Do your heel and the sole of your foot leading into your heel always feel tight when you wake up and first start walking? Perhaps the pain lingers later into the day, or maybe it subsides as the day goes on, only to come back again the next morning. This pain is generally caused by a condition called plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the connective tissue in this part of the foot. Though it can be annoying to deal with, the good news is that it is treatable. Read on to learn more about this condition and how to treat it.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
The first step in alleviating your heel pain is determining what is causing your plantar fasciitis. If you're a runner, then there's a good chance this condition is being brought on by increasing your mileage too soon or by wearing the wrong shoes. If you're not a runner, here are other possible causes to consider:
- Wearing shoes with little-to-no arch support
- Spending a lot of time on your feet in an area where the floor is very hard
- Walking a lot after being relatively inactive for months or years
- Spending a lot of time on your feet while overweight.
How can you treat plantar fasciitis?
The first step in dealing with the condition is eliminating the causative factors. If you're a runner, back off on your training volume, and visit a running store to be properly fitted for shoes that work with your running form and foot structure. If you think poor daily footwear may be to blame, look for supportive shoes with well-cushioned shoes to start wearing. Try to take breaks from spending so much time on your feet, and stand on a padded rug, if possible, rather than on concrete.
If you're experiencing heel pain after a lot of walking, slow down your walking routine and then gradually work your way up to doing more. If you're overweight, losing weight and engaging in more non-impact exercise like swimming and biking instead of walking and jogging can help.
While you're implementing the changes above, you can also soothe your heel pain by doing the following:
- Massaging your sole and heel with your thumb and forefinger before getting out of bed each morning.
- Soaking your foot in an Epsom salts bath every couple of days. This will help eliminate tightness. Follow the instructions on the Epsom salts label to prepare the bath.
- Rolling a tennis ball under the sole of your bare foot to strengthen and stretch the connective tissue in this area.
If your symptoms don't improve within a week or so, contact a podiatrist. He or she may be able to prescribe special supports for your shoes or recommend additional exercises to fight this condition. Go to websites that offer more information if you'd like additional advice.