The alarm goes off, and you step out of bed to turn it off, only to have a sharp pain shoot up through your heel. The bottom of your foot feels cramped, your calves are tight, and you’re sure you look like a T-Rex as you limp to your dresser to turn off the alarm. Plantar fasciitis strikes again.
Here at Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center in Laveen, Arizona, we know that plantar fasciitis is painful and disruptive. Fortunately, we offer expert podiatry treatments to relieve plantar fasciitis and advice on how to live with the painful condition.
What is plantar fasciitis exactly?
A band of connective tissue stretches from the ball of your foot to your heel, where it connects to your Achilles tendon and calf muscles. When that band, your plantar fascia, is irritated and inflamed, you develop plantar fasciitis. Your symptoms are typically worse after a period of rest, and they subside as you get moving and your fascia warms up.
In many cases, plantar fasciitis is due to the wear-and-tear caused by daily stress on your feet and calves. Your risk of plantar fasciitis increases if you have a career that requires you to be on your feet all day or participate in a sport that stresses your feet and calves such as running or dancing.
Additionally, as you age, your connective tissue loses moisture and flexibility, which leaves you more vulnerable to injuries.
7 tips for living with plantar fasciitis
If you have plantar fasciitis, you can take steps to reduce your flare-ups while staying active. With a little self-care, you can prevent the painful inflammation and remain active.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to stretch your feet and calves. If you’re a runner or a dancer, or if you’re on your feet all day like nurses and teachers, your calves are going to get tight. When your calves are tight, they pull on your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
You can also stretch the bottoms of your feet. It’s not comfortable, but it’s worth it to avoid the pain of plantar fasciitis.
Try this: Kneel on the floor with your toes tucked under, then slowly lower your bottom toward your ankles. Don’t worry if you can’t go too far before it starts to hurt. Hover where you can feel the stretch, but not too much pain. Rest in this position for about 30 seconds and repeat. Over time, increase the amount of time you spend in the stretch.
Applying ice is a tried and tested method to reduce inflammation. We recommend freezing a bottle of water and rolling it with the bottom of your foot to ice your plantar fascia. Of course, you can also purchase foot-specific cold packs or even use a bag of frozen peas.
If you’re an athlete, the last thing you want to do is take time away from training to rest. However, allowing your plantar fascia time to heal is critical. You don’t have to spend your time sitting around with your feet up. You can cross-train with other activities that don’t stress your feet, such as swimming or cycling.
Wear supportive shoes
It’s time to give up the high heels and flip-flops. You should always wear shoes that support your feet. We can assess your gait and your arches and provide recommendations on the best shoes or orthotics for you.
Protect your feet at night
You can also take steps to reduce your plantar fasciitis pain while you sleep. Part of the problem is that your feet relax into pointed positions, which shorten your Achilles tendon and pull on your plantar fascia. You can prevent the pointed foot position by loosening or untucking your bedsheets.
You could also try wearing foot slings that gently keep your feet from pointing while you sleep. Some of our patients find that wearing mild compression socks at night does the trick.
See a podiatrist
If you have plantar fasciitis, our team of podiatry experts offers treatments including custom orthotics, cortisone injections, and stem cell therapy to treat plantar fasciitis. You should continue to have checkups with us after your symptoms subside so we can monitor your feet and help you prevent future flare-ups.
Call us, send us a message here on our website, or use our online booking feature to set up your appointment today for expert treatments for plantar fasciitis and customized advice on how to manage and prevent your symptoms.