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Plantar fasciitis can be extremely painful for those who are affected by it. If you are reading this post, maybe plantar fasciitis has really impacted your daily life. In 2018, during my 2nd year of residency, I had plantar fasciitis. The pain left me close to tears at the end of my 10-12 hour work day.
I knew as a podiatry resident, I knew that the go-to treatment in many foot doctor's offices are usually steroid injections. Steroids do have their place in treating plantar fasciitis, but I wanted to see if I could get rid of my plantar fasciitis without medications or injections first. I could always use them later on if I needed to. I wanted to use at-home treatments for plantar fasciitis instead. I did just that, and after a couple of weeks, my pain was GONE.
Now, I'm not saying that everyone will respond to at-home treatments for plantar fasciitis, but I do think that it is important for people to try any and all conservative treatment options first before going to more invasive treatment options. As a doctor, I do believe that to a certain extent, the body can and does heal itself, it's just that sometimes we unknowingly get in our body's own way of doing this. So these are the at-home treatments or remedies I used to treat plantar fasciitis in myself. Note, it has been 5 years now, and the plantar fasciitis I once had has stayed away.
4 Doctor Approved At-Home Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis Include:
1. Look at the quality and age of your shoes
If you are currently dealing with plantar fasciitis, really take a look at your shoes. If they haven't been changed (depending on your activity level and what you use them for) in the last 6 months to a year, then they aren't doing your feet justice. Treat yourself to a new pair. Your feet will thank you for this.
Personally, when I developed plantar fasciitis, I had 1 pair of Nikes that I wore everywhere, including at work, the gym, and to run errands. This pair was several years old and had seen better days. This was one factor that definitely led to me developing plantar fasciitis.
Unfortunately, the majority of Nike's sneakers are very flimsy and are made from low-quality materials. This can increase your risk of having foot problems like plantar fasciitis over time if you are wearing them constantly.
For myself, and many foot doctors or podiatrists across the country. There are several brands of athletic shoes that we stand by for overall foot health, but especially recommend them for people dealing with foot pain like plantar fasciitis. One of those brands is Altra.
Altra Running has received the stamp of approval and acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association or the APMA. This honor is given to brands committed to understanding and researching the biomechanics of the foot to make the healthiest footwear possible.
Sometimes just changing your shoes makes a world of difference.
Things that I love About Altra Running Shoes:
Makes shoes for a wide variety of activities - Altra even though it has running in the brand name, makes more than running shoes. Altra also has shoes designed for hiking, gym and cross training, walking, and just for everyday life
Has a toebox that matches the shape of a human foot - Altra is one of the few mainstream shoe brands with a toebox that isn't tapered in the front. Why is this important? Because tapering at the toebox, for years and even decades can lead to other foot problems like bunions and hammertoes. Tapering of the toebox makes it near impossible for your foot and toes to function as nature intended.
The natural, round toebox from Altra allows all of your toes to spread out or splay while standing or walking, which aids in stability and balance.
In 2019 there was a study done showing that modern footwear with a narrow or tapered toebox actually decreases blood flow to the artery responsible for supplying the plantar fascia. Blood flow is a key factor in being able to heal any kind of injury or issue in our body. Wearing shoes with a wide, anatomical toe box are critical to being able to overcome plantar fasciitis.
Sneakers or athletic shoes are ideal to wear when dealing with plantar fasciitis. But not everyone can wear sneakers for most of the day. If you have to wear dress shoes for work, here is another blog post I wrote on the top dress shoe brands for people with plantar fasciitis: https://www.directpodiatryaz.com/post/thebestdressshoesforplantarfasciitis
2. Make sure you are wearing the right shoe size
This seems like a simple thing to miss, but it's actually easier than you think to not know you're wearing the wrong shoe size. I as a podiatry resident in 2018 did this as well. If you haven't been fitted for shoes in several years, it's a good idea to go to a shoe store and be fitted by a sales associate. When I came down with plantar fasciitis and decided to get fitted for new shoes, I was 1/2 a shoe size larger than I thought I was. Between my shoes being too small, and also just very flimsy, no wonder I developed plantar fasciitis. Make sure you're wearing the right shoe size.
3. Start a daily stretching regimen
A good foot doctor or podiatrist should tell you that 95% of people with plantar fasciitis are able to get rid of their pain without surgery. In order to do this, having a stretching regimen is key for at home treatment of plantar fasciitis. Without stretching, the plantar fasciitis pain will continue. Stretching was critical for me when I had plantar fasciitis as well.
One of the causes of plantar fasciitis is a tight posterior chain of the leg. The posterior chain of the leg includes all muscles on the back of your leg including your calf muscle and hamstring. If these muscles are too tight, this can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis and make it much harder to get rid of. I included a video below of my favorite stretches for plantar fasciitis.
The key to stretching for plantar fasciitis is stretching at least first thing in the morning. Usually with plantar fasciitis, this is when the heel pain will be at its worst. Starting your day, incorporate these stretching exercises. To stretch even more during the day, think about incorporating a yoga practice into your life. Yoga poses do a really good job of stretching all muscles, but especially those of your posterior chain. I got back into yoga again, and this was another way that I incorporated another at home treatment for plantar fasciitis.
4. Use massage
Another great way to stretch your feet during your at home treatment for plantar fasciitis is by using a small ball, like a neuro ball, tennis ball, or even a lacrosse or gold ball.
Take the ball, and while sitting, place it under your foot. Apply pressure to the tennis ball from the foot, and roll the ball back and forth on your arch and heel. This is a simple way to stretch your plantar fascia and will give you a deep massage. Try this for a couple of minutes. This exercise can also be done with a frozen plastic water bottle if you're having more pain relief. If using the frozen water bottle, only do this exercise for 10 minutes.
My favorite ball for this stretch is by Naboso and is called the neuro ball. Naboso's neuro ball actually is 2 balls in one, with the smaller ball inside being used for a more targeted stretch and deeper release.
The texture surrounding the outer blue ball is added to wake up the nerves on the soles of your feet, expose them to newer textures, and increase your recovery. To see my review of Naboso's neuro ball and several of their products click here.
Plantar fasciitis can really impact your day-to-day life, but it can possibly be overcome with simple changes. My at home treatments for plantar fasciitis worked for me, and I hope they work well for you too. Feel free to share this post with a friend or loved one.
Schedule Your Appointment At Direct Podiatry Arizona Today
Looking for a foot doctor or podiatrist in Phoenix who treats plantar fasciitis? My name is Dr. Tarr, and I own Direct Podiatry Arizona in Tempe. To view available appointment slots, click the link here: directpodaz.janeapp.com