Back of the Foot Pain
Home Treatment Guide
Home treatment focuses on 2 very important steps:
1) First you must reduce the pain and inflammation
2) Take steps to keep the pain away
3) Correct the biomechanical problems that have caused you to get plantar fasciitis in the first place
1)Reduce The Inflammation
A)Ice: Like anti-inflammatory medications and elevating your foot- using ice is not just about reducing pain, but about reducing inflammation! Icing will decrease inflammation in that area and allow the tissues to start healing faster. Ice works by slowing down inflammatory cells and then after the ice is removed, the blood flow increases and flushes away all the mediators and cells that you don’t want in the painful area.
It is a good idea to freeze a plastic bottle and then roll your foot over top of it, or simply just wrap it with a cloth towel (make sure something is in between the ice and your skin). Ice the painful area for 15 minutes at a time until you start to get numb to the cold, then take the ice off. You can do this whenever your foot is causing you pain a couple times per day.
B)Cool Water Baths: If ice is just too impractical or unpleasant for you, try using some cool water, put it in a foot bath and just soak your feet in it for 10-20 minutes using the same principles as above. Wait for your feet to adjust to the cool water and then finish your bath.
C)Elevation: Just like the Icing and the anti-inflammatory medication, this will help decrease the anti-inflammatory cells in the region. Just toss up your feet throughout the day on some pillows while watching TV and combine it with ice for best results!
D)Anti-inflammatory Medication: The goal of this treatment is not for pain relief! Most guys especially say they don’t need it for the pain or that it doesn’t even help that much, but this is to help your tissues heal faster, not so much for the pain relief. Anti-inflammatory medications like Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin or Aspirin all help speed up the healing process by stopping inflammatory cells in your body from further destroying tissues, they get stuck in a problematic cycle where they are trying to remodel the tissues but as the weeks and months go by they just never get there (because of weight, bad shoes, pregnancy or changing foot biomechanics).
Tip #1: Take a two week course of these medications as recommended by your podiatrist or pharmacist. Be consistent for two weeks taking 2-3 pills per day as recommended, by the end of the first or second week you should really start seeing a difference.
E)Combined Ice/Cooling, Elevation and Anti-inflammatory medication: These three combined together have shown great results in research studies. These three methods combined with stretching shown that pain can be relieved completely in over 75% of people!
F)Massage: Although there is no concrete scientific data for the plantar fascia, massaging your feet for 5-10 minutes with a tennis ball, with your hands or even by your husband or wife is going to help you; No one is going to argue with that. Just get in there and feel for uneven or painful tissue and the simple act of pushing against it in a perpendicular fashion and stroking helps move lymph fluid and breaks up the micro-scar tissue that is present.
2)Keep The Inflammation Away
Research shows that stretching your Achilles tendon and your Calves three times for 15 seconds in the morning and after work is extremely effective in keeping the pain away in 25% of people when used alone, but if you start combining this with the other treatment method it gives you a huge boost in success rate in keeping your pain away.
If you stretch your feet along with the Achilles tendon and Calves that number jumps from 25% to 55% very quickly! This is the single best thing you can do to keep the pain away after the inflammation has been decreased.
You can even use a device to stretch your feet at night called a night splint!
Wear supportive footwear -If you are wearing high heels, flats, tight shoes or basically anything other than running shoes that are extremely comfortable, then this may be making your problem even worse.
Get yourself to a running shoe store or a podiatrist and use a Brannock device to measure your proper shoe size. Most people don’t know that there foot size changes every couple of years- Your foot is growing! Measure not just the length, but the width the length and the arch length.
If you have to keep wearing high heels or work boots, try to get in to see a podiatrist and get an insert or an orthotic. This can be on the cheaper side; you could get a good one for $25 or so!
Wear these at night to keep your calves and plantar fascia stretched (this keeps the toes pointed straight rather than down when you sleep).
Research has shown that night splints have helped in 100% of people that have tried them out. The only complaint is that night splints may be annoying to sleep with, it’s very similar to wearing a shoe while going to bed!
Tip: Ease into them while napping, you forget you are even wearing them after 1-2 naps.
D)Low Dye Strapping
I love this type of taping- it holds the foot in an ideal structure and re-enforces the arch for a couple days until the inflammation of the fascia can die down.