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Plantar Fasciitis is a common and stubborn foot injury that typically affects those who are on their feet a lot, such as runners, walkers, athletes and anyone whose job requires them to stay on their feet for long periods of time.
Pain is often felt in the arch and heel of the foot, especially in the morning. It’s labeled a stubborn and persistent foot injury because it’s usually difficult to get rid of it. In severe cases, the pain that’s experienced can prevent you from walking altogether. However, most people fully recover from plantar fasciitis with rest, arch support, and a few foot exercises.
Steps to Get Back on Your feet
Many cases of plantar fasciitis last more than 6 months and that’s why it’s crucial to stick to a strict treatment regimen. Even with proper treatment, the injury is difficult to overcome. Each year, a number of NBA basketball players miss games because of plantar fasciitis. Although they receive some of the best treatment imaginable, full recovery still takes weeks or months.
The most important part of recovery is getting started as soon as symptoms arise. The longer you wait to get checked out and get diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, the longer it will take to recover. Unfortunately, treatment for most patients begins after plantar fasciitis has already progressed and is quite painful.
Treatment generally consists of a combination of rest, stretching, finding supportive shoes, and wearing night splints. Numerous studies have indicated that rest is the most important part of treatment. Continuing to push through pain is a common setback for many plantar fasciitis patients.
Don’t Forget to Stretch
Second to resting is stretching as it relieves tightness of the foot muscles and increases flexibility. The best stretches to perform are those that stretch the calf muscles. Patients typically use stairs, blocks and walls to do these exercises. You can also place a towel around the toes of your feet and pull back on it to stretch your foot and calf.
Another great stretching exercise is to place a bottle on the ground and roll your foot back and forth over it. Doing this with an ice cold water bottle works best. Patients who add stretching to their treatment regimen recover more quickly than those who don’t stretch.
Find Supportive Shoes
Poor-fitting shoes are major contributors to the development of plantar fasciitis. Shoes like sandals that don’t offer support to the arch of your foot are primary causes of the condition. Because of this, one of the first things you should do upon being diagnosed is seek out shoes that properly support your feet. Many patients report pain relief after changing their shoes.
In addition to buying new shoes, another option for patients is adding arch supports or insoles to your current shoes. While over-the-counter insoles may help, custom-made orthotics typically produce the best results. If you can make the investment in orthotics, it’s by far one of the best treatment options available.
Wearing night splints that keep your foot in a neutral position throughout the night are also ideal while you’re recovering from plantar fasciitis. Splints give your foot time to heal and keep the plantar fascia slightly stretched, which helps significantly.
Finding a Treatment that Works
As with all medical conditions, the effectiveness of treatment varies from one case to the next. Some may find that certain stretches cause pain while others feel good and actually alleviate pain. It’s important to pay attention to the good days and bad days and figure out which approach provides the most relief. As always, speak to your doctor about what might have caused your plantar fasciitis. Finding the root to the problem is an equally important step of the recovery process.