Plantar fasciitis is quite annoying. Living with this condition can be painful, and the aching feet can obstruct your daily activities. Dealing with this pain can be stressful, especially considering that plantar fasciitis can last anywhere between one month and two years. This unpredictable nature of the condition is a big factor in how nerve-racking it can be, but you’re not alone. When the pain flares up, there are a couple of things you can do to make it easier to handle. Here are some of the most helpful, natural remedies for plantar fasciitis.
1. Apply Ice
Ice is the simplest, yet most effective remedy for plantar fascia pain. Whenever you notice that your plantar fasciitis is flaring up or you notice swelling, you can use the calming properties of an ice pack. Ice treatment is especially effective when your feet hurt after working out or standing for a long time. While you can always use ice to numb existing pain, it’s also beneficial to cool down your plantar fascia three or four times per day, as this will promote healing.
1.1. How to Apply Ice as a Remedy for Plantar Fasciitis
You can use either an ice pack or ice cubes in a regular bag. You can even make your own ice packs by pouring a bit of water into a freezer bag and leaving it in your freezer overnight. When icing your feet, you should remove your socks because they will get wet as the ice melts (even if it’s in a bag). Use a thin towel or a cloth to cover the ice pack, and hold it over the painful area between 10 and 20 minutes. It might feel good to massage your feet with the ice pack, but remember to make sure that not to press too hard since the cold can numb your feet, and as a result, you may not feel exactly how much pressure you’re putting.
If you are in pain but don’t have ice on hand, a simple massage can help get restore the blood flow through your feet. There are a couple of methods to do massage, and you don’t need to purchase any special equipment – you can use your fingers, or some of the round things you can find around your home like a baseball or a golf ball (it must be the tough, solid kind), an aluminum can or glass jar or a round plastic bottle filled with water. You even get additional benefits if you use cold water or can – just remember that you shouldn’t eat or drink out of it later.
2.1. How to Massage Your Feet to Help Plantar Fasciitis Pain
You don’t have to remove your socks to massage your feet, but you will get better results barefoot. You should always sit when massaging your feet, or lie down if someone is doing it for you.
If you’re only using your fingers and no props, you should press your arches and heels, making circular motions with your thumbs. Work your way from the balls of your feet up to the heel, or focus on a particular pain point that’s bothering you. Put as much pressure as you feel comfortable with, but remember that massage needs to hurt a little bit – just make sure you don’t inflict injury on yourself.
If you have a hard ball, a bottle, a can, or a jar, put it on the floor and put your foot over it. You should be able to roll the item under your arches. As with using your thumbs, make sure you apply sufficient pressure – you should feet a pleasant kind of pain from the pressure for the massage to be successful.
Simple stretches can really alleviate the pressure off your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, promoting blood flow and helping to increase the mobility of your foot. Overnight, you can wear a night splint, which keeps your feet in the stretched position. Two of the most popular stretches for plantar fasciitis are the wall stretch and the belt stretch.
3.1. The Wall Stretch
If you want to stretch standing up, the wall stretch is a good pick. You should get a couple of books or a low, stable stool or bench that you can stand on securely. Place them about two feet away from a wall. Step onto the books or stool standing on the balls of your feet and with your heels hanging back. Slowly lean forward, keeping your elbows and hands on the wall for support. As you lean, you should push your heels down towards the floor, to maximize the stretch. Hold the position for about 15 seconds, or as much as feels comfortable.
3.2. The Belt Stretch
To do a belt stretch, sit on the floor with your legs straight ahead of you. Get a wide belt, and place it over the ball of one foot. Keeping your knees straight, pull the belt so that your foot and ankle lengthens. Hold the position for ten seconds, and then relax. Repeat this exercise several times on each foot. Do as many as you’re comfortable with, and with time, these stretches will get easier for you and promote healing.
Sometimes, all you need to do is let your feet rest for a while. Plantar fasciitis is a condition caused by too much impact on the ligament of the foot, and resting is the most important part of healing. If you have the chance, lie down when you feel pain, lifting your feet up. If you can’t lie down, simply sitting down will give you the necessary relief and alleviate the pressure off your feet.
Finally, if your job requires you to stand or walk without a break for long periods, you should be prepared, and get very comfortable shoes for plantar fasciitis. The right shoes should be very supportive, have a slightly raised heel – not completely flat but not a high heel either, have comfortable (but not too soft and flimsy!) heel and plantar fascia cushions, and be the right size for you.
5. Take NSAIDs
While this is not really a “natural” remedy, if you’re in pain and nothing else is helping, you might not have much choice other than to take an anti-inflammatory pain relieving medicine. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include ibuprofen pills like Advil and Motrin, and these can reduce pain rather quickly. It usually takes somewhere between 5 and 30 minutes for the medicine to reduce the pain.
You should take these with caution, and make sure that you never take more than recommended. Read the manual sheet that you can find online or inside the box to find out how much you should take (usually calculated based on your body weight), and whether the medicine can interact with other medications you may be using.
We hope these remedies help you deal with the pain that plantar fasciitis causes. This condition is not easy to live with, and it can be very stressful, but you’re not alone. If your pain is persistent and it lingers for more than three weeks, you should make sure to consult your physician. They will make sure that you receive the necessary care, and that your treatment plan is tailored to your specific case. Remember that treating plantar fasciitis in time is very important because leaving the issue untreated can cause many further issues or the condition could become chronic. Along with the treatment, you should make sure you get good shoes to wear daily because uncomfortable or unsupportive shoes are the most common cause of heel and plantar fascia issues.