Over a million people per year in the US see a doctor due to foot pain or a swollen foot. Many of those complaints are diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. Symptoms may range from mild to debilitating. The cause for plantar fasciitis is not completely understood, but some factors may include excess stress to the tissue that runs from the heel to the big toe. Wear and tear, heel bone spurs, and lack of mobility in the foot may lead to the pain. Weak foot muscle may also lead to pain over time watch our video.
A person who may complain of foot pain or plantar fasciitis may exhibit signs such as pain with the first few steps when they wake up in the morning and general pain at the heel or arch of the foot. The reason for this is because the covers and blankets we use at night may keep our feet plantar flexed, meaning toes pointing down. This shortens the length of the tissues such as the calf muscles and the plantar fascia itself. Foot pain may resolve after those first several steps in the morning but may return with prolonged standing and walking. A person who has above normal height of the arch or even flat feet may develop plantar fasciitis as well. The plantar fascia plays a very important in supporting the arch of the foot. Poor ankle and great toe mobility are other factors that can cause foot pain as well as the surfaces we run/walk on and shoes and training regimen.
Diagnosing plantar fasciitis can be as simple as eliciting pain at the heel or along the tissue itself through palpation. Often times the patient may need an x-ray to check for spurring at the heel. Ultrasonography can determine a thickening of the plantar fascia or possible heel or fat pad contusion. Now lets get to the home remedies for foot pain.
Here are some home remedies for foot pain that might work for you:
· Stretching- Stretching the calf muscles Stretches should be held for 30 seconds at a minimum of three repetitions. Try this 2-3 times a day.
· Ice Massage- If pain and inflammation is the main issue, rolling your foot over frozen water bottle or soda can on the ground may help as well.Try this for about 8 to 10 minutes.
· Strengthening- A large portion of patients with foot pain have weak foot muscles. Exercises such as calf raises, toe curls, towel scrunching may help. Balance exercise may also help increase stability and strength, which may help with pain.
·Modify Activity- Sometimes, you simply need to give the feet a break! Try to decrease the amount of time standing for a week or 2.
· Night Splints- Night splints are sometimes prescribed for patients with plantar fasciitis. They place a light stretch on the plantar fascia while you sleep.
· Orthotics- For those with high or low arches, you may find comfort in a custom fit orthotic or shoe insert. This may decrease any abnormal stresses on the foot.
· Laser Therapy- Many choose laser therapy to relieve pain. While this is not one of the home remedies for heel spurs or other types of foot pain, it is a useful option in physical therapy. Laser is also helpful for treating other body parts, such as aching knees, hips, etc.
· Injections- Injections of corticosteroids at the injury site are an option to decrease the pain and inflammation, but should not be the first line of defense.
· Surgery- Occasionally, conservative plantar fasciitis and bone spur treatments do not resolve the issue. If symptoms are not resolved by these treatments within 6-12 months, you may need referral to an orthopedic surgeon for consultation.
Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute has a team of highly speciallized ankle and foot doctors and therapists to help with foot pain. If home remedies do not help, come see us! We'll treat you like a Pro!!
By Greg Heeter ATC