weeks of acute pain.
  3. Do not go barefeet, especially on hard surfaces. It is important even in the house to wear some sort of shoe, preferably running shoes, or otherwise some sort of slip on shoe with arch support, such as brands like Mephisto, Birkenstocks, Scholls.
  4. Stretch the calf – stand facing the wall in a split stance position with one leg forward and the leg you want to stretch behind. Place your hands on the wall and bend the front knee into a lunge position keeping the back knee straight and the heel on the floor. Feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
  5. Stretch the plantar fascia. Stand with feet parallel and facing the wall. Prop your toes up against the wall keeping your arch and heel on the floor so the toes stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
  6. Self massage with tennis ball/golf ball or ice massage with a frozen cylindrical drink bottle. Place ball or drink bottle under foot and whilst seated roll the ball or drink bottle with the arch of your foot back and forth. Roll for 5 minutes.
  7. Maintain a healthy weight, this helps minimise stress on your plantar fascia.

It is important to consult a physiotherapist for accurate diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. In Touch Physiotherapy can assist you with this very treatable injury, and techniques such as massage, dry needling, joint mobilisation of the foot and ankle, taping techniques, orthotics, stretching/ strengthening exercises and guidance regarding activity modification and return to sport are all part of the plan!

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