No matter whether you are a morning person or not, if you hop out of bed first thing in the morning and suddenly feel a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot, chances are your day won’t be off to a good start.
What could be causing that odd pain in your arch and near your heel? Chances are it is plantar fasciitis, a condition in which you need to heed caution towards when pursuing continued physical activity. The plantar fascia, a band of thick, fibrous tissue that stretches from your heel along the bottom of your foot to your toes, is a critical component of the foot’s structure. Like a rubber band, it stretches and contracts with the movement of your foot, helping to support your arch and promote proper pronation (natural inward rolling) of the foot when you walk and run.
When it is overused or strained due to poor body mechanics and overtraining, the plantar fascia can become inflamed and even incur pain micro-tears. Continued injury can lead to the plantar fascia disconnecting from the heel altogether and bony growths (heel spurs) developing.
Not only is plantar fasciitis uncomfortable and annoying, it can sideline a sports hobby or workout routine if not addressed and treated. Luckily, most plantar fasciitis treatments are medicine-free and can be done at home. Don’t miss these top 5:
Rest. It may sound too simple, but rest is key to alleviating foot pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Resting your injured foot might not mean laying in bed all day, but rather, avoiding strenuous high-impact activity like running or playing soccer. Rest allows your body to go about repairing the tissue damage and prevents you from exacerbating the strain on the plantar fascia.
Cold therapy. Cold therapy in the form of an ice pack or rolling your foot over a frozen water bottle can help tackle inflammation that may be causing you pain. The freezing sensation of cold therapy also helps to dull spasming nerve endings and temporarily numb the affected area.
Splinting. Splinting or bracing your affected foot at night while you sleep can do wonders for preventing that pain you experience with your first steps out of bed in the morning. Night splints help manage plantar fasciitis pain by immobilizing the foot, holding it in a correct position, and safely stretching the plantar fascia.
Footwear. Updating your footwear to relieve pressure off the plantar fascia when going about day to day activities is a must. Footwear with less than a one-inch heel that has strong arch support and effective cushioning and room in the toe box can support good body mechanics when you are on your feet.
Massage. While a foot massage sounds good any day of the week, plantar fasciitis pain is a great excuse to get one. Targeted deep tissue massage can help break up scar tissue in the foot, boost blood flow to the affected area, and work out knots to promote better flexibility in the foot.