A Busy Person’s Guide to Plantar Fasciitis
If you feel pain at the bottom of your heel when you first get up in the morning or towards the end of the day, then you might have plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury to the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad ligament on the base of your foot which extends from your heel to the base of your toes.
What To Do About Plantar Fasciitis
Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis is not a quick and easy issue to resolve; instead, it can require months of dedication to a prescribed treatment plan. Sometimes, however, life gets in the way of our best intentions. As a result, many of us don’t have the time to sit diligently and complete our exercises and stretches.
READ MORE: Tips For Treating Plantar Fasciitis
For much of the day, many of us are chained to our desk, working on our feet all day, or going about our daily responsibilities. Luckily, this is the perfect time to perform some of the treatment options available to plantar fasciitis suffers.
Here is our busy person’s guide to treating plantar fasciitis
While seated or standing at your desk or workstation, use a golf ball or Foot Rubz to massage along the arch of your foot. This will help to break up the adhesions that have formed from continuous tearing long the plantar fascia.
Recommendation: 30 seconds per foot.
Goal: One to two times per day
Equipment: Foot Rubz roller or golf ball
Tight calf muscles can add additional stress on the plantar fascia by prematurely lifting the heel. Therefore, regular stretching of the two primary calf muscles: gastrocnemius and soleus can help to relieve tension and pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
It is easy to incorporate these stretches into daily tasks such as brushing your teeth, waiting for the bus or standing in line.
Recommendation: 30-to-60 seconds for each muscle per leg for a total of four minutes.
Goal: Stretch three to five times per day.
Equipment: A wall, curb or any place that provides a 90-degree angle.
READ MORE: How To Stretch & Strengthen Calves
Here are three exercises you can do to stretch the plantar fascia while either working at your desk or watching TV.
1. Ankle rotations clockwise and counter clockwise.
2. Point toes to your nose, relax and repeat.
3. Pull toes back with one hand while massaging through the arch with the other hand.
Recommendations: Spend 10-to-30 seconds on each stretch per foot for a total of three minutes.
Goal: At least three to five times per day.
A frozen water bottle or reusable gel ice pack is a great way to relieve pain at the end of a long day on your feet.
Pro-Tip: Keep a few frozen water bottles handy to use after an activity or work. While sitting on the couch, at your desk or eating a meal at the table, soothe your foot by applying ice under the arch with a frozen water bottle. Gel ice packs can also be used by wrapping it around your foot with a tensor bandage for about 5-10 minutes.
Remember when using an ice pack, to always protect your skin with a layer of clothing or dish towel to prevent an ice burn.
Using supportive sandals with an arch support and thick sole (Birkenstocks, Sole Sandals, and Montrail Sandals) around the house is a great way for busy people to obtain relief from plantar fasciitis pain and prevent further deterioration.
Pro-Tip: Supportive home footwear should be the first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you take off before bed. Remember to take your supportive home footwear with you on extended visits or trips.
Custom Orthotics/Over-The-Counter Insoles
For many, custom orthotics or OTC insoles can be a helpful aid in treating plantar fasciitis. It is perfect for busy individuals because all you need to do is put them in your shoes and carry on with your day.
Remember that consistency is key when it comes to orthotics or insoles: the more you wear them, the more effective they will be.
Pro-Tip: If switching orthotics/insoles from shoe to shoe is an inconvenience, then consider buying multiple pairs. Same tip applies if you tend to forget to move between shoes.
They only help and support your feet while you are using them. Just like how wearing eye glasses support your vision only when wearing your glasses.
Over-The-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Cream
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory cream can be an effective way to temporarily relieve muscle pain.
Although this is not a permanent solution, it can be soothing to apply to an inflamed area such as your arch and heel if you suffer from plantar fasciitis.
Pro-Tip: Keep a bottle of over-the-counter joint and muscle cream at work, at home, in your car, or anywhere you are regularly.
This makes it easy to use as needed. There are also brands with an application stick to keep your hands free of mess.
Night Splints are another passive form of treatment for busy people. The best part is that you can do while you are sleeping. The perfect solution for people constantly on the go!
Pro-Tip: To get used to wearing a Night Splint, try wearing it for 30-60 minutes at a time at home while relaxing in front of the T.V. or reading a book.
The first time you wear it to bed put it on and try your best to fall asleep. If it wakes you up in the middle of the night, just remove it and fall back asleep. Repeat this every night and you will gradually build a higher tolerance for the splint.
Even if despite all your efforts you can’t sleep with a Night Splint, by even wearing it for a few hours, you still get the benefit of extra stretching that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Kintec Pedorthist, Port Moody Store Manager