How to Live With Plantar Fasciitis

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Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of foot and heel pain. In plantar fasciitis, the plantar fascia, or the thick, fibrous band that runs from your heel, across the arch to your toes, becomes extremely tense and may even cause inflammation, pulling on the heel. If you have plantar fasciitis, simple exercises performed regularly and a few tips can help relieve pain.

Things You'll Need

  • Lightweight shoes with arch support
  • Ice packs
  • Large soup can
  • Sock
  • Towel
  • Rope
  • Purchase at least two pairs of lightweight shoes which offer as much arch support as you can find. As a general rule, it is best to go shoe shopping late in the day when feet tend to be at their largest; however, you might even consider buying shoes one half size larger than normal to help relieve pain. Additionally, high heels and constrictive shoes will only aggravate plantar fasciitis.

  • Use ice packs up to four times a day for 10 to 15 minutes to help relieve pain and swelling of the feet. If you are accustomed to soaking your feet in hot water at the end of the day, you may be making the problem worse. Switch to ice instead.

  • Place a large soup can in a long sock and then sit down with your feet lifted on a short stool, or even the edge of your chair. Place the sock between your two biggest toes, wrapping the excess sock around your foot or even tying it in a knot around the arch of your foot. Keeping your heels lifted on the stool or chair, grip the sock with your toes and lift and lower your foot 10 to 15 times. Relax and repeat two to three times.

  • Spread a large bath towel out on the ground, placing the soup can at one edge and sitting at the the opposite edge with your spine straight and knees bent, feet flat on the floor. If necessary, you can sit with your back against a wall for support. Place your foot on the edge of the towel and use your toes only to bunch up the towel, drawing the can closer to you. Continue the exercise until the can is as close to you as possible, rest and repeat.

  • Stretch and massage the calves and feet at the same time by sitting on the ground with your spine tall and legs extended in front of you. Place a rope around your feet, keeping the rope as near to your heels as possible, and the tightly grip the ends of the rope in each hand. Pull the rope towards you, drawing your toes in towards your body and lean forward as far as is comfortable without bending the knees. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds, relax and repeat up to 10 times.

  • Sit with your back supported against a wall and your left leg extended straight out in front of you. Lift your right leg, placing the foot flat on the floor as near to your body as possible. Grip the bottom of your right foot with each hand and while keeping the heel on the floor, pull your foot up as far as possible. Hold for 5 seconds, relax and repeat up to 10 times.

  • Consider seeing a podiatrist if your plantar fasciitis continues to cause you pain. A podiatrist can create special insoles for your shoes which support the arch and heel to relieve pain and treat the cause of the problem. Massage therapy, particularly deep tissue, rolfing and sport's massage can be extremely helpful in releasing tight tissue.

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