Plantar fasciitis is a very common and uncomfortable condition of the foot, but there are plantar fasciitis home remedies that can help ease symptoms, including specific plantar fasciitis exercises.
The condition is associated with repetitive strain from running, hiking, and sports like soccer. For some people, this type of injury is linked to occupation. For instance, if a person must stand for a long period of time on a hard surface, it could lead to plantar fasciitis. Dancers are also prone to this strain injury.
Research shows that people who have flat feet or high arches are more likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis. Those who are overweight or walk around in shoes that don’t have proper support are also at a higher risk of getting plantar fasciitis. For some reason, more elderly women seem to get this foot ailment.
While some people recover quickly from plantar fasciitis, others find the condition difficult to get rid of. Some people even have chronic plantar fasciitis.
Home Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis
An estimated two million Americans suffer from plantar fasciitis every year. It is the most common foot injury experienced by runners. The good news is that plantar fasciitis home remedies can help with healing.
If you find that one remedy doesn’t work, don’t get discouraged – keep trying and you’ll likely find a treatment that will ease at least some of your discomfort.
Here are the most common home remedies for plantar fasciitis:
- Cold compress: This can help reduce inflammation and pain. You can wrap a few ice cubes in a thin towel or freeze a plastic bottle filled with water. Place the cold compress over the painful area for a few minutes. Repeat this a few times a day. Don’t rub the ice directly on your heel.
- Rest: It’s a good idea to give your foot some rest. Avoid long walks or standing for too long. You should exercise a little to keep joints from getting stiff. Rest and ice for a couple of days is often the first line of treatment.
- Epsom salts: This is one of the most popular choices among all-natural home remedies for plantar fasciitis because it can be so soothing. It is also inexpensive. Epsom salt can relieve pain and inflammation. The salts can help heal muscles and connective tissues. You can add two to three tablespoons of Epsom salt to a tub of warm water and soak your foot for ten to fifteen minutes, twice a day.
- Apple cider vinegar: The medicinal properties of apple cider vinegar are said to reduce pain and inflammation. One tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of raw honey can be added to a glass of warm water. You should drink this mixture a couple times a day. You can also add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a tub of warm water and soak your foot for five to ten minutes.
- Acupuncture: Some people who don’t respond to exercises for plantar fasciitis turn to acupuncture. This traditional Chinese treatment can help with fascia pain. One study has demonstrated that treatment over a four-week period stimulating classic acupoints with needles provided significant relief from pain.
- Other remedies: Wearing shoes that can be laced-up and have moderate or low heels that support heels and arches is best. Wearing heels or flats are more likely to cause you problems. If you’re a runner, choose the right shoes and remember to change them after every 350 miles.
Some people find insoles that go inside shoes helpful in providing support for the foot and heel. Night splints can also be worn to help speed up recovery. They stretch the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. In recent years, athletes have been using sports strapping tape to relieve pressure on their heels.
Lastly, a 2015 study showed that lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that could help with pain caused by inflammation. You can try diluting a couple drops of lavender oil in a carrier oil, such as olive or coconut oil, and massaging it into the bottoms of your feet. You can also add the oil to a warm footbath.
Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
When looking at how to heal plantar fasciitis quickly, you have to take exercise into account. While it may be true that you can’t take part in your normal level of activities as you heal, plantar fasciitis treatment exercises can be important to your recovery.
The following are recommended exercises, including stretching exercises for plantar fasciitis:
- Calf stretch: Stand one to two feet away from a wall and lean against the wall with your arms stretched out. Place one foot on the ground in the line extending down from your shoulders and then the other foot goes behind your body. Keeping your back foot flat on the ground, you should feel a stretch in the back of your heel. Hold this position for ten seconds and repeat.
- Stair stretch: Find a stair or curb to perform this exercise. Keep your foot stretching back and take one step up with the other foot. Lean into the stairs, keeping the back foot flat so that you can feel the stretch in the back of your heel.
- Foot stretch: In a seated position, reach out and grab your foot. Pull your toes up towards your shin while you hold your foot with the other hand. Hold this for ten seconds and repeat three times on each side.
- Heel cord stretch: This plantar fasciitis exercise can be done by reaching forward and grabbing your foot or by using a towel. If you are using a towel, hold the ends of the towel and loop the middle around your toes. Keep your knee straight and pull the towel ends so that you’re pulling your toes toward your body.
- Wall lean: For this exercise, you can stand up against a wall and place one foot in front of the other. You keep the front knee straight and place the toes up against the wall as high as you can. Now, lean into the wall with the back knee so that you feel a stretch in the foot and heel of the front foot.
- Ice rehab: Take a plastic water bottle or frozen juice container and roll it under your foot for ten minutes. Refreeze and repeat at another time.
- Can roll: This is a rolling exercise that calls for you to sit in a chair and roll your injured foot back and forth over a can. You should repeat the rolling ten times in both directions – heel to toe and vice versa.
- Strengthening and stretching: You can do plantar fasciitis stretches in bed when you first wake up in the morning. For example, you can sit cross-legged at the end of the bed, place your injured foot over the knee of the other leg, and then grab the heel of the painful foot with one hand and the toes with the other hand.
Pull up the toes and the heel. Hold this stretch for ten seconds and then repeat anywhere from ten to twenty times. You can also do seated ankle pumps by sitting in a chair and holding the leg out straight and then flexing and extending the foot at the ankle joint.
Precautions and Tips While Performing Stretches for Plantar Fasciitis
When performing exercises with a condition like plantar fasciitis, you do need to be careful. Depending on the degree of discomfort, some people can continue normal activities, but warming up before and after those sports can decrease pain and inflammation. After any form of exercise, a little rest and icing can be really soothing. A few other suggestions are outlined below:
- Always do gentle stretching before getting out of bed
- Massage your heel before standing up
- When getting back to running, start with short runs and stop occasionally to stretch
- Take proper shoe fitting and support seriously
Plantar fasciitis can range from annoying to rather painful. If you suffer from heel pain, don’t get frustrated. As we’ve noted, there are a lot of simple steps you can take, including plantar fasciitis exercises that will ease the pain and get you back to your normal level of activity.
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