Plantar fasciitis means inflammation of your plantar fascia.
It’s also known as ‘jogger’s heel’ – although you don’t have to be a runner to develop it. Luckily, it usually gets better in time, but treatment may speed up your recovery. So, what can you do about it? Useful treatment includes rest, good footwear, heel pads acupuncture and heat.
Robina 7 Day Doctors and Acupuncture recommends this video
You are more likely to injure your plantar fascia in certain situations. For example:
- If you are on your feet for a lot of the time, or if you do lots of walking, running, standing, etc, when you are not used to it or have previously had a more sedentary lifestyle.
- You have recently started exercising on a different surface – for example, running on the road instead of a track.
- You have been wearing shoes with poor cushioning or poor arch support.
- If you are overweight – this will put extra strain on your heel.
Often there is no apparent cause for plantar fasciitis, particularly in older people. A common wrong belief is that the pain is due to a bony growth, or ‘spur’, coming from the heel bone. Many people have a bony spur of the heel bone but not everyone with this develops plantar fasciitis.
Rest your foot
This should be done as much as possible. Avoid running, excess walking or standing, and undue stretching of your sole. Gentle walking and exercises described below are fine.
Do not walk barefoot on hard surfaces. Choose shoes with cushioned heels and a good arch support. A laced sports shoe rather than an open sandal is probably best. Avoid old or worn shoes that may not give a good cushion to your heel.
Heel pads and arch supports
You can buy various pads and shoe inserts to cushion the heel and support the arch of your foot. These work best if you put them in your shoes at all times. The aim is to raise your heel by about 1 cm. If your heel is tender, cut a small hole in the heel pad at the site of the tender spot. This means that the tender part of your heel will not touch anything inside your shoe. Place the inserts/pads in both shoes, even if you only have pain in one foot. A podiatrist may be able to help with specialist inserts.
Most people have completely recovered from an episode of plantar fasciitis within a year.
Acupuncture may help reduce symptoms by:
- regulating neuroendocrine activities and the related receptor expression of the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary axis
- increasing nitric oxide levels
- increasing relaxation and reducing tension
- stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins
- reducing inflammation
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