I’d like to end this year not suffering from plantar fascitis. I suppose that would get me back to April of 2017 by December of 2018, which is some sort of progress. Here’s what I think will do that (arranged in order of effectiveness for other sufferers). I’m not a medical practitioner, just a sufferer, so take this advice as your own risk.
- Go and see your GP: Your GP will probably prescribe you pain medication, which will only fix the pain and not what’s causing it. And we don’t want to be on pills all our life, do we? (They can also refer you to a physio, which solves for most things)
- Heat: early in the morning plantar fascitis is at its most painful. Apply heat to your foot and that gets the blood flowing and dissipates the pain.
- Heel pads: when I first saw a physiotherapist, he recommended heel pads in my shoes to alleviate some of the pain in the fatty tissue on my heel. However, padding here doesn’t solve the cause of the problem, it just reduces the pain of the situation for the short term. Worse, as this reduced the space in my shoe, I found that by the middle of the day my foot would begin to swell painfully.
- Stretch your calves: a lot of plantar fascitis comes down to over-tight calf muscles messing up the fascia. So you need to stretch your calves, and you have to do it every day. In the past I’ve tried pushing against a wall with my leg out behind me, and although that gets some stretch, it’s not as good as putting the heel of your foot on the floor, the ball of your foot on a vertical surface, and then, with your leg straight, leaning forwards until you feel a stretch. Don’t use your toes and your heel, or the natural bendiness of the foot will eliminate (or lessen) the stretch you’re trying to achieve.
- Strengthen your calves: when I go to my physio and she makes me do exercises (heel raises, particularly standing on a step, or sitting down with a towel in front of you and trying to scrunch it up just with your toes) it hurts at the time, but I always feel better the next day. Strength is your friend.
- Massage: lots of massage of your foot and your calf. You can easily treat your arch by putting a tennis ball under it and rolling it up and down ten times first thing in the morning. There are massave balls made of dense rubber you can also buy – these are probably better in the long term, as I’ve found that using a tennis ball for massage quickly makes it deflate, at which point it’s useless for both massage and tennis.
- Physio: go and see a physio. It is expensive, but it’s the fastet way to alleviate the pain and figure out what you should be doing to protect against it.
Things I haven’t tried:
- A plantar fascitis splint – which is a big strap you wear to bed that stretches your plantar fascitis while you sleep. If all else fails, we’ll experiment later in the year.
If I can manage to keep that up, hopefully I’ll be fixed by the end of the year.