Whether it’s a sprained ankle, a pesky bunion or a more chronic condition, most of us will experience foot pain at some point in our lives.
Plantar fasciitis is perhaps one of the best-known drivers of pain and discomfort in the feet. Otherwise known as Policeman’s Heel, this is caused by placing too much pressure on the plantar fascia ligaments, which connect your heels to the front of your feet.
When they’re subjected to wear and tear, or simply not supported properly over a prolonged period of time, the ligaments become thicker, leading to a burning sensation that makes standing and walking very uncomfortable indeed.
Most plantar fasciitis sufferers find the condition to be irritating, but not debilitating. A small percentage of people, however, will struggle to go about their daily lives because of the severity of the heel pain they’re experiencing.
Whichever category you fit into, we’re sure you’re wondering exactly how you can lessen the symptoms and go back to living a plantar fasciitis-free life!
To help you get a handle on this common complaint, we’ve listed six treatment options that will help you manage the condition on a daily basis.
Though it may seem contradictory at first, keeping your foot muscles engaged and mobile will be vital to keeping your plantar fasciitis under control.
Toe curls and extensions which flex out the ligaments and keep them supple, while massaging the arches of your feet by rolling a tennis ball underneath the area will help to ease the pressure and reduce the pain you’re feeling (this is a form of myofascial release, which we’ll talk about in more detail later). Calf stretches will also help to strengthen the muscles in your lower legs and prevent further injuries.
If you don’t feel confident carrying out these exercises by yourself, ask a physiotherapist to show you the best techniques and put together a foot strengthening routine for you.
It sounds simple, but finding the right shoes is key to keeping plantar fasciitis at bay.
Be sure to invest in a sturdy, robust pair of shoes or boots that provide adequate support and cushioning to all areas of your feet, particularly your arches and soles. Have your footwear professionally fitted wherever possible to make sure they’re the right size and fit, too.
Supportive orthotic insoles
Insoles are a vital piece of kit when it comes to not only combatting the symptoms of the condition, but preventing your pain from worsening over time.
Standard orthotics may provide you with adequate support, but if you find they’re not quite hitting the spot, customisable plantar fasciitis insoles will provide you with more flexibility in terms of the cushioning they can provide to the bottom of your feet. Orthotics like these are provided with a variety of metatarsal inserts so that sufferers can experiment with different levels of arch support and find a combination that suits their needs.
If your symptoms are particularly brutal in the morning, wearing a splint or a brace overnight could help alleviate that all-too-familiar stabbing pain that sets in from the moment you wake up.
These simple yet effective pieces of equipment will hold the foot and ankle in an upright, stretched position while you’re sleeping. They may sound cumbersome, but you’ll quickly get used to them – and you’ll soon notice the difference.
They may not be scientifically proven to alleviate plantar fasciitis symptoms, but alternative and manipulative therapies such as massage, acupuncture and acupressure are believed by many to have powerful healing benefits.
Myofascial release treatments are often recommended for those who have ongoing or recurring plantar fasciitis, too. It’s a technique based on the application of pressure, and it’s designed to relax contracted muscles and stimulate their natural reflex.
This treatment option is normally only offered if you have been struggling with heel pain for over 6 months, and you’ve tried everything else to no avail. The steroid will be injected into the most painful part of your plantar fascia and its soothing effects will last for up to a month.
Be sure to only receive steroid injections sparingly, as multiple treatments may cause your heel pads to soften, which will reduce the natural cushioning that your feet can provide.
The key to healing heel pain is to try a range of treatments and find out what works for you. Be prepared to incorporate one or some of the above options into your daily routine, and we’re sure you’ll eradicate those symptoms in no time!