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A Brief Guide to Relieving Plantar Fasciitis symptoms-min|person holding heel of foot|woman taking a relaxing bubble bath|woman having pain in heel of foot

Health & Wellness

Top Tips for Relieving Plantar Fasciitis Symptoms

Plantar fasciitis is a foot problem which causes pain in the heel and the arch of the foot, particularly while running or walking. It is a common condition, but the good news is that it is usually treatable with rest and pain relief and it can often be prevented or reduced by using better footwear. 1 Highlighted below are some tips for relieving plantar fasciitis symptoms.

person holding heel of foot

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue which passes along the bottom of the heel. It is very thick tissue, and it helps to lift the foot, as well as absorb impact when you’re walking. 2 If this tissue becomes inflamed, then it can become quite painful. Sometimes that happens as a result of trauma to the foot or from repeated strain, such as if someone runs in shoes that do not provide proper cushioning.

Treating Plantar Fasciitis

The good news is that plantar fasciitis is treatable. The first thing that you should do is rest. If you have been doing a lot of high impact exercise, stop the exercise. Start doing gentle stretches instead.

You can use paracetamol or other gentle pain relievers to reduce the pain in the short term. Using an ice pack is another good option, although if you do this, then you should take care to apply ice only for short durations at a time, and you should make sure that the ice is not applied directly to the skin. 3

Though it is generally important to stay active, you should make sure that you do not aggravate the injury. Swimming is a good low-impact exercise, and you may benefit from walking in good, supportive footwear, especially on grass or other gentler surfaces.

woman taking a relaxing bubble bath

Support Your Body's Healing

Most cases of plantar fasciitis will resolve themselves quite quickly. If you find that the pain is very irritating, then you may want to use self-care measures that will offer some temporary distraction and relief in addition to an established treatment regimen with your physician.

Most cases of plantar fasciitis should get better within four to six weeks if you take good care of yourself and do not aggravate the injury. If you find that you see no improvement in your symptoms after that time, then you should seek advice from a doctor. It may be that the issue is more serious than simple plantar fasciitis or that you have the chronic version of the condition and may need more specific treatment to resolve it. 5

Plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the fascia, so you may benefit from treatments to reduce inflammation or from using dietary changes or essential oils that are known to reduce inflammation. Ginger is a popular home remedy for anything from inflammation to digestive issues, and while helichrysum is less well-known, studies show that it, too, has anti-inflammatory properties. 6

woman having pain in heel of foot

Final Thoughts

While most cases of plantar fasciitis are not serious and will resolve themselves quite quickly, it is important that you treat them promptly. Do not ignore the pain in your heels. Untreated heel pain can lead to plantar ruptures or tears, heel spurs, or fibromatosis.

These issues have a much longer healing time than simple plantar fasciitis and can make walking very painful. 7 It makes sense to look after your feet early on, rather than waiting for an issue to develop that could leave you requiring surgery.

If you find that you keep developing pain and issues with your feet, then you may want to look at your day-to-day habits. Do you wear appropriate footwear? Are you running long distances on hard surfaces or with poor form?

Plantar fasciitis is common in people who wear shoes that do not offer good support, and it also frequently affects long-distance runners and triathletes. Regular stretching can be helpful, and you may also benefit from altering your route so that you run on a track or on grass rather than on pavements for most of your miles. If you are overweight, then losing a few pounds could help to reduce the stress on your feet and make flare-ups less frequent and less severe.

If you're not sure what the cause of your pain is, talk to your doctor or a foot specialist about the issue so that you can remedy the issue and stay as active as possible well into old age.

Photo credits: catinsyrup/, GeorgeRudy/, Seasontime/, catinsyrup/

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