Do you feel pain in the ligament that runs from your heel to your toes, especially when you wake up in the morning, or after you've been sitting for a while? The culprit may well be plantar fasciitis. Read on about how to treat this painful condition that often targets runners and athletes in other endeavors but can sneak up on anyone.
Things You Will Need
Frozen plastic water bottle (20 oz. size)
Plantar boot (if necessary)
Step 1Make sure that you have plantar fasciitis. Symptoms include heel pain right when you get out of bed -- when your heel is at its least flexible. After you've been sleeping, your ligaments and tendons have tightened up, and when you stand up in the morning, that ligament gets a lot of pressure -- and that is what causes the pain. As you move around, and the ligament loosens, the pain will go away, but only until the next time you sit for an extended time, or until you wake up the next morning.
Step 2Use ice and anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling and pain associated with your plantar fasciitis. If you have a frozen water bottle, you can roll it along the bottom of your foot while seated. Just place your foot on the bottle, and roll your foot back and forth, applying gentle pressure. You should feel the bottle pressing against your ligament as you roll back and forth. Ice it in this way for 20 minutes; then take the ice off for 20 minutes; and then resume for 20 more minutes. Do this two or three times a day. If you're a runner, do cross-training activity (such as water jogging) that takes pressure off this ligament until the pain goes away; then, start adding mileage back in gradually.
There are various plantar splints and boots that you can buy to wear at night. This will keep your foot bent while you're asleep, which will keep your plantar ligament more flexible, and so you won't experience the pain when you wake up in the morning. Check with your primary care physician, orthopedist or podiatrist for specific recommendations -- the wrong device can make your situation a lot worse!
Orthotics are inserts that go in your shoe and support your foot. These commonly help plantar fasciitis patients with high arches. You can buy these over the counter, or if you go to a podiatrist, you can have one made to match your foot.
Step 4Corticosteroid injections are a more invasive procedure used to treat the pain associated with plantar fasciitis, if home remedies are not working. Remember -- the pain is coming from tearing in your plantar ligament, so make sure that you are giving your ligament the rest it needs, and using ice and anti-inflammatories to reduce further damage. If you are following this regimen diligently and still are feeling significant pain, then your doctor can give you an injection and recommend other options, including surgery.
Prevention is key to avoid recurring flare-ups of plantar fasciitis. Maintaining a healthy weight will help keep excess pressure off your plantar ligament. Also, choose shoes that support your entire foot -- from the toes, through the arch, and around the heel. Stretch your calf muscles regularly, as this will keep your plantar ligament more flexible over time.
Tips & Warnings