Plantar fasciitis, or “jogger’s heel,” is a condition which results from an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the area of tissue that connects the toes to the heels.
This condition causes a severe and unbearable, sharp pain in the foot, particularly with the initial steps taken upon walking. As soon as the foot gets used to the activity, most people experience a relief. The pain may also occur while standing for long or while climbing the stairs.
The common risk factors for this condition are abnormal walking patterns, shoes with improper foot support, age (it is mostly developed by middle-aged people between 40 and 60 years old), being flat-footed or having a high arch, running, obesity, tight or tense calves or Achilles’ tendons.
Fortunately, there are some really effective natural treatments for plantar fasciitis, while avoiding surgeries or steroid shots.
These are the most effective ways to relieve the pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
1. At-home physical therapy
There are some extremely beneficial stretches and exercises which can be done at home, and provide great relief. You can use a towel for support during the stretches, and you should also try calf stretches and toe stretching exercises.
2. Towel stretches
You should roll a towel and put it under the ball of the foot. Then, while holding the both ends, and keeping the knee straight, pull the towel towards the torso. Hold for 15-30 seconds, and repeat it 2-4 times, several times during the day.
3. Calf stretch
While doing this exercise, you will relax the calf muscle at the back of the lower leg, and the Achilles tendon which links the calf muscles to the heel bone.
In front of a wall, place the hands on it at shoulder level. Place with the affected leg a step behind the other, bend the knee, but keep the back heel on the ground. The stretch is felt in the back leg. Hold for 15-30 seconds, 2-4 times, few times a day.
4. Toe stretches
These stretches target the bottom of the feet. While sitting on a chair, extend the painful leg, and place the heel on the ground. Pull the big toe back towards the ankle. Hold for 15-30 seconds, and repeat 2-4 times, few times a day.
5. Ice and massage
You will experience significant relief by applying ice packs on the affected area, as ice soothes the inflammation and pain.
Moreover, if combined with heat therapy, you may relieve the pain even more. You can soak the feet in cold water, and then in hot water, and finish the therapy with cold water soak again.
You can also apply ice packs and hot compresses. You can combine the ice pack therapy with a massage, as it will stimulate blood flow and reduce the tendon and muscle tension. You can keep the ice pack on the affected area for 15 minutes, and rub the place to relieve the pain.
You can take some proactive steps to prevent and lower the risk of plantar fasciitis, as follows:
Use footwear even when you don’t have to
You should wear supportive shoes as soon as you wake up, to avoid the early-morning stabbing pain. The condition may worsen if you walk barefoot or wear some unsupportive slippers, as your arch should be always supported.
Wear shoes that fit well and are supportive
Looks and fashion are very important for many people, but if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, you should never wear high-heeled shoes or shoes with lifts.
Too tight or too loose shoes may contribute to the development of this condition. Instead, wear comfortable shoes, as well as shoe inserts to lower the damage.
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