5 Tips to Relieve Plantar Fasciitis

A great running friend has struggled with plantar fasciitis for years on and off. She eloquently refers to exacerbation of pain as “the Planted Fascists” drilling into her foot. This always makes me laugh thinking of angry politicians banging sharp tools into her foot- clearly not what is happening, but certainly an apt description of this pathology’s pain!

If you struggle with this very frustrating, often chronic, foot ailment - here are 5 tips to calm down the ‘Foot Fascists’:

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  1. Stretch your calf muscles -- All 3 (2 leafs of the gastrocnemius and the soleus) calf muscles contribute to tightness in the posterior lower leg, which then pull on the Achilles tendon which then yanks on the plantar fascia; loose calf = happy foot!  

  2. Roll your foot on a ball -- the most effective tends to be a frozen golf ball, but anything small and hard to get into the firmest parts of the plantar and relieve knots; if it hurts you’re probably in the right spots!

  3. Think about how you sleep: is your foot pointed? If so, try to avoid this! It leads back to tip #1. There are socks that help you avoid doing so, some that provide compression to the medial foot/assist in correct ankle position and others that actually hook/strap so your foot remains more neutral as you sleep.

  4. Burn all your thong sandals… kidding, sort of...make sure your footwear has a good supportive arch and that your foot is secure in the shoe. Sandals that only go around your toes and slap when you walk are the worst for plantar problems, followed by very flat shoes, and of course/sadly -- high heels.

  5. Seek physical therapy! From soft tissue massage to the plantar surface, to ankle stretching, to hip mobility - PT can assist in changes throughout the kinetic chain to make foot strike and functional mechanics more agreeable for all parts of your body, including the bottom of your feet.