How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

 Are you experiencing pain in the bottom of your feet? If you Googled the symptoms and found the diagnosis of “plantar fasciitis”, you have now stumbled into the most common cause of heel pain (Singh, Angel, Bentley, & Trevino, 1997). Don’t fret, all hope is not lost! There are several things you can do to relieve this pain. First we’ll go over the common symptoms, and then some treatment suggestions.

Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain

     The suffix ‘itis’ is used in the medical industry at the end of words to indicate inflammation of an area, ligament or tendon. So the term plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia. Typically plantar fasciitis will affect the foot just in front of the calcaneus (heel bone) but the pain can also radiate into the arch of the foot. It can be in both feet but often will only affect one foot. One of the most common signs of plantar fasciitis is that it’s most painful in the morning or after a period of rest. After a few steps the fascia will usually loosen up and be less painful, but the pain will return after periods of not standing or walking. Plantar fasciitis is a common condition, however make sure to see a foot care professional to get a proper diagnosis. There are many conditions that could be causing foot pain. You can book an assessment with one of our Calgary pedorthists and they’ll work with you to discover what’s going on in your feet and the best treatment for you.   

     If you did Google “plantar fasciitis” you would have also seen that there are a multitude of treatments that you can do to help heal this ligament. For now, I’m going to go over just three treatments. The first is stretching. Everything in the body is connected; a pain-free problem in one area can painfully impact another. In this way the calf muscle can have a huge effect on the plantar fascia. If the calf muscles are particularly tight, they can pull on the plantar fascia causing micro-tears that lead to inflammation. To help relieve some tension try a couple of calf stretches. Click here for some examples. I recommend doing these in the morning when plantar fasciitis is usually the worst. Give your feet a little massage (to get the blood flowing) before you even get out of bed, then do your calf stretches. I recommend stretching your calves before bed as well. 

     The second treatment is wearing shoes inside. This may sound too simple to be true, but this is a crucial step to relieving plantar fasciitis. If you are not wearing shoes inside then your arch is not getting any support. If you have plantar fasciitis, the unsupported movement in the arch is going to cause more inflammation in the fascia. Getting any shoe under your foot will provide some stability and cushioning, but remember not all shoes are made equal in quality and support.  

     Lastly is insoles or orthotics. This is taking the support a shoe would give you and amping it up to the next level. There are over-the-counter insoles that will greatly improve the arch support in a pair of shoes and can be chosen specifically for your foot type and modified to an extent for your feet. However a custom orthotic allows the best support for your feet because it’s made specifically for each foot from the ground up and can be modified extensively. Having an insole or orthotic can relieve plantar fasciitis pain, address other conditions in the foot and may prevent other issues from arising as well. 

There are many solutions to alleviate plantar fasciitis

     These are three treatments that can alleviate the worst plantar fasciitis pain. If plantar fasciitis continues to haunt you, remember a biomechanical assessment by a pedorthist can clear up all the questions and provide more treatments to finally rid you of the inflammation all together. Shoe Solutions offers amazing options for indoor footwear, over-the-counter and custom insoles, and many more tools and treatments. Don’t be afraid to come and pick our brains, we’d love to help. Visit our Calgary orthotics store for custom orthopedic footwear.

Tanille Poirier, C.Ped, B.Sc Kinesiology