3 Things You Can Do to Manage Your Plantar Fasciitis Pain at Home

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3 Things You Can Do to Manage Your Plantar Fasciitis Pain at Home

Heel pain is no small matter. Millions of people like you are waking up to searing pain and having to walk it off all day long. So, in addition to our advanced services, our experts are here with three tips to help you manage it on your own.

Heel pain accounts for nearly 15% of all foot problems and affects upwards of 2 million people every year. Though some have it worse than others, the bottom line is, heel pain can stop you in your tracks. 

The most common cause of this debilitating pain is plantar fasciitis, and while the fastest path to relief is often found in our office, there are a few things you can do to manage your symptoms and aid the healing process at home. 

Dr. Andrew McCall and our team at Alpine Foot and Ankle have years of experience dealing with plantar fasciitis, so we know how important of a role you play in pain relief and healing. 

Here’s everything you should know about plantar fasciitis and what you can do about it. 

The basics of plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs when your plantar fascia (a tight, tough band of tissue that runs from your heel to your toes) becomes damaged, torn, or irritated.

The plantar fascia is responsible for absorbing shock and supporting the natural arch in your foot, which makes walking, jumping, and running possible. 

Because it takes on so much daily stress, your plantar fascia can easily become injured, inflamed, and, ultimately, very painful. The hallmark of plantar fasciitis is heel pain with your first steps in the morning, since your tissues stiffen up overnight. 

Stretching usually relieves those first pangs of pain, but plantar fasciitis pain can last all day in extreme cases. 

Virtually anyone can get plantar fasciitis, but you’re most at risk if you:

  • Are a woman
  • Are overweight, obese, or pregnant
  • Are 40 years or older
  • Have high arches
  • Have flat feet
  • Have problems with your Achilles tendon
  • Play high-impact sports like running and ballet
  • Spend a lot of time on your feet
  • Stand for long periods on hard surfaces
  • Regularly wear high heels
  • Wear shoes without arch support and/or thin soles

Without prompt treatment, plantar fasciitis can quickly progress and even lead to knee, hip, foot, and back pain and bone spurs.

An expert podiatrist like Dr. McCall is usually a key player in getting relief from plantar fasciitis, but if you follow these simple strategies, you can take an equally active role. 

1. Take it easy

Sometimes, the best thing for plantar fasciitis is simply taking a break from your routine. Until you’ve fully healed, we recommend you stop running, jumping, standing for long periods, and doing anything else that stresses your feet. 

While resting, you can use hot and cold therapy and take over-the-counter pain medication to manage symptoms and reduce inflammation. 

You don’t have to become a full-blown couch potato. In fact, we can recommend a stretching and strengthening program to help your feet bounce back even faster. 

If you’re an athlete or fitness fanatic and can’t stand the thought of losing progress while your foot heals, consider cross-training. Instead of running for miles on the pavement, hop on a stationary bike; instead of squatting heavy weights, take the pressure off your lower extremities and train your upper body muscles and core. 

There are many ways to work out your workouts when your feet are out of commission. 

2. Head to the shoe store

The worst thing for your aching feet is shoving them in your decades-old, beat-up tennis shoes. What your feet need now (and every day) is support, cushion, and extra shock absorption, so head to your local shoe store and get expert help picking out a pair of shoes. A good pair of shoes are stiff through the midsole so bend and twist. If it buckles in the middle then choose something else.

We’re not just picking on tennis shoes, either. Make sure every pair of shoes you own is up to snuff. We also recommend quitting your high heels cold turkey (or at least saving them for special occasions). 

Your shoes should have plenty of arch support, a wide toe box, and enough cushion to take on some of the shock your feet absorb. If you need more pointers, talk to our team about what to look for in a pair of shoes. 

3. Try an insert

Stabilizing the foot with an insert can help to offload the plantar fascia. Remember, we are looking for support and stability more than cushion. Unfortunately, many over the counter inserts are very soft with very little stability, so choose something that does not bend easily. 

Some individuals require a custom device due to continued pain and lack of support. This is especially helpful when engaged in repetitive activities such as sports. Individuals that spend much of the day on their feet also find a custom orthotic to be beneficial and far superior to over the counter devices. 

4. Talk to us about night splints

Since a lot of your pain builds up overnight, what better time to address your symptoms than while you’re sleeping? 

Your feet tend to point down when you sleep, which relaxes your plantar fascia. The pressure of your first steps in the morning suddenly stretches your plantar fascia and causes that searing pain. A night splint holds your foot in a flexed position, so you don’t feel as much pain in the morning. 

Night splints come in hard and soft varieties and are only designed to be worn for a month or so until your foot heals. 

Heel pain can grind life to a halt, but it doesn’t have to if you team up with us at Alpine Foot and Ankle. If you’d like more information about plantar fasciitis or want to get started with treatment, call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment at our Idaho Falls, Idaho or Alpine, Wyoming office today.