If you get out of bed and feel like you might have stepped on a nail or a shard of glass, you might have plantar fasciitis. Here’s how to get some relief.
Foot pain is a common complaint that can occur at almost any age. With plantar fasciitis, the band of tissue (fascia) connecting your heel bone to your toes becomes inflamed and painful. This can start with mild heel pain and end up with pain so bad that walking becomes unbearable.
Risk factors for plantar fasciitis (fashee-EYE-tiss) include being overweight or having a job that requires standing or walking a lot on a hard surface. People with very flat feet or high arches are also at higher risk, as well as those who walk or run for exercise. That seems to cover a very large portion of the population.
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The foot pain gets worse after a period of inactivity, such as sleeping or sitting down. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic condition, too – one that doesn’t completely go away.
It might get better for a time and then come back with a vengeance. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to alleviate the foot pain when your plantar fasciitis flares up. Here are some things you can try to get rid of your foot pain without drugs or surgery.
First Things First
If you can, I’d recommend seeing your primary care doctor to get a diagnosis before you proceed. Plantar fasciitis can cause such intense pain that you might feel like you’ve broken a bone in your foot. You’ll want to rule this out for your own peace of mind.
Many years ago when I suffered severe foot pain, I saw a doctor who sent me for a foot x-ray. Nothing was broken, so I was sent on my way with instructions to take Advil and stay off my foot for awhile.
Just a few years ago when I again sought medical advice for foot pain, with a new doctor, I had a totally different experience. The doctor examined my foot thoroughly, asked me some questions and diagnosed plantar fasciitis.
He explained what plantar fasciitis is and offered suggestions on helping to alleviate it.
Please note that I’m not a doctor or other medical expert. This post is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to get checked out to make sure of your diagnosis. I’m sharing my experience with plantar fasciitis to help others get rid of their foot pain and get on with living.
Orthotic Shoe Inserts
One thing that’s saved me a ton of money is buying orthotic inserts off the shelf rather than through a podiatrist. I know some people swear by their custom orthotics. You might find yourself considering them if none of the drugstore orthotics work for you.
Fortunately, there are quite a few off-the-shelf shoe insert options to try before you resort to the time and expense of getting fitted for custom orthotics. There are scads of different orthotic shoe insert choices in your local Walmart or drug store.
You might need to try a few orthotics before settling on one that works best for you. If you’re a woman with a wide foot, try buying men’s orthotics rather than women’s. Here are a few options for orthotics.
- ProFoot Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis (Womens)
- ProFoot Orthotics for Plantar Fasciitis (Mens)
- Dr. Scholl’s Comfort Heel Cushions
Together with orthotic shoe inserts, Crocs shoes have been a lifesaver for me. Some people prefer tennis shoes or other types of shoes with good support and padding. You might have to try on a lot of different shoes before you find some that work best for you.
If you find shoes that you absolutely love and you can afford it, buy two pairs of shoes in the same size and color. When your favorite shoes wear out, that exact style might not be available anymore.
Even if the same style is still available, it might have changed. In the past, I’ve bought shoes of the same brand that I’d had before that also looked the same, but the fit and feel were totally different.
Wear Shoes All the Time
Say goodbye to walking around in your socks or bare feet. You’ll get used to wearing your comfortable shoes with orthotics all the time.
Even if your feet feel fine in your shoes, you may find a completely different experience if you try to walk around without them.
You can find a number of different stretches to relive plantar fasciitis. One in particular from the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society has helped me quite a bit.
Cross your affected leg over your other leg.
Using the hand on your affected side, take hold of your affected foot and pull your toes back towards shin. This creates tension/stretch in the arch of the foot/plantar fascia.
Check for the appropriate stretch position by gently rubbing the thumb of your unaffected side left to right over the arch of the affected foot. The plantar fascia should feel firm, like a guitar string.
Hold the stretch for a count of 10. A set is 10 repetitions.
Source: American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society
How About You?
Did this post help you? How have you relieved your foot pain? What helped and what didn’t?
This post was published in October 2017 and updated in April 2019.
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