One morning I woke up to use the restroom and when my feet touched the ground, an excruciatingly sharp pain radiated throughout them to the point that I could barely walk. It felt like an intense burning sensation with limited movement of my foot muscles. Surely I had sprained my ankle somehow but had no idea how I could while I was sleeping! Little did I know that I was suffering from a very common foot ailment known as Plantar Fasciitis.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis (pronounced “PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus”) is an inflammation of the flat muscle tissue that connects your heel to your toes. It’s what supports your arch, heel, toes…basically your entire foot, and when it becomes inflamed, it causes a great deal of pain.
The pain can usually be felt in your arch, but can also be felt through your heel all the way up through your toes. It has been described as a tight, pulling, burning sensation that hurts with every step you take. Usually Plantar Fasciitis can be felt in the morning upon waking but in severe cases, the pain can be felt all throughout the day.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The most common cause of Plantar Fasciitis is muscle strain where the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes becomes overworked. This strain results in the muscle tightening up to the point that any movement will cause pain, swelling, and burning.
The most common factors in causing Plantar Fasciitis are:
- Rolling your feet inward when you walk (excessive pronation).
- Walking, standing, or running for long periods of time (especially on concrete or hard surfaces) without proper arch support.
- Having high arches or flat feet.
- Being overweight.
- Not wearing the proper shoes to support your feet (flats, high heels, sandals).
- Having tight calf muscles or Achilles tendons.
Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis
The symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis range from mild to severe depending on the extent of inflammation and condition of the foot muscle. My symptoms were pretty painful to the point that I could barely walk short distances without sharp burning pain radiating through my arch.
The most common symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis are:
- Foot pain upon waking in the morning typically causes a stabbing or burning sensation.
- Difficulty walking throughout the day without pain.
- Heel pain that can radiate through the arch and toes.
- Tender and sore to the touch.
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, you likely suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, although it’s always a good idea to get an official diagnosis in the rare case it may be related to something else.
How To Treat Plantar Fasciitis Naturally
Now that we know what causes Plantar Fasciitis, what can we do to get rid of it? I remember when mine first started flaring up, I visited my local podiatrist to have an x-ray and find out exactly what was causing all my pain. He confirmed my suspicions of having a tight Achilles tendon as well as Plantar Fasciitis to which he then suggested I take a healthy dose of steroids for an “aggressive treatment”.
That’s when I kindly thanked him for his time and hobbled myself to the door for a prompt exit. Steroids!? There was no way that could be the only answer to this, I had to find another way. Thankfully, after many trials and errors, I found several natural ways to cure myself from Plantar Fasciitis and also prevent it from returning! Here are my personal recommendations for successful natural treatments of Plantar Fasciitis.
1. Nighttime Splint
The Nighttime Splint is by far one of the most effective (for me, at least) natural treatments for Plantar Fasciitis. The idea is to position your foot in a flexed position to allow the ligaments to stretch out while you sleep, thus preventing the morning foot pain associated with this condition. I personally use and love this one.
Getting used to having your foot flexed the whole night you’re sleeping is going to take time, but if you suffer from moderate to severe pain, this is one of your best options. Put it on every night before bed and wake up to less pain in the morning. Continued use will quickly heal your Plantar Fasciitis!
2. Foot Rocker
One of the biggest contributors to Plantar Fasciitis is a tight calf muscle, and one of the best ways to stretch those muscles is with a Foot Rocker. These are used to help stretch your foot and calf muscles in the easiest way possible to allow for maximum flexibility. Use the foot rocker several times a day, especially after any type of standing or activity, to prevent muscle strain and tightness from occurring.
3. Foot Massaging Roller
There’s nothing like an amazing foot massage after a long day, but when you’re suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, a Foot Massaging Roller is a welcome and much needed addition to your recovery.
The idea with these is to dig in with a deep foot massage, really pressing into those sore and tender ligaments, helping them to stretch and relax. Depending on the severity of your Plantar Fasciitis, you may feel a good amount of pain when using one of these, however with time and patience, you’ll soon find it to be very therapeutic for your feet.
4. Arch Support Insoles
Poor arch support is one of the main reasons Plantar Fasciitis flares up to begin with so having the proper support will help eliminate and prevent foot pain from happening. Whether you love wearing flats, heels, dress shoes, or sneakers, having a good arch supporting insole will help relieve your foot pain.
These arch support insoles from Superfeet are one of the best insoles I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot). They have different arch profiles to meet your specific needs and are made to be measured and cut to perfectly fit your foot for any type of shoe you wear. I like the high arch support insoles for everyday wear as they give me the most comfort and pain relief.
5. Foot Heat Therapy
One of the best ways to soothe overworked, tight muscles is with heat therapy. Heat helps to naturally open up and release muscle tension which makes it a great addition to your Plantar Fasciitis therapy.
I like this foot wrap from Elasto-Gel because it can be used it hot or cold and is soft enough to fully wrap around my foot. Use for at least 15-20 minutes a day before any foot stretching exercises to help loosen up the ligaments.
Additional Natural Treatments
With those top five treatments above, I’ve also found a few other ones that do help in the overall recovery of Plantar Fasciitis.
I tried acupuncture for my Achilles Tendonitis and found it to be very helpful in relieving my pain and overall inflammation. While it can be somewhat costly for acupuncture, it’s definitely something you should consider as an alternative natural treatment. You do need to have a few sessions before feeling the results, but depending on your severity, it can be well worth the time and money.
As always, turmeric comes into the picture again as an amazing anti-inflammatory treatment. I try to take a daily dose of turmeric for an overall reduction in inflammation throughout my body, which is one of the causes of Plantar Fasciitis pain. I love this one from Thorne as it’s not only time released, but also one of the cleanest and most effective forms of turmeric on the market.
Plantar Fasciitis is painful and difficult to recover from without the proper treatment, but if you’re diligent and determined, you’ll find that you can heal quickly and prevent it from rearing its ugly head in the future!
Do you suffer from Planter Fasciitis? What methods have you tried to ease your pain?