If you’re a runner, dancer, or simply spend a lot of time on your feet, you might be familiar with plantar fascia, one of the most common types of foot pain. Plantar fasciitis happens when your fascia, the band of tissue that connects your toes to your heels, gets small tears and inflammation from stress. This causes stabbing pain in your heel or sole, which is usually strongest when you first wake up.
While being older, performing certain types of high-stress exercise, obesity, and flat arches can contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis, it can also come from other mysterious sources as well. Luckily, there are a few at-home treatments you can explore to help lessen the pain and even reverse the condition in a matter of months. Here are four of the best remedies that are natural.
#1. Wear Supportive Shoes
One of the best things you can do for plantar fasciitis is to wear shoes that offer good arch support and cushioning. This will help take some of the stress off your feet and ease the inflammation. Oftentimes, wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes is an indirect factor of different types of foot pain, and plantar fasciitis is no exception.
If you’re not sure what kind of shoes to buy, consult a podiatrist or go to a specialty running store, where they can help you find the best shoes for your feet.
Additionally, avoid walking barefoot as much as possible. This puts unnecessary strain on your plantar fascia and can further aggravate the condition.
#2. Use Shoe Inserts, Pads, or Toe Separators
If you can’t seem to find relief with new shoes, you might need to take additional measures. Shoe inserts, toe separators, and metatarsal pads are all great options for plantar fasciitis.
Shoe inserts help by providing extra arch support and cushioning for your feet. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, so you can find the perfect fit for your needs.
Toe separators and metatarsal pads are placed under the balls of your feet to help relieve pressure and pain. They’re often used in conjunction with shoe inserts or other forms of arch support, and can be used with or without shoes.
#3. Practice Heel Exercises and Stretches
Even though it may seem counterintuitive to move a part of your body that’s in pain, heel exercises and stretches can do a lot to alleviate plantar fasciitis. Exercising your feet can help increase blood flow and reduce pain and swelling, while stretching can soothe stiff, tense ligaments and muscles.
One great and easy exercise is towel toe stretches. Simply sit on the edge of your bed or couch with your legs straight out in front of you. Then, loop a towel around the balls of your feet and gently pull the towel toward you so the bottom of your foot is stretched.
#4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying around excess weight can increase the strain on your feet, which can lead to plantar fasciitis. If you’re overweight or obese, losing even a few pounds can take some of the pressure off your feet and reduce pain and inflammation.
A combination of diet and exercise is the best way to lose weight safely and effectively. If you need help getting started, consult a doctor or nutritionist who can create a personalized plan for you.
Plantar fasciitis is a common and painful condition that will affect one in ten people throughout their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it. By following these four simple home remedies and being gentle with your feet, you can find relief from plantar fasciitis.
If you have any doubts or questions about the best plan of action for your case, reach out to your podiatrist.