You wake up in the morning after a good night’s sleep. You get out of bed and take your first step of the day. And that is when your nightmare begins.
If you are suffering from extreme pain in the heel, especially after waking up in the morning, you could be suffering from Plantar Fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fascia is a tissue at the heel of your foot. Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition when this tissue is damaged, stressed or inflamed. The pain is usually at its worst after long periods of idleness like sleep.
Who gets Plantar Fasciitis?
According to experts one in ten people around the world will suffer from Plantar Fasciitis some time or the other in their lives.
According to BBC, athletes and runners who put their feet their through a lot of heavy training can get this painful affliction.
People who are overweight and hence put more weight on their soles can also get Plantar Fasciitis. And so can women who wear high heels.
How Do You Cure Plantar Fasciitis?
Unfortunately there is no magic pill that can cure you of Plantar Fasciitis. However the problem can be managed by a combination of therapies and treatments. As you are reading this, medical science is bringing out more and more effective and advanced way to treat this agonizing malady. But there are certain simple steps you can take to reduce pain and make it more bearable.
Have you been training too hard? Maybe that is why your Plantar Fascia has been either inflamed or hurt. Sometimes a simple period of rest can do wonders. Try to avoid putting more stress on your already distressed feet.
If you are overweight, you might be putting up too much pressure on the bottom of your foot. However if you lose weight and get a little fitter, you may find that your pain has greatly reduced.
Get rid of those torture devices that go by the name of shoes. Rather get footwear and shoe inserts that support and protect your feet.
Though never a long term solution, mild anti inflammatory analgesic drugs can sometimes help with the pain. These are especially useful for athletes in their training period.
Though this will chill your soles, ice can be greatly helpful during acute pain.
Stretch Your Pain Away
Whether your Plantar Fasciitis has been caused by training or weight, bad shoes or injuries, the right exercise and stretches can go a long way to relieving the pain.
According to WebMD, stretching properly will make the Plantar Fascia more flexible and strengthen the other muscles and joints of your foot which support the Plantar Fascia. It will also increase circulation and keep the muscles and tendons loose.
Remember though some exercises help a lot, some can cause more harm than good. So be careful.
Exercises that Work
Exercises that gently stretch your feet and adjoining muscles as well as Plantar Fascia. These should be mixed with exercises that add strength to the muscles on and near your feet.
Exercises that Harm
Anything that causes more trauma to your Plantar Fascia. Running and jogging, spot jumping or just about anything that brings your feet in contact with a hard surface with some force.
Start your day without Pain
For a person with Plantar Fasciitis, mornings can be extremely unpleasant. The first step of the day as on gets out of bed is excruciating, to put it mildly.
So the best time to start your plantar fasciitis stretches is even before you get out of bed. Mix these up with a little bit of massage and your first step will be far more bearable.
As you are lying down, flex your feet up towards the shin – as far as it will go. And then stretch it downwards. Repeat ten times.
This is one of the easiest yet most effective among the plantar fasciitis stretches. Using your hand pull up your big toe. Try to bring it as close to the shin as possible. Hold it for about twenty to thirty seconds. Repeat a few times.
This is also a very useful exercise to do during the day. You do not need to lie down every time – you can do it sitting on a chair. When sitting, keep your heel on the ground and pull up your toe. Do it a few times, through the day.
Hold the towel by both ends. Place the balls of your feet on the loop of the towel. Pull the towel to stretch the foot towards your ankle. Keep this position for about twenty to thirty seconds.
This stretch can also be done while sitting on a chair. Remember to do it a few times during the day.
There are many other Plantar Fasciitis Stretches that can keep your feet supple and pain free throughout the day. Make sure to do them two or three times, every day.
Stand straight against a wall. Put your hands on the wall at about the level of your face. Put one leg behind the other by about a step.
Bend your front knee. This will stretch your back leg. Make sure that the back heel stays on the ground. Keep this position for twenty to thirty seconds. Repeat it about five times per session.
Stretches with Band
There a few simple stretches with band that can go a long way in relieving Plantar Fasciitis pain. These stretches do not just make the plantar fascia more flexible and supple; they also give strength to the adjoining muscles which support the plantar in every day life.
Toe Flexion with Band: Place the band under your feet in such a way that the end of the band comes out from under the toe. Hold the end tightly and then press your toe downwards. Keep it in the position for a while and then return. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_qp6bm8rhc)
Ankle Dorsiflexion with Band: Sit on a chair. Wrap the band around one foot. One end of the band should be held at knee level of the foot. The other end needs to be placed under the other foot. Now raise your foot against the tension of the band. Slowly get back to original position.
Ankle Eversion with Band: For this stretch too, you need to be sitting on a chair. Loop the band around one foot while keeping the edges of the band tight under the other. Push your foot outwards, away from the other foot. Slowly get back to the original position.
Plantar Fasciitis Stretches with Tennis Ball
A simple tennis ball can be a very useful tool to stretch your Plantar Fascia. Sit on a chair and put the arch of your foot on a tennis ball. Now roll the tennis ball backward and forward as well as side to side. As the pain decreases you can also do the Plantar Fasciitis Stretches with Tennis Ball while standing up.If the pain is excruciating, you can replace the tennis ball with a bottle of iced water.
Things to keep in mind
According to WebMD, plantar fasciitis stretches should not increase your pain. If they do, stop immediately. Also discuss your stretches with your doctor or physiotherapist. They will be able to guide you in creating a program that is right for you.
Living with Plantar Fasciitis
No matter how painful your condition becomes, don’t lose hope. Remember that millions around the world are facing the same challenge.
And there is no reason why you cannot continue to live a healthy active life. All you need to do is to understand Plantar Fasciitis and how to deal with it.