What is Plantar Fasciitis and How Can it Be Treated?
Did you know that Plantar Fasciitis affects over 3 million people, and is often easily treatable?
If you’ve ever had plantar fasciitis (and we assume you have because you’re here), we’re not going to sugarcoat it: you know it can really, really hurt. It's inconvenient, prohibits movement, and even affects your sleep.
But don’t worry, dear reader! More often than not, this condition can be treated. You should always see a doctor first, but there are many ways you can ease the pain of your Plantar Fasciitis at home with the right exercises and the right products. We’re going to get into the definition, the causes, the symptoms, the treatments, and the no-nos of the hellish endeavor that is plantar fasciitis.
Get your notebook out because it’s time to learn, Copper Crew!
What is Plantar Fasciitis, Exactly?
Plantar Fasciitis is simply the inflammation of the Plantar Fascia, a long, thick band of tissue that runs down the bottom of each of your feet. This tissue band is what connects your toes to your heel bone, so you can imagine it gets a lot of use. We put quite a bit of stress on our Plantar Fascia every time we walk, exercise, or even stand, and it only gets worse as we get older.
Think you might have plantar fasciitis? Check the symptoms list below:
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Aside from general aches and pains, there are actually quite a few symptoms that go into this annoying ailment. If you’re experiencing pain in your heel that increases gradually, hurts the most in the morning, and lessens with activity, chances are you have PF. However, there are other conditions that also cause heel pain, such as:
Stress fracture of your Calcaneus (heel bone)
Nerve compression in your foot or back
Fat tissue loss under your heel
It’s best to check with a doctor first before self-diagnosing with plantar fasciitis, as each ailment requires different treatments.
If you know you’ve got PF (or are just curious about it), read on!
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
It’s a little hard to fully point to any one cause, but John Hopkins has narrowed it down to the following:
Weight gain/obesity: If you’ve had a sudden increase in weight or even a gradual increase into an unhealthy weight, you may be putting too much pressure on your heel.
Increase in activity: Just joined a running club or gym? Your foot may not be used to the sudden movement and begin to show signs of PF.
Uneven surfaces: If you live or work in an environment with rocky, uneven ground, it may be doing some serious damage to your heel bone.
Poorly made shoes: The cause of so many foot issues, poorly-constructed shoes are also a big factor in whether or not you get plantar fasciitis.
The shape/structure of your feet: Yep, sometimes it’s just genetics. If you didn’t happen to win the genetic foot lottery, you may be dealing with plantar fasciitis just because your foot is shaped in a way that puts more pressure on your heel.
Another medical condition: A rare cause, but it still happens. Medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and even lupus can lead to the development of PF.
Again, it’s best to ask your doctor their thoughts on the cause in order to treat it. It may be something as simple as changing your shoes, or as difficult as surgery to adjust your foot structure.
What Not to Do with Plantar Fasciitis
Can’t complete this blog without telling you what to avoid, now can we? Don’t make your symptoms worse unknowingly - stay informed for faster recovery. Or don’t, and face the painful consequences. Not a threat, just a fact. Anyway, don’t do this stuff:
If you are developing a weight issue, don’t ignore it. It’s a sensitive issue, and it’s totally understandable that the topic can be a little uncomfortable. However, if you are finding you’re developing other health issues due to weight, consider asking your doctor for their opinion on healthy weight loss and treatment.
Get! Supportive! Shoes! We really can’t stress this enough, so we’ll say it again: GET! SUPPORTIVE! SHOES! Even if they’re fashionable, non-supportive shoes can do so much damage to our feet and back.
Don’t push through the pain. Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis won’t just go away with time. It’s an issue caused by an action or environment, and that continued action won’t help. Plus, it can cause you to walk unnaturally, which brings its own litany of health issues.
Don’t sit or stand in the same position for a long time. Take some of the pressure off by changing your position frequently to give your heel time to recover.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
Assuming your plantar fasciitis issue doesn’t need to be treated by a doctor, there are lots of at-home methods to cure this painful condition. From stretches to stabilizers, we’ll show you how to nip your PF in the…heel. Ahaha. Let’s start easy with something you can slip on and off at your leisure!
The Best Plantar Fasciitis Product
We have to go with the great plantar fasciitis night sock - not just because it’s one of our favorite products, but because it has thousands of stellar reviews, testimonials, and more.
This soft boot slips on and off like a dream and eases your pain by gently drawing your foot forward, giving you a continuous stretch along your Plantar Fascia, calf muscles, and Achilles tendon.
Your foot will stay immobilized, supported, and protected while you sleep, keeping the tendon at the right angle. The adjustable strap allows you to stretch to your desired comfort, while the breathable, moisture-wicking fabric prevents itching and discomfort while allowing you to move your foot around freely if needed.
Oh, and did we mention that the copper infusion in the fabric prevents the growth of bacteria and keeps it odor-free? Sayonara, smelly feet! This night sock has a universal fit, so wear it on either foot with no issue. The total package!
Plantar Fasciitis Stretches and Exercises
Looking for relief beyond the nighttime? All good - you can do these amazing stretches and light exercises to ease your pain and keep you limber.
Plantar Fascia Massage (requires ball/water bottle):
You can sit or stand for this one. Rest the foot with PF on a small ball or frozen water bottle (this helps reduce inflammation).
Roll the ball/bottle forward and backward along the tendon. This action should not be painful.
Do this daily, at least 10 times back and forth.
Sitting Ankle Inversion w/ Resistance (requires elastic band):
Sit down on the floor.
Put your legs straight out in front of you - no hip movement!
Place one leg over the other, with the band secure over the PF foot and looped around the other foot. Hold the other end of the band in your hand.
Slowly and smoothly move your PF foot away from the other foot. You can do this by rotating your ankle inward and returning to the starting position.
Do this daily, at least 2 sets of 10 per foot.
Heel Raises (requires stairs):
Stand at the edge of the lowest stair on the staircase. Make sure the balls of your feet are at the edge and that your heels are hanging off.
Slowly move your heel a little past the edge of the step.
Move it back up to stand on your tiptoes.
Do this daily, at least 2 sets of 10.
Seated Towel Scrunches (requires a chair, small towel):
Sit on a sturdy chair, with your PF foot resting on a towel.
Spread your toes, then curl them to scrunch and pick the towel up toward you.
Do this daily, 2 sets of 10 for both feet.
Stand facing a wall at arm's length.
Keeping both of your feet on the floor, bend your front leg until you feel a stretch in the calf of the leg with PF.
Hold for 20 seconds.
Do this daily, 3 sets per leg.
Seated Plantar Fascia Stretch:
You can sit anywhere for this. Cross one leg over the other knee, resting your ankle on top.
Use one hand to hold your ankle and the other to gently stretch your toes backward until you feel a stretch in the bottom of your foot.
Hold for 20 seconds.
Do this daily, 3 sets per foot.
Signs Your Plantar Fasciitis is Healing
If you’ve been treating your feet right, stretching regularly, and doing the exercises, but still not seeing results, don’t get discouraged. Unfortunately, it can take up to a year for plantar fasciitis to fully go away.
You will know your plantar fasciitis is healing if:
You are in less and less and less pain each morning after you take your first few steps.
The pain fades to your heel only.
Your knees, hips, and back hurt less or not at all.