Healthy Living

Plantar Fasciitis Exercises and Remedies

Plantar Fasciitis Exercises and Remedies

Key Takeaways

  • Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. 
  • The condition is particularly common in dancers and athletes. 
  • Plantar fasciitis is one of those few conditions that can reoccur if you do not properly take care of your feet. 

The plantar fascia is a particular part of your foot that takes up most of the pressure of your weight, which is why it is often strained. Moreover, if you have been sitting down in a chair or the sofa for too long and get up suddenly, it can cause the plantar fascia to suddenly flare up. The inflammation of the plantar fascia is called plantar fasciitis. Hence, it is important that you take better care of your foot and pay attention to your movements, especially the way you rest all of your weight on one foot more than the other.

Additional stress is one of the reasons why the plantar fascia could get inflamed all of a sudden resulting in sharp debilitating pain, which can, in turn, affect your mobility. You can make an appointment with your doctor and get your foot looked at the earliest. It is important that you attend to your condition right away since it can lead to more serious health problems and may even result in permanent damage.

Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in dancers and athletes. When people play hard contact sports or are into ballet dancing, they are usually at high risk of getting plantar fasciitis. 

A visit to the doctor would make it clear to you about the risks of plantar fasciitis and the complications may arise if it is left untreated. Your doctor may suggest that you wear comfortable shoes or even orthopedic ones for a short period of time to provide your feet and heels with the support they need while you have plantar fasciitis.

If you happen to be overweight, then chances are high that you could suffer from plantar fasciitis at some point or another. This is yet another reason why you may want to visit your doctor for a quick consultation and even work out an effective meal plan or exercises to help you strengthen your feet and prevent a flare-up.

Diagnosis of plantar fasciitis

Consulting the doctor should make it clear as to how severe your problem is, and your doctor should be able to inform you regarding your current condition. However, a quick diagnosis may not be easy since other health conditions can also cause sharp shooting pains that radiate from your heel each time you lean forward or put all your weight on your heel.

The doctor may recommend a quick scan to determine the underlying cause of the problem. Once plantar fasciitis is confirmed, the doctor would then prescribe certain treatment therapies to help you deal with your condition. More importantly, the doctor would be asking you questions about your personal and family’s medical history, and determine whether you are genetically predisposed to suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Moreover, by knowing your detailed medical history, your doctor can prescribe an even more effective form of treatment for your foot. You will also be asked to take complete rest for a few days to allow your foot to heal.

The treatment also depends on how severe your condition is. Dietary and lifestyle changes may be required along with taking the prescribed medications. You may even be asked to consume more nutrient-rich foods such as chia seeds given the fact that it contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants as well as dietary fiber. 

Additionally, your doctor may prescribe a few painkillers to help you deal with the intense pain. However, it is advisable that you only take painkillers that your doctor has prescribed. Getting painkillers over-the-counter without your doctor's advice is entirely undesirable since some of the painkillers have varying side effects, which include sudden and excruciating headaches to periods of dizziness. Thus, make it a point to take the painkillers according to your doctor's instruction and supervision.

Treatment

1) Painkillers

Your doctor would prescribe some painkillers depending on the severity of your current condition. Painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help alleviate the pain and can also reduce the inflammation of the plantar fascia. Your doctor would also likely recommend that you undertake physical therapy since it can help strengthen your feet and heels. However, do not sign up immediately for physical therapy classes since your heel would still be quite fragile. Instead, wait until your heel no longer feels weak.

2) Steroid injections

Your doctor may also recommend that you take steroid injections in your heel. Although these injections are somewhat effective in keeping down the pain, they are nonetheless not as effective as some of the other methods.

3) Shockwave therapy

This process is about using sound waves to help stimulate the damaged parts of your body and get them to heal better. While this type of therapy does seem to be somewhat effective, this method of treatment comes with its own side effects, from causing further inflammation to blisters and swelling. Thus, before opting for this treatment, you may want to think about it for a while.

4) Surgery

Surgery is the last option by detaching the plantar fascia from the calcaneus or heel bone. The process is simple and can be done in a short period of time. A surgical operation is only recommended if the pain is too severe and you are totally immobile because of the excruciating pain. Moreover, after surgery, you would be advised to take better care of your feet and make sure that you do not hurt your foot again. If you are into contact sports, then you would be advised to stay away from all forms of physical activity for a while, except for stretching exercises that can help strengthen your heels and feet.

Exercises

In addition to physical therapy, your doctor may recommend a few exercises that you can try out in the comfort of your own home. 

1) Stretch your calves

This exercise includes you standing still against a wall, and then leaning onto it while firmly placing your hands on the wall. Now, lean further into the wall, bending your leg forward, and stretch those calves. As you stretch your calves, you would also be strengthening your plantar fascia. This exercise is quite simple and a few simple reps per day should do the trick.

2) Stretching your plantar fascia

Grab a chair, sit down, and rest one foot on a beach ball or something smaller. Try rolling it on the floor using only the heel of your foot. This should help you stretch your plantar fascia effectively. Do this exercise for a minute before switching to the other foot.

3) The toe stretch

By sitting in the same position, cross your leg over and gently pull your big toe toward you for about 30 seconds. Do it three times before doing the same toe stretch to your other foot.

4) The towel stretch

Sit down on the same chair. Fold a towel in lengthwise and place it under the arch of your foot. Now pull both ends of the towel toward you and hold on for 30 seconds. Do this exercise three times.

Remember to do these exercises slowly and start one at a time. With your plantar fascia still sore and tender, you need to be under complete rest for a while. You can do these exercises after your foot has returned back to normal.

Additional notes

Plantar fasciitis is one of those few conditions that can reoccur if you do not properly take care of your feet. Moreover, leaving it untreated is not a good idea since it can lead to severe health problems. For this reason, it is important that you seek medical attention the moment the problem arises. If left untreated, it can result in permanent damage.

Try eating a nutrient-dense food as it can help you fight off infections and even help you with you plantar fascia injury. Try including more vegetables into your regular diet along with whole wheat grains. You can also include some of the superfoods since they are a rich source of antioxidants, which can help you heal faster and get back up again in no time.

So the next time you experience a sharp excruciating pain in your heel, you would know what to do and how to better handle it. However, it is still recommended to consult a doctor right away rather than opting for over-the-counter medications to offset the pain. It is not that these drugs will not work, but rather, they often come loaded with unpleasant side effects.

Moreover, if you happen to be sensitive to any one of these drugs, then chances are high that you will develop severe allergic reactions from it. The allergic reaction could be something as simple as breaking out into rashes or hives. It could also be a lot worse to some people and may cause numbness to certain parts of the body. Hence, it is always a good idea to get the medicines according to your doctor's prescription to avoid the risk of having a severe allergic reaction.

The good news about this particular condition is that it is completely treatable. However, aside from treatments, you would need to take better care of your foot. For starters, change your unhealthy habits for the better as it can help you make a faster recovery. You can also start wearing better-fitting or slip-on shoes so that your heels will not be strained and are comfortable.

With plantar fasciitis, you would need to exercise regularly, so that your plantar fascia is strengthened and does not get inflamed all over again. Make sure that you do several reps of the stretching exercises per day along with eating healthy balanced meals.

After all, fitness is what makes a complete difference between healing faster and limping around. Additionally, you can try drinking different tea variants, especially the ones that are rich in antioxidants for better healing. Moreover, when you start your physical therapy, remember to begin slowly. Do not rush into it right away.