Do you suffer from foot pain? This problem affects at least 77% of Americans aged 18 and older. And of those struggling with foot pain, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes.
Approximately 2 million people have plantar fasciitis, including an estimated 83% of active adults aged 25-65. This problem occurs when the plantar fascia — which is the shock-absorbing tendon on the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes — becomes irritated, inflamed, or torn.
Signs of plantar fasciitis include:
As an expert podiatrist and foot surgeon, John Jurcisin, DPM, sees plantar fasciitis patients on a regular basis at Precision Footcare in Midtown East, New York City. He recommends taking these steps at home to help support recovery.
One of the best things you can do for your feet involves weight management. That’s because carrying extra pounds puts added stress on this weight-bearing area of your body, especially the plantar fascia.
Plantar fasciitis develops in response to overuse, strain, and inflammation, which makes rest crucial for recovery. As soon as you experience heel pain, take a break from high-impact activities, such as walking or jogging. Instead, switch to lower impact options, such as swimming or biking.
When you have plantar fasciitis, icing your feet should be part of your at-home care plan. Dr. Jurcisin recommends applying an ice pack to the bottom of your foot for 15 minutes, three times each day. It’s also wise to apply ice after extended periods of standing or sitting or following strenuous exercise.
Just because you’re resting your foot doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise, and that includes regular stretching. Dr. Jurcisin suggests performing gentle stretches targeting your plantar fascia and calf muscles 2-3 times each day, such as:
You can also combine stretching and icing your plantar fascia by freezing a bottle of water and rolling it underneath your foot for five minutes at a time.
Believe it or not, 14% of people report significant pain relief from switching their shoes. For the best results, don’t go barefoot. This will only put more stress on the bottoms of your feet.
Instead, wear shoes that provide good arch support and extra cushioning. You should also wear shoes that have thick soles and heels that are low or moderate in height. And if you’re an athlete, be sure to replace your shoes regularly so you can get adequate support.
Dr. Jurcisin also offers custom-fit orthotics, which can address biomechanical and anatomical issues, such as flat feet, which could be contributing to your condition.
If you have severe heel pain, Dr. Jurcisin could recommend a nighttime splint. These devices keep your foot and ankle braced in an ideal position while you sleep, helping to stretch the plantar fascia and relieve pain.
To learn more about plantar fasciitis and the treatment options that are available, book an appointment online or over the phone with Precision Footcare today.