Movement is an essential part of life. Walking, running, standing – you don’t realize how much time is spent doing these activities unless… it causes pain.
Conditions like plantar fasciitis are common among runners and fitness enthusiasts, so it can be challenging for people who are used to that lifestyle to be sedentary. The good news is that there are many ways to stay comfortable on your feet, even with plantar fasciitis!
What is plantar fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a ligament in your foot that connects your heel to your toes. You use this ligament when you walk or run, and it helps maintain the arch in your foot. So what could go wrong? Pregnancy, structural foot problems, such as very high arches or very flat feet, excessive pressure caused by constant running, or being overweight can cause the plantar fascia to have minor tears in it that cause pain in the heel or the middle of the foot.
In most cases, this pain is only in one foot, but it could also develop in both feet. The pain usually starts as a minor discomfort but can grow into severe pain that is dull, sharp or burning. Most people find their symptoms are most severe in the mornings after a night in which the plantar fascia has contracted. Others may have pain after a long period of sitting or when climbing stairs.
Managing the pain from plantar fasciitis can feel like a full-time job
If you’re active, plantar fasciitis is often triggered by overuse or a sudden change in activity, so in that case, a temporarily easing off of movement can be part of the solution. For people who are less active, weight gain is usually a big factor in triggering plantar fasciitis, which means a weight-loss plan could be helpful.
If you have plantar fasciitis, managing the pain can feel endless, but don’t fret! There are some interesting and advanced treatments to help you ease the pain, and possibly prevent it from occurring again in the future.
There are many easy stretching exercises that can help ease the pain of plantar fasciitis, give them a try:
- Tennis ball stretch: While you’re sitting, roll a tennis ball back and forth under your foot
- Wall lean: Stand about one and a half feet away from a wall, with your hands outstretched on the wall. Keep your feet flat on the floor, make sure you don’t lift your heels, and lean forward until you can feel a gentle stretch in your calves
- Seated stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you, with a towel, belt, or exercise band wrapped around the ball of your foot. Pull back gently on the belt to stretch and flex the foot.
Relieving pain from plantar fasciitis
If you’re currently struggling with pain caused by plantar fasciitis, here are ways you can ease the discomfort.
- Ice packs: A simple ice pack on the bottom of the foot can help ease the pain. You could even try rolling a frozen water bottle under your foot to ice it and give it a gentle massage at the same time
- Shorten your stride: If you’re a runner, it helps to reduce your stride to reduce the pressure on the plantar fascia.
- Stretching: The stretching exercises we mentioned above, especially done before exercise can help reduce discomfort
- Exercise regularly: It always helps to find time in your busy schedule to exercise. But remember, start a new workout routine gradually. If you’re switching from running to other activities, consider swimming or cycling as an alternative!
- Take care of your feet with the right footwear: Buy well-fitting and good-quality shoes with the right level of arch support, stability, and comfort (even when you’re at home!)