Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that can cause heel pain. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes and helps support the arch of your foot. When this tissue becomes inflamed, it can cause heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis is often caused by overuse, such as from running or standing for long periods. It can also be caused by wearing shoes that don’t support the arch of your foot or by having tight calf muscles.
There are several things you can do to help relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis and speed up the healing process. First, rest your foot as much as possible and avoid activities that aggravate the pain. Second, try icing your heel for 20 minutes several times a day to reduce inflammation. Third, stretch your calf muscles and Achilles tendon regularly to loosen any tightness. Finally, wear a supportive shoe or insert to help take pressure off of your heel.
With some care and patience, you can expect plantar fasciitis to heal within one to two weeks. However, if the pain doesn’t improve after two weeks or if it gets worse, be sure to see your doctor for further evaluation.
What is plantar fasciitis and what are the symptoms
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects your heel to your toes. It’s a common condition that can cause heel pain and stiffness. Symptoms include sharp pain in the heel, pain when walking, or pain after resting. It is common to have significant pain with the first step out of bed in the morning or during a period of rest and getting up to stand. Usually, the pain will dissipate within a few minutes; however, as the day progresses, especially with increased activity, the pain level can escalate.
How to cure plantar fasciitis in one week
If caught EARLY this is possible. The most important treatment to implement is activity modification or restriction. At the end of the day, if you are training for a marathon and you are having severe pain in your heel, if you continue with your training regimen the pain will either stay the same or get worse. This will only complicate the recovery.
Some of the other more common treatment options include ice, compression, elevation, orthotics, anti-inflammatories or Tylenol, and massage. A favorite technique is to freeze a water bottle and then roll it underneath the foot. This will offer both cryotherapy and massage at the same time.
The best exercises for plantar fasciitis
It is very common to see a tight calf muscle with plantar fasciitis in addition to other foot and ankle disorders. Stretching the calf muscle is very important and will reduce the tension going through the arch.
One of the best ways to stretch the calf muscles is by placing the foot up against the wall but the knee must be straight and not bent. With a straight back and looking forward, the torso/upper body is brought towards the wall and a stretch should be felt in the back of the calf muscle. Holding the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds, 3-4 times a day will be very beneficial.
It can also be very beneficial to stretch the calf with a belt or Thera-Band while in bed before taking the first step in the morning. Although the pain may not be completely reduced, it will probably be more tolerable compared to not stretching.
Stretching the fascia out can also be helpful. This is done by bringing the affected foot up on your opposite knee. Next, with your hand the toes are forced in the upward direction, this is known as dorsiflexion. Because the plantar fascia is attached to all your toes, bending the toes up will cause a stretch of the fascia. Hold this for about 15 to 20 seconds also performed 3-4 times a day.
The importance of wearing supportive shoes
Walking barefoot, wearing flip-flops, or wearing anything that does not have support only puts more strain and stress on the plantar fascia. It is important to wear supportive shoes that are not very flexible. This will protect the fascia and allow it to recover appropriately.
Additional tips and advice
Sometimes heel pain is not caused by plantar fasciitis. If symptoms do not resolve then it is recommended to be evaluated by a qualified foot and ankle provider. Sometimes heel pain can be due to other reasons including a stress fracture, infection, bone tumor, or nerve entrapment, among other issues. This can only be adequately diagnosed through a thorough history and physical examination.