As an athlete, I have suffered from a lot of injuries and have undergone many treatments, varying from acupuncture to foam rolling.
Over time, I figured out that the most efficient treatments were always nothing complicated, but the simplest. The reason is you could practice that therapy comfortably at your own home more usual. You might think that healing pain is no big deal, but it does have an impact on the way you walk and ultimately decides whether you are able to work out or not.
Specifically, I’m making mention of plantar fasciitis. You’d have in your mind that physio would be the most effective therapy, right? Well, in fact, just with a tennis ball and the weight of your body, the treatment I’m going to mention can help you save money and time.
Stay tuned for the tip I mention, but first, let’s take a look at some following information.
What is plantars fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is regarded as one of the most commonplace reasons resulting in heel pain. It relates to the inflammation of a ligament (a thick band of tissue), which runs across the foot’s bottom and joins your toes with heel bone (plantar fascia).
Usually, plantar fasciitis creates piercing agony once you put your first steps on the ground in the morning. The more steps you take, normally the less pain you suffer. But after you stand up for a while or rise from sitting, the pain could return.
Runners are more likely to get plantar fasciitis. What’s more, plantar fasciitis is more risky to obese people and those who wear shoes with poor backing.
What Are the Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis?
If you are worried that you might have experienced this syndrome, run your eyes over this list below to see whether they match what you are undergoing.
- Your foot’s sole, especially around the heel area, is racked with aching, burning or sharp pain.
- No sooner have you stepped out of bed or stood up after sitting still for a long time than foot pain occurs.
- Pain that seems to fade gradually after you have stood or walked for a while then returns at a later time in the day.
- Sudden pain in the heel or pain that goes stronger gradually.
- Foot pain that persists for more than several days, or which occurs regularly over months or years.
- Pain in only one foot, yet it is possible that Plantar Fasciitis strikes both feet.
- The heel area feels swollen, red or heated.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
- You may have a higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis when you are overweight or have obesity. This is because your plantar fascia ligaments are under increased pressure, which even worsens when you gain weight suddenly.
- Pregnant women often suffer from bouts of plantar fasciitis, especially in late pregnancy.
- If you’re a long-distance or marathon runner, you are more likely to develop plantar fascia symptoms.
- You can also suffer plantar fascia if your job is a very active one that requires long-time standing. For example, you are working as a restaurant waiter or a factory worker.
- Active people aged from 40 to 70 are at the greatest risk of developing plantar fasciitis. Also, women tend to experience such symptoms more than men.
- If you’ve got foot problems, for example, very flat feet or high arches, you are more likely to get plantar fasciitis. Tight Achilles tendons, the tendons that join your calf muscles to the heels, may also cause plantar fascia pain. Simply wearing shoes with soft soles and poor arch support can also result in plantar fasciitis.
How Is Plantar Fasciitis Diagnosed?
Your doctor will first carry out a physical exam to check your foot’s tenderness and pinpoint exactly where your pain occurs. That is to ensure the pain is not caused by another foot problem. You also have to flex your foot while the doctor pushes on the plantar fascia. They want to see if the pain gets worse as you flex and better as you point your toe. Also, they will note, if yes, your mild swelling and redness.
Your doctor will assess your muscles’ strength level as well as your nerves’ health by checking your:
- muscle tone
- sight and sense of touch
You may also need to go under an MRI or X-ray scan, just to be sure no other physical factors like bone fractures are the cause of your pain.
How to prevent Plantar Fasciitis
Even though there is no one-size-fits-all solution to do away with plantar fasciitis, you can follow a variety of techniques in order to keep this condition away from doing harm to your health.
Your Diet Must Include These Food Items
As ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, your diet is the starting point to protect you from plantar fasciitis. Assuming the inflamed plantar fascia is a symptom of this condition, an anti-inflammatory diet is what I highly recommend you. Here are some kinds of food that are not rich in sugar, contain non-vegetable carbs and can prevent inflammation:
- Herbs and spices such as cloves, ginger, turmeric, and rosemary
- Fermented and traditionally cultured food that is anti-inflammatory. They “reseed” beneficial bacteria in your gut, thus improving its immune function.
You should also consume more food with healthy saturated fats. You can look for the most healthy fats in these items:
- Animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil
- Coconuts or coconut oil
- Grass-fed butter
- Organic pastured egg yolks
- Black sesame, pumpkin, cumin, and hemp seeds
- Raw nuts, for example, macadamia nuts or pecans
You Can Have Workouts, but Avoid Intense Ones
If your feet are afflicted with plantar fasciitis, believe me, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to put an end to exercising! My advice is you spend some of your leisure time doing exercises. Why? Because they help you take full advantage of exercising and also can eliminate your plantar fasciitis, especially when you pick up these useful tips:
- Wear certain well-cushioned shoes and make sure your heels aren’t worn so tightly.
- Keep away from hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt, run on a good track, grass, or trails instead.
- Hold your mileage relatively constant. Increase your total miles every week by less than 10% unless you have training improvements.
- When setting out speed work, make sure you ease into it gradually after several weeks building up.
- Regularly do exercises that help stretch your Achilles tendon.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis?
Although we all know that it is important to rid the plantar fascia ligament off inflammation, such doing does not handle the underlying damage to your ligament.
You can apply some initial home treatments. For example, to reduce swelling, let your feet rest and massage them gently with some ice cubes for 15-20 minutes, around 3-4 times every day.
You should also change or decrease the intensity of your working-out activities. Another useful way to soothe pain is getting your shoes arch supports or trying some stretching exercises.
You can use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), to reduce ligament inflammation.
Read more: Tools for Treating Plantar Fasciitis
In case neither home treatments nor over-the-count drugs do their job well, you can go to your doctor’s office and resort to an injection of corticosteroid, which directly soothes the damaged area.
Using an ultrasound device, your doctor can find the best location for the injection. Instead of directly injecting, your doctor can apply corticosteroids onto your foot arch or your heel skin and then use a painless e-current for the steroid to go skin-through into your muscle.
Don’t forget to apply physical therapy because it plays a vital part in plantar fasciitis treatment. It helps stretch your Achilles as well as plantar fascia tendons. Your physical therapist can introduce you some exercises to increase the strength of your lower leg muscles. Thus, your walk remains stable and your plantar fascia feels less pressure.
However, if those methods seem unhelpful and your feet are still aching, your doctor will possibly suggest extracorporeal shock wave therapy. This therapy works in a way that your heels are bombarded with sound waves to encourage the ligament to heal. This treatment can lead to:
You should note that there hasn’t been any evidence to prove its consistent effectiveness in alleviating symptoms.
In cases where pain is too severe, surgery is the most extreme therapy you have to take as a last resort. One surgery involves detaching partially the plantar fascia from your heel bone, yet this will enervate your foot arch and even make it lose its full function. Another way your surgeon can use is to lengthen your calf muscle. This process is known as gastrocnemius recession.
Tennis Ball Stretch:
Stretching exercises help pull your muscles without causing any pain. But, what do I mean by the tennis ball stretch?
It’s just a simple activity for you to treat your tendon at home.
I will show you the steps to perform it correctly. The tennis ball stretch is performed when you are seated.
First, put the tennis ball under the arch of your foot then use the arch to roll the ball backward and forward.
Just push the foot onto the ball with your body weight. When your condition gets better, you can do this exercise while standing.
This 2-min video below can show you in details how to perform a tennis ball stretch:
Surgery is not a common treatment for this condition
I’m sure you will feel relieved to hear this fact: Only around 5 out of 100 plantar fasciitis sufferers have to go under the knife to get rid of the pain when non-surgical methods do not work. The surgery comes with an incision in the plantar fascia to reduce the tension of your ligament.
Here are some potential risks involved in this surgery:
- irritation of the nerves in the heel area
- recurring plantar fasciitis
- pain in the heel or foot
- the arch getting flattened
- anesthetic problems