Plantar fasciitis, sometimes referred to as jogger’s heal, is a condition that affects the heel, causing pain in the bottom part of the foot. The condition gets its name from the source of the pain, the plantar fascia. This is a thin ligament that stretches out from the base of the heel to the front section of the foot. It works by providing a support framework for the foot, making it easy for you to walk. Owing to the structure and function of the plantar fascia, the condition is one of the most common in patients with orthopedic problems.
Plantar facsiitis develops when excessive pressure is applied on the feet, leading to inflammation and intense pain. Depending on the extent of ligament damage, the condition may cause the ligaments to tear and damage the feet. Most patients will report feeling pain in the mid section of the foot over a considerable period of time. At the onset, the condition affects just one foot, and may spread to the other foot. The pain sensation also varies from one individual to another; some people experience a stinging sensation while others encounter throbbing pain. This pain is most intense in the morning when individuals get up from bed or after long periods of sitting down.
Risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis include obesity, increased weight during pregnancy as well as an active lifestyle that involves lots of standing and/or running as is the case with athletes. Those with pre-exisiting feet problems are also at risk. There are home remedies for this condition, most of which work by reducing the inflammation. Note however, that it is important to get medical attention to avoid further complications if the condition does not ease with the application of the choice home remedies.
1. Foot Massage:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: A comfortable place, choice massage oil (olive or coconut oil) and warm bath.
A foot massage is one of the simplest and most effective home remedies that you can use to manage plantar fasciitis. The massage aids the flow of blood to the affected tissue in effect dissipating the tension within the muscle. Gentle massaging also provides much-needed relief from the pain on the affected foot. To ease the process, make sure you use warm oil. The oil prevents the exertion of excessive pressure as this simply worsens the condition. To improve the efficiency of this remedy, warm the oil in a water bath prior to remedy application.
- Place the oil in a water bath and warm the oil for about 5 minutes.
- Pour the warm oil on the foot and massage as gently as you can for about 15 minutes.
- You can do this twice daily, and especially before bedtime to ease the pain.
2. Ice Pack:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Ice cubes and a clean towel. Frozen bottle (optional).
The purpose of using an ice pack is to ensure that the low temperatures reduce the pain and eliminate the inflammation at the site of the affected foot. This is an easy and effective remedy, but there’s one thing you must keep in mind. That is to make sure that you never use ice directly on the skin to avoid damage through mild frost bite. In the absence of ice cubes, simply put some water in a bottle and freeze.
- Place the ice on the towel and proceed to rub it over the affected foot. Do this for about 5 minutes before taking a break.
- After a couple of minutes, repeat step 1 again. Do this until the ice melts or you feel much better.
- If you opt to use the frozen bottle, simply roll it over the part of the foot where the pain radiates from.
3. Stretching Exercises:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: A comfortable place and a sturdy golf ball (optional).
Stretching exercises are the perfect way to deal with plantar fasciitis, especially right after you wake up when the pain is a little more intense. The essence of doing these exercises is to help ensure that the inflammation is reduced, allowing easy mobility. These exercises will target the feet as well as muscles found in the leg. There are a couple of exercise routines available for you, so choose one that works best for you.
- Immediately after you wake up, right before you set your feet down, make sure you stretch your legs, focusing on the feet and toes.
- Sit upright and stretch to hold your feet.
- In this position, tug your feet forward (towards your body) for a minute.
- Release the tug for 30 seconds and then repeat steps 2 & 3 above.
- Do this three more times every morning. you will be glad you did it.
- After the first routine, get out of bed and stand parallel to the wall.
- Bend one leg (the one that has not been affected by plantar fasciitis) just slightly at the knee, making sure the affected leg is behind.
- Push your hips forward as gently as you can, all the while ensuring that your heels are in contact with the floor.
- Stay in this position for minute and then break free of the posture ,repeat 10 times. This makes up 1 set of the stretching exercise.
- Do 2 sets of this exercise daily, especially when you wake up.
- Place the golf ball on the floor and your foot over it.
- Roll the ball under the curved part of the foot, preferably doing so from the front and to the back.
- As you do this, ensure that you apply pressure for as far as it is not painful.
- Do this for 5 minutes at least once daily for pain relief.
4. Epsom Salts:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 5 Teaspoons of Epsom salts, foot basin, warm water and a clean towel. Massage oil (optional).
Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate crystals, which are the reason why this remedy is recommended. The salts penetrate the skin pores and are able to relieve the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. More importantly, this compound helps heal the ligament in cases where excessive pressure has caused it to tear. Additional benefits for soaking your feet in this basin include the warmth of the water soothes the affected foot, ensuring you recover faster.
- Put the Epsom salts in the foot basin and add the warm water.
- Mix to ensure complete dissolution of the salts, and then proceed to soak your feet in the basin.
- After 15 minutes of this, dry your feet well.
- You may opt to finish off this remedy with a foot massage using your preferred oil. This is key because it helps alleviate pressure and ease pain in the affected foot.
- Use this remedy four times weekly for best results.
5. Invest in Proper Footwear:
Time Required: Varies among individuals because one’s shoe style, more often than not, creates a pattern which may be hard to break.
What You Need: To get rid of ll-fitting improper shoes and invest in the correct footwear.
The golden rule when it comes to footwear in people who suffer from plantar fasciitis is to invest in the right kind of shoe. Such a shoe is one that is designed to offer ideal arch support, ample toe room and built-in support to reduce the pressure exerted on the foot. It helps if such a shoe has straps at the back to ensure the shoe does not slip. Such shoes are not only quite comfortable, but they will also do your feet a whole lot of good.
- Invest in a set of sturdy comfortable shoes over a period of time. For the ladies, you do this ensure that you limit how often you wear high heeled shoes as these worsen plantar fasciitis.
6. Cayenne Pepper:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of red cayenne powder, foot basin, warm water and clean towel.
Cayenne pepper is best known for its hot fiery taste, but did you know that you can use the pepper as a pain reliever? That is exactly why this remedy is used for the home treatment of plantar fasciitis. The main ingredient found in cayenne pepper is capsaicin whose anti-inflammatory properties make it a must-use remedy for pain relief. Another reason why cayenne pepper makes for a great choice is that its application helps relax the foot muscles. Follow the directions below for best results.
- Place the cayenne pepper in the foot basin and pour in warm water.
- Enjoy a foot-soak for 15 minutes.
- Dry your feet well and if you prefer, you may finish off this remedy using a foot massage.
- Use this remedy severally daily.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Raw ginger, grater, 1 cup of water and sieve.
Raw ginger is an effective natural remedy, popularly used for relieving pain and acute inflammation. This is because it contains a set of active compounds known as gingerols which work by decreasing the pain. Regular consistent use of raw ginger is recommended for those dealing with plantar fasciitis. All you need is raw ginger to steep in warm water for an ideal cup of tea.
- Peel the ginger and wash it to get rid of the dirt on the surface.
- Grate the piece of ginger and transfer it to a pan.
- Add a cup of water to the grated ginger and boil for 2 minutes.
- Switch off the heat and allow the ginger to steep for 15 minutes.
- Sieve the ginger tea and indulge while it is still hot.
- Use this remedy thrice daily.
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Tablespoon of turmeric powder, 1 glass of milk and 1 teaspoon of honey (optional).
Turmeric, just like ginger, is a herb that contains potent anti-inflammatory properties. Known as curcumin, this compound works by inhibiting the pain signal pathway, effectively reducing the pain. Scientific studies show that the compound also goes a long way in reducing acute inflammation, one of the traits of plantar fasciitis. Prepare the remedy as indicated below for quick recovery.
- Place the turmeric powder in a glass and pour in the milk in a pan.
- Bring the milk mixture to boil and switch off.
- Stir in the honey and drink every day, preferably before bedtime.
9. Additional Tips to Treat Plantar Fasciitis at Home:
i) Invest in arch support pads that you can insert in your shoes to ease the pressure and reduce the pain. The best support pads are those that are lightweight as they do not add strain to daily activities.
ii) Whenever you can, spend minimal time on your feet. If you cannot, or your job entails standing a lot, consider adding breaks to your schedule.
iii) Get much needed rest whenever the pain sets in, and then make sure you use any of the aforementioned home remedies.
iv) Avoid walking without shoes, especially on hard concrete surfaces as this adds the pressure to the arched part of the feet, thus delaying recovery.
v) Adjust your diet accordingly to avoid excessive weight gain as this only compounds the condition.
vi) Lastly, if plantar fasciitis persists even with these changes and the remedies listed above, get a doctor’s appointment to further assess the condition.