How Can I Relieve Plantar Fasciitis Pain at Home?
Plantar fasciitis affects many adults at one time or another. It shows up mostly between the ages of 30 and 60, and it’s more common with runners or people who are overweight. While fairly common, plantar fasciitis can cause severe discomfort and pain throughout the heel of the foot. Fortunately, the very fact that it’s so common, means there are many effective home care options for plantar fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The long ligaments that run from your heel bone to the metatarsal bones at the ball of your foot are called plantar fascia. These ligaments support the arch and provide shock absorption as you walk. Plantar fasciitis means that these ligaments have become inflamed or damaged, causing pain in the heel, especially while walking or otherwise bearing down on the foot.
Pain from plantar fasciitis is often more pronounced with the first few steps in the morning or after sitting or standing for long periods. If you think you have plantar fasciitis, the sooner you start treatment, the sooner you can return to your normal activities without pain.
Simple Ways to Treat Plantar Fasciitis at Home
Fortunately, many home treatments for plantar fasciitis, along with some temporary lifestyle adjustments can provide pain relief and help the ligament to heal. It’s important to consult a physician for an accurate diagnosis, to rule out more serious conditions. Once diagnosed, many of the practices outlined below have been recommended by physicians for those experiencing plantar fasciitis.
Avoid Activities that Increase the Inflammation
Continuing to participate in activities that aggravate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis can both increase the pain and increase the inflammation or damage. The more severe the inflammation, the longer it may take to treat. Activities you may want to avoid might include:
- Strenuous exercises, especially high-impact exercises that will strain the ligament
- Sports, especially where you need to run, jump, or stand for long periods
- Standing for prolonged periods
Change Your Footwear
Flat or nearly flat shoes with adequate arch support will take some of the pressure off the plantar fascia. Also, wearing shoes with plenty of cushion and always wearing cushioned footwear, even in the house, especially on hard floors, will help.
Wear a Foot Brace at Night
One of the reasons plantar fasciitis hurts more when you first get up is because your ligament is stiff from not flexing or extending all night while you slept. A night brace, such as the Bird & Cronin Baker Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint, holds the ligament in a s neutral, stretched position while you sleep, making the transition to walking in the morning less painful.
If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, the PediFix FasciaFIX Plantar Fascia Stretching Sock provides a gentle stretch, and can be worn while sleeping or sitting.
Massage can increase blood flow, which helps promote healing. Though it seems counterintuitive, applying pressure through massage can confuse the pain receptors and actually relieve the pain.
Check out the Alleviate Plantar Fasciitis Massager, which includes guided stretching methods that are proven to reduce plantar fascia tension.
Here are five ways you can massage your plantar fascia ligament, to stimulate healing and ease pain:
- With your thumbs, apply pressure from the ball of your foot, working down through the arch to the heel
- Roll your foot back and forth on a small ball, like a tennis or racquet ball
- Roll your foot back and forth on a vibrating massage ball
- Use a vibrating massage gun on the same areas
- Roll your foot on a plastic water bottle that’s been frozen. You’ll be icing at the same time!
Gentle Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis
Elongating and flexing the plantar fascia with gentle stretches several times a day will help relieve the pain and improve your foot mobility. Here are several simple Plantar Fasciitis exercises that you can do at home.
These gentle stretches are especially good to do after sitting for long periods, or before getting out of bed in the morning. Do these to get your ligaments warmed back up, before putting pressure on them, to help alleviate pain in your heel.
Wrap a towel under the ball of your foot, then pull the ends gently toward you until you feel the stretch in your calf. Hold for 45 seconds and repeat twice.
Grab your toes and flex the foot upwards, stretching the arch of your foot as far as possible. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat a few times. You can also massage the arch with your other hand while doing this stretch.
With a towel on the ground at your feet, grab the closest end with your toes and curl, gradually pulling the rest of the towel towards you, until it’s all bunched up. When you’re done, you can also reverse it, grabbing and releasing to send the towel back out.
Place your palms on a wall at about eye level and an arms-length away, and move the foot you need to stretch behind you. Keeping your back leg straight with your heel on the floor, bend your front knee and lean toward the wall to feel your calf stretch in your back leg.
If you have a step or stairs with a railing handy, put the balls of your feet on the edge of the last step or stair and let the heels of your feet lower. Hold and repeat several times.
When your heel pain is acute, you might think about simply giving the foot a break, so that the inflammation can subside. If you’re in training, try switching to swimming or another low-impact activity to give the foot the chance to heal.
While you’re doing all the things to help promote healing, you still may have some plantar fasciitis pain to deal with. Here are three ways you can address the pain in your heel at home.
Icing can provide temporary relief. You can use an ice pack, a Cryocup™ massage cup, or an Elasto-Gel Hot/Cold Therapy Wrap.
Using an ankle pressure sleeve helps with healing by increasing blood flow. Anything from circulation socks to a plantar fasciitis wrap can provide relief while engaging in daily activities.
Many topicals can provide relief, which include sports rubs, medicated creams, and natural liniments.
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Disclaimer: The information provided on the Orthopedic Outfitters website is designed for educational and entertainment purposes only. This information is not meant to substitute any professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routines. Depending on your overall health, certain conditions, and medications, your doctor may advise specific levels of activity.