Home-based treatments have been known to improve plantar fasciitis within weeks, but it can take several months. Avoiding activity that puts excessive strain on the heel for two weeks can often be enough. However, you need to be careful and not stop exercising completely because the lack of exercise can cause the foot to stiffen and become painful when you start exercising again. Instead of aerobics or jogging, you can look at swimming or cycling. Exercises that are recommended for plantar fasciitis should be performed. While data on the effectiveness of the following approaches is limited, many people find them helpful.
Reduce The Pain And Inflammation
To reduce the pain and inflammation, you should put some ice on the bottom of your foot close to the heel for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Medication that is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen will also help. These medications can have serious side effects and you should talk to your doctor if you have to take them for more than two weeks.
You should also look at wearing a splint while you sleep that holds the foot upright and flexed back. This will stretch the plantar fascia and relieve pain in the morning. It is important to note that the effectiveness of these splints is debated and they might not work for you.
Protect Your Heel
Decreasing the impact on the heel when walking can be achieved through orthotic devices in your shoes or choose orthotic shoes like OluKai Sandals. This will also reduce the chance of further inflammation. There are different heel cushions and cups on the market. Some evidence has been found indicating silicone inserts are better than rubber heel cups or felt pads.
Pressure on the heel spur can also be reduced using a cut-out heel pad. If you find the over-the-counter orthoses do not help, you should look at a custom order. Regardless of the cushioning devices you use, you should place them in all your shoes.
Support Your Foot
The kind of footwear you have will affect the recovery time and chances of re-injury. Athletic shoes are a good choice as they have cushioned soles and interior arch support. If you are going to be standing or walking on hard surfaces, you should get crepe-soled or cushion-soled shoes. If you do not support your foot, your symptoms are likely to worsen. This means you should avoid slippers and walking barefoot. When you get up in the morning, you need to step into your supportive shoes.
Stretch The Foot
There is evidence that the flexibility in the foot can be restored through gentle plantar fascia-stretching exercises. This can also help to reduce pain levels. A study of 66 patients with chronic plantar fasciitis found that 92% had total or near-total satisfaction regarding their recovery 2 years after they leaned the exercise. The study also found that 94% of the patients reported a decrease in pain from their condition.
There was also a randomized trial by the same research group that shows stretching exercises can improve function and reduce pain. This was compared to the stretching of the Achilles’ tendon. Of course, if you have certain connective tissue disorders, you should avoid these stretching exercises completely.
To stretch the plantar fascia, you need to sit in a chair and rest your ankle on the opposite knee. You should then grasp the toes of the affected foot where they meet the ball and pull back gently. This pullback should be in the direction of the shin and should continue until you feel a stretch in the plantar fascia. The stretch needs to be held for 10 seconds and then repeated 10 times to create a set. This should be done three times a day on your affected foot.