One minute you feel fine, the next minute there’s a sharp, stabbing pain in the heel of your foot. Although you try to put weight on it and keep going, the pain gets worse until it’s nearly unbearable.
Plantar fasciitis feels serious – but with the right knowledge and treatment techniques it can be simple to heal. It is particularly common in people aged 40 and above, those who exercise frequently (especially runners/high impact exercises) and people who are overweight. It’s an issue I see commonly in my practice, but fortunately it isn’t a serious condition, and the prognosis is positive with consistent care at home.
Additional treatments such as sports massage can speed up the recovery process – along with lots of rest and a common-sense approach. So if you’re struggling with plantar fasciitis, read on to find out more about what it is, how to relieve pain and how to get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition of the tendons that affects around 20% of people aged 40 and over in the UK.
Causes cannot always be identified, but commonly include:
*Exercising on hard surfaces, such as running outdoors
*Recently beginning higher intensity of exercise such as walking, running or standing
*Poorly fitting shoes with inadequate cushioning/support
*Overstretching the sole of your foot
*Exercising with tight heel/calf muscles
How can plantar fasciitis affect the body?
Plantar fasciitis causes pain on the underside of the foot, around the arch and heel. Other symptoms include restriction in foot flexibility and pain in the lower leg caused by tension or unusual movement.
There are other conditions that can cause this kind of pain, but plantar fasciitis is characterised by pain felt most after sleeping or resting. The pain tends to subside when exercising or moving the foot, but returns as soon as you rest.
Treatment options and tips for plantar fasciitis
Many of the treatment options for plantarfasciitis are home-based and involve doingsmall things each day to help yourself to recover. Some of the main tips I find useful for patients with plantar fasciitis include:
Frozen golf ball: Freezing a golf ball and rolling the foot over it gently can help to ease symptoms. Ice can quickly relieve the pain caused by plantar fasciitis, whilst rolling the ball underfoot massages and releases the tissue. A rolling pin works well for this, too
Soft heel pads/insoles: Heel pads and insoles can further cushion your feet when walking to help you stay mobile
Rest and raise the foot: When sitting, keep the foot raised and rested where possible
Wear comfortable shoes: Comfy shoes are underrated! Wear wide-fitting, comfortable and supportive shoes during recovery to prevent further injury and speed up the healing process
Gentle stretching: Gentle stretches can help to ease and release the pain caused by plantar fasciitis. Maintaining mobility is important for recovery
Massage: Visiting us for specialist massage can help to keep your feet healthy and happy. Sports massage techniques can be used to relieve the persistent pain of plantar fasciitis.