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Don’t Let Foot Pain IMMOBILIZE YOU!

Do you suffer from chronic foot pain? Is the pain so bad it hurts to stand? Are you no longer able to exercise? If you leave your foot pain untreated it might become a HUGE problem. Which is what happened to one runner, Dakota Smith, who got Plantar Fasciitis. Luckily, he invented this brilliant tool to heal himself! Introducing The Spara Podiatry Massage Tool, AN EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE PAIN RELIEF TOOL FOR YOUR FOOT THAT DOCTORS ARE RAVING ABOUT!

  • TOP PHYSICIANS & PHYSICAL THERAPISTS RECOMMEND SPARA. Over 1 million Americans seek medical treatment for foot pain each year. Doctors often recommend a daily deep tissue massage to reduce foot pain, but there was never a good tool for an at home foot massage. Spara changed that with its PATENTED Multi-Surface Grip Track that allows you to target the source of your pain with a deep tissue massage. Doctors recommend Spara for a controlled foot massage that reduces your foot pain and helps cure chronic conditions like PF.
  • PLANTAR FASCIITIS (PF) is the leading cause of FOOT PAIN. You get PF when a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot (plantar fascia) microtears and becomes inflamed. Spara gives you the perfect foot massage to reduce micro-tearing and inflammation, so your foot can heal.
  • Get your life back! Foot pain can basically ruin your life. Every step you take feels like you are stepping on a razor sharp rock. You end up being in too much pain to leave your house and you miss everything. Spara is here to get you back on your feet so you can have your life back!
  • ICE & MASSAGE with CONTROL! Spara uses Marble Massage Balls, which stay FROZEN up to 10 MINUTES. Just place the marble ball on our PATENTED Multi-Surface Grip Track, and roll your feet on the Massage Ball for 5 minutes a day. You will feel the difference almost instantly.
  • Spara received the prestigious American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance. Accredited physicians, trainers, recreational and professional athletes are recommending Spara to treat pain and improve performance.
  • Priced to fit any budget and backed by our 100% Money Back Guarantee! Try Spara for yourself RISK FREE and put it to the test! Don’t love Spara? Send it back within 30 days of getting the shipment for a full refund. (But your feet will beg you not too!).

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With plantar fasciitis, you suffer from chronic pain in the bottom of your heel or the bottom of your foot. While it may feel like inflammation, it is associated with a degenerative problem involving the tissue that connects your toes to your heel bone. Plantar fasciitus happens a lot with runners and people who have flat feet, high arches, are overweight, or who are on their feet a lot.

It can take 6-12 months for your foot to get back to normal. You can do these things at home to ease the pain and help your foot heal faster:

Rest: It’s important to keep weight off your foot until the inflammation goes down.

Ice: This is an easy way to treat inflammation, and there are a few ways you can use it.

To make an ice pack, wrap a towel around a plastic bag filled with crushed ice or around a package of frozen corn or peas. Put it on your heel 3 to 4 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

Or you can fill a shallow pan with water and ice and soak your heel in it for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day. Be sure to keep your toes out of the water.

Another option is to fill a small paper or foam cup with water and freeze it. Then rub it over your heel for 5 to 10 minutes. Never put ice directly on your heel.

Pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can make your foot feel better and help with inflammation.

Stretching and exercise: Stretch your calves, Achilles tendon, and the bottom of your foot. Do exercises that make your lower leg and foot muscles stronger. This can help stabilize your ankle, ease pain, and keep plantar fasciitis from coming back.

Athletic tape: Tape can support your foot and keep you from moving it in a way that makes plantar fasciitis worse.

Shoe inserts. Also called insoles, arch supports, or orthotics, they can give you extra cushion and added support. You can get them over-the-counter (OTC) or have them custom made. Typically, your results will be just as good, and cheaper, with OTC inserts. When you choose one, firmer is better — and make sure it has good arch support.

You Asked: What’s the Best Way to Treat Plantar Fasciitis?

Often described as a throbbing pain that strikes the meat of the heel and radiates outward, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot conditions in the U.S. Roughly 2 million Americans suffer from it, and it can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months at a stretch. In some cases, it can even be a chronic ailment.

The plantar fascia is a fan-shaped band of connective tissue that runs along the underside of the foot, spanning the arch and attaching at the heel and between the bones of the toes. Plantar fasciitis results when that connective tissue is somehow injured or inflamed—a common occurrence among those who engage in “repetitive impact activities” like running, says Dr. Joan Williams, a foot and ankle surgeon at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center.

“People will start to notice some soreness in the heel after a run, but they tough it out and run through it,” she explains. That’s bad. “Inflammation and swelling and irritation of the plantar fascia cause the pain,” she says, and all of them tend to get worse if a person keeps training.

Running can also cause microscopic tears in the plantar fascia. If those tears aren’t given enough time to heal, they can become painful, says Dr. James Gladstone, an associate professor of orthopedics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

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Gladstone says the foot’s connective tissues and muscles are in a constant state of breakdown and regeneration—processes that are usually in equilibrium. “But if you’re over-training, your body isn’t able to maintain the build-up part, and so you start breaking down and getting all these overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis,” he says. A sedentary lifestyle, old age and obesity are also risk factors for the condition, which turns up in 7% of adults 65 and older.

It’s important to note that—much like the terms “headache” or “indigestion”—plantar fasciitis refers to a symptom that can stem from a variety of different underlying causes. While overuse injuries and stress fractures to the bones of the heel can produce heel pain, so can an overly tight Achilles tendon, says Dr. Casey Humbyrd, an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and chief of the Foot and Ankle Division at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “In flat-footed individuals, loss of arch support can also be a contributing factor,” she adds.

Because the specific causes of heel pain can be tricky to diagnose, doctors usually start out plantar fasciitis patients on a range of conservative treatments designed to manage the pain and induce healing.

First and foremost, athletes who are experiencing heel pain need to rest. “I tell patients to stop running for 4 to 6 weeks,” Williams says. “It can be hard to get runners to stop, but continuing to run can make the issue worse.”

Along with rest, Williams recommends stretches that target the calf, Achilles, and plantar fascia—like pulling the toes back toward the shin. Especially first thing in the morning or after long periods of sitting or lying down—times when foot muscles and connective tissues tighten up—stretching can help limit plantar fasciitis pain, she says.

Arch-supporting heel inserts can also help by taking some pressure off the plantar fascia and the Achilles, though too-high inserts can actually add tension and make things worse, Gladstone says. Rolling a ball along the sole of the foot can also help stretch the plantar fascia and keep the foot’s arch limber.

In severe plantar fasciitis cases or those that haven’t responded to earlier treatments, anti-inflammatory injections may help. Surgery is also sometimes (though rarely) warranted to remove a bone deformity or to loosen inflexible muscles.

But a growing number of doctors are employing focused, extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) or related sound wave treatments to help initiate repair and regrowth of the damaged facia. “Both bombard the area and cause microtrauma to stimulate the healing response,” says Dr. Amol Saxena, sports medicine editor of the journal International Advances in Foot & Ankle Surgery and a podiatrist specializing in sports medicine at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

The plantar fascia is an area of the foot that doesn’t get much blood flow, and so the body’s ability to heal degenerative injuries—the kind that result from years of pounding pavement—is often limited, Saxena says. Shockwave and sound wave therapies pull blood to the plantar fascia, which facilitates the body’s built-in repair processes. “These have the highest level of evidence for anything we do for plantar fasciitis,” Saxena says, citing some of his own research on the procedures.

Patients who undergo these wave therapies typically require three treatment sessions spaced a week apart, and sometimes a follow-up treatment six weeks to three months down the road, he says. The treatments cause some short-term pain—shockwave more so than sound wave—and insurance doesn’t cover them in most cases. (Saxena says the treatments, in total, can cost anywhere from $400 to a couple thousand.) It also takes about three months for the tissue “remodeling” to be complete and for symptoms to subside.

“But shock wave is the closest thing we have to a miracle cure,” he says.

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The Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Relief

Top Lab Pick

Vionic Splendid Midi Perf

Vionic $77.99

Built-in arch support gives your foot proper alignment in this stylish slip-on.

  • Fashionable design
  • Leather top
  • Built-in support
  • Cut-outs aren’t great for cold weather

Best for Professionals

Dansko Women’s Professional Mule

Dansko

A great choice for nurses and restaurant workers who have to be on their feet all day.

  • Roomy at the toe
  • Padded inside
  • Solid and prints available
  • A little bulky

Best Sneaker

Gravity Defyer Women’s G-Defy Mighty Walk

Gravity Defyer $155.00

This walking shoe has everything you need in a sneaker.

  • Shock absorption
  • Arch support
  • Roomy toe box
  • Not water-resistant

Best Slipper

Orthofeet Slipper

Orthofeet $79.95

A bestselling slipper thanks to its orthotic insole and comfy cushioning.

  • Support around the heel and ball of your foot
  • Users credit slippers for plantar fasciitis relief
  • Inexpensive compared to other supportive shoes
  • Only for inside the house

Most Fashionable

Dr. Scholl’s Shoes Women’s Rate Ankle Boot

Dr. Scholl’s Shoes $80.00 $42.84 (46% off)

Finally, an on-trend shoe that doesn’t look like it belongs in a hospital.

  • Easy to slide on/off
  • Memory foam footbed
  • Available in medium and wide
  • Some users claim they run small

If you struggle with plantar fasciitis, a common type of heel pain that occurs when the tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes gets inflamed, the right footwear can make all the difference. We spoke with Dr. Jordan Metzl, M.D., a sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, who says it’s one of the most frequent problems he sees at his office. Because the pain can linger for months (even years, ugh!), you’ll save yourself a lot of discomfort if you invest in supportive shoes.

Our Lab’s top pick is the Vionic Splendid Midi Perf slip-on shoe. This brand of orthotic footwear has designs that you’ll actually want to wear, like this slip-on sneaker with a stylish leather top. Even better, the built-in arch support gives your foot proper alignment so you don’t have to sacrifice function for fashion.

Know that you’re more at risk of plantar fasciitis if you have a high arch, but those with flat feet can get it, too. If you’re not sure what kind of arch you have, step on a paper towel with a wet foot. If you only see the ball of your foot and your heel in the footprint, you have a high arch. If you see the entire shape of your foot, you have flat feet.

Wearing a shoe that corrects your arch should instantly relieve foot pain, says Dr. Metzl. But because no two cases of plantar fasciitis are alike, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your best bet is to try on a bunch of styles to see which shoes fit you correctly and are the most comfortable.

Based on Dr. Metzl’s medical advice, along with the shoe-shopping expertise of the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab, we found the five best everyday shoes designed to correct your arch and get rid of that pesky foot pain, plus two seasonally appropriate options.

The GHI’s Top 7 Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis:

Top Lab Pick:
Vionic Splendid Midi Perf

Vionic Splendid Midi Perf VIONIC zappos.com $77.99

This brand of orthotic footwear has designs that you’ll actually want to wear, like this slip-on sneaker with a perforated leather top. Even better, the built-in arch support gives your foot proper alignment so you don’t have to sacrifice function for fashion. There are lots of other styles to choose from, too, like sneakers, loafers, heels, and sandals. One online reviewer who says she has wide feet and a bunion wrote: “Like they came straight from heaven! I’m a loyal Vionic customer, and this is their most comfortable shoe yet! Cute and on trend style.” We recommend wiping down the outer soles regularly to keep the white looking bright.

For Professionals:
Dansko Mule

Dansko Women’s Professional Mule Dansko amazon.com

This clog is a favorite of restaurant workers, hospital staff, and other people who have to be on their feet all day. It’s roomy at the toe, has a shock-absorbing sole, and is padded inside for extra comfort. You can choose from tons of different solid color or print options. With more than 4,000 positive reviews on Amazon, one verified purchaser who struggles with plantar fasciitis in her left foot wrote: “I had been hobbling around using various braces, inserts, and shoes recommended by my podiatrist without much relief — until I found these shoes. I now can walk normally, without a limp and without pain.”

Sneaker:
Gravity Defyer Women’s G-Defy Mighty Walk

Gravity Defyer Women’s G-Defy Mighty Walk Gravity Defyer amazon.com $155.00

This walking shoe has everything you need in a sneaker: shock absorption to reduce stress on your joints, arch support for pain relief, and a roomy toe box for wiggle room. The insole is removable in case you need to use your own orthotic and it comes in a variety of widths, include extra wide. “I have a big arthritic joint on my right foot and plantar fasciitis in my left,” writes one verified purchaser on Amazon. “The fasciitis is hugely improved and I haven’t even had the shoes for very long. Very soft and cushiony inside, nothing that puts pressure on any joints. Whoever invented these is genius!”

Slipper:
Orthofeet Charlotte Slipper

Orthofeet Charlotte Slipper Orthofeet amazon.com $79.95

Orthofeet also offers an assortment of shoe styles, but this slipper is a bestseller thanks to its orthotic insole and comfy cushioning around the heel and ball of your foot. Users swear that wearing these at home instead of going barefoot has helped alleviate their plantar fasciitis pain. Writes one verified purchaser who struggles with plantar fasciitis: “Comfortable shoes are a serious subject to me. I bought these slippers in 2014 and have worn them every day. I’ve washed them in the washing machine many times and they are still going. My new pair came today. I will keep the old slippers for messy jobs, but look forward to at least 3 or 4 years of comfortable feet.”

Fashion Pick:
Dr. Scholl’s Rate Boot

Dr. Scholl’s Shoes Women’s Rate Ankle Boot Dr. Scholl’s Shoes amazon.com $80.00 $42.84 (46% off)

No one will know you’re opting for a supportive shoe with this on-trend bootie. The cut-outs at the opening make it easy to slide on, there’s a memory foam footbed, and it’s available in both medium and wide sizes. The leather-wrapped stacked heel measures about 1 inch. “I literally wear these five days out of the week, they are so comfortable,” writes one Amazon reviewer. ” more comfortable than my running shoes. And the olive color goes with everything!” If you’re not solid on olive, they also come in “putty” (beige) and black.

Winter Boot:
Vionic Lace-up Bootie

Vionic Lace-up Booties Vionic amazon.com $59.39

Vionic also makes great winter gear, namely these cozy-lookin’ boots with faux-fur trim. They’re made with water-resistant suede on top of a rubber sole for better traction against snow and ice. Importantly, they incorporate Vionic’s Orthoheel Technology to support your foot’s natural alignment. Your feet will be warm and toasty with its flannel-lined interior, and the footbed is removable if you want to throw it in the wash after a long day of snowman-building with the kids.

Summer Sandal:
OOFOS Thong Flip Flop

OOFOS Unisex Original Thong Flip Flop OOFOS amazon.com $49.95

This sandal is made of a foam that cushions your foot and supports your arches. It’s designed to be worn after exercise to help your feet recover, but it’s safe to get wet and can be worn to the pool or beach. They come in eight colors including lime green, hot pink, and purple. One Amazon reviewer calls it a must-have for plantar fasciitis: “This flip flop has saved my life in regard to summer fun. I developed plantar fasciitis about one year ago in my right heel. While I am standing up straight I feel no direct pressure on my heels, as I walk the shoe provides amazing comfort.”

Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Director Lexie Sachs earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Fiber Science from Cornell University, and she researches, tests and reports on fabric-based products ranging from sheets, mattresses and towels to bras, fitness apparel and other clothing.

The 4 Best Foot Massagers For Plantar Fasciitis

While in-office visits are certainly nice, the best foot massagers for plantar fasciitis let you enjoy some of the same benefits in the comfort of your home and on your own time. Especially when paired with dynamic stretching of the feet and the calves, massage is a powerful tool to help with plantar fasciitis symptoms. When choosing the best massager for your needs, there are two main types to consider:

  • Manual massagers such as foot rollers and massage balls are easy to use and convenient to tote. Best yet, this type of massage is commonly recommended by physical therapists. You have a lot of control over the strength of the massage and don’t have to worry about being close to an outlet. These also tend to be significantly less expensive.
  • Electric massagers provide things like heat and automatic kneading that a manual massager just won’t, but they are also significantly more expensive. Electric models are also bigger and typically need to be plugged in. It’s important to check that the model you get will fit your feet size, too.

To get more insight, Bustle reached out to Michelle Hittner, LMT and owner of Austin Massage Company. She noted that the benefits of massage for your plantar fasciitis, don’t stop at the feet. “While massaging the actual foot feels great and you do feel some relief when only concentrating on the foot, you are treating the symptom mostly and not the cause,” Hittner explained. “Stretching the various muscles in the lower leg will give more relief and more prolonged relief as you are addressing more of the root of the pain, not just where the pain is presenting.” Preliminary research suggests that massaging the calves can be especially helpful, which is why I included an electric foot and calf massager in this roundup.

Hittner also recommends speaking with an expert in anatomy and physiology on how to best combine “soft tissue work, stretching, and take-home care to treat and prevent future occurrences.”

With all that in mind, you’ll find the at-home manual and electric foot massagers Amazon reviewers are obsessed with below.

1. The Overall Best Manual Massager

With a 4.7-star rating after more than 3,000 reviews, this TheraFlow foot massager roller is an Amazon cult favorite. The acupressure nubs and ridges on the 10 independently moving rollers are designed to optimize their massage benefits, according to the manufacturer, and it can be used on the calves, as well. Plus, it has a comfortable curved shape. Made of wood and weighing just 1.5 pounds, this manual foot massager is easy to move to wherever you might want it. However, some reviewers highly recommend reading the directions first for the best results.

Fans say: “I was recently diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and had been experiencing a lot of pain in my arches. This massager (which was approved for use by my doctor) has been helping a lot to ease that pain. I highly recommend this product!”

2. The Best Manual Foot Roller Set For Plantar Fasciitis

For extra versatility, this set of three different massagers is a steal at less than $20. With one soft spiked ball, one firm spiked ball, and a hard foam roller, these rubber and phthalate-free PVC massagers offer a variety of benefits for the feet, calves, and even hamstrings. Massage balls with spikes are often recommended by physical therapists. With a carrying bag, it’s a great pick for travel. It also comes with an instructional booklet. With a 4.6-star rating, it’s Amazon reviewer-approved.

Fans say: “I’d been looking for something for my plantar fasciitis and this is the first thing that made a noticeable difference. It massages the muscle in your foot in just the right place and manner to relieve some of the pain.”

3. The Best Overall Foot Massage Machine

With six massage heads and 18 rotating nodes, this affordable foot massager offers awesome benefits while costing less than $60. In addition to deep kneading and Shiatsu functions, the height is adjustable and there’s optional heat — with overheat protection, too. With a 4.4-star rating, it’s an Amazon favorite, and because of the design, it also works for a variety of shoe sizes. “He wears a size 14 shoe and we were very surprised that his whole foot fit on the massager,” one reviewer noted. However, the manufacturer does not recommend this unit for those with very high arches.

Fans say: “I’ve been recovering from plantar fasciitis for many months now, and I credit a lot of my recent recovery to using this twice a day. This is great, and helps work out all the knots in my feet. The heat is nice too.”

4. The Best Foot & Calf Electric Massager

With patented Figure-Eight technology designed to improve circulation in the legs and feet, this calf and foot massager from Human Touch features the most bells and whistles out of the bunch, and is a great way to work the calves as well as the feet. There are multiple styles of massage to choose from and it has adjustable intensity. There’s even relaxing foot vibration and a warm air feature. The tilt is adjustable for extra comfort, and it also works for a range of feet sizes. One customer noted: “IT FITS Size 15 wide feet and long shanks and this thing works GREAT.”

Fans say: “I have suffered from painful plantar fasciitis for about a decade. I’ve tried all the stretching exercises and home remedies already. Then I tried this foot massager. I’ve only had it for a couple weeks but I have experienced significant improvement. My planter fasciitis is still there but there is a 90% improvement.”

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.

Experts:

Michelle Hittner, LMT and owner of Austin Massage Company

Plantar Fasciitis Stretches to Soothe Heel Pain

Taut muscles in your feet or calves aggravate plantar fasciitis. Soothe or prevent the pain with some of these easy stretches recommended by personal trainer and triathlete Deborah Lynn Irmas of Santa Monica, CA. Irmas is certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). She endured bouts of plantar fasciitis after overtraining with too many sprints. This stretching routine, which she practices and recommends to her clients, keeps her free of heel pain.

Stretch your calves

  1. Stand an arm’s length from a wall.
  2. Place your right foot behind your left.
  3. Slowly and gently bend your left leg forward.
  4. Keep your right knee straight and your right heel on the ground.
  5. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and release. Repeat three times.
  6. Reverse the position of your legs, and repeat.

This stretch targets the gastrocnemius muscle in your calf. As your plantar fascia begins to heal and the pain diminishes, you can deepen this stretch by performing it with both legs slightly bent, says Irmas. Done this way, the stretch loosens the soleus muscle in the lower calf. Irmas cautions that it’s important not to hold the stretches for too long.

Grab a chair and stretch your plantar fascia

These three seated stretching exercises will also help relieve plantar fasciitis. Remember to sit up straight while you do them:

  1. While seated, roll your foot back and forth over a frozen water bottle, ice-cold can, or foam roller. Do this for one minute and then switch to the other foot.
  2. Next, cross one leg over the other for the big toe stretch. Grab your big toe, pull it gently toward you, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Do this three times, then reverse and do the same with the other foot.
  3. For the third seated exercise, fold a towel lengthwise to make an exercise strap. Sit down, and place the folded towel under the arches of both feet. Grab the ends of the towel with both hands, and gently pull the tops of your feet toward you. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat three times.

Not only can these stretches help to reduce heel pain, but doing them faithfully before your workout “absolutely can prevent plantar fasciitis,” says Irmas.

How To Deal, Heal, And Workout With Plantar Fasciitis

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You step out of bed and your foot hurts. You don’t remember injuring yourself and since it feels better the more you walk around, you assume it’s a fluke.

The next morning there it is again. “Strange,” you think. “I’m sure it will go away,” but it persists.

Gradually it hurts more. But still, it feels better when you move around on it so it can’t be bad, right? Wrong.

You have plantar fasciitis (“plan-tur-fash-ee-eye-tis”), a common foot injury and a fairly easy one to fix if you act early. Which is the very first tip: do not wait to treat this injury.

The longer you wait, the worse it gets and the longer it will take to heal. So what is this strangely named problem and just what should you do about it?

Use the links below to quickly navigate this guide:

  • What is Plantar Fasciitis?
  • Reasons and Risks
  • Plantar Fasciitis Treatments
  • Shoe Inserts For Plantar Fasciitis
  • How To Find The Right Shoe Inserts For You
  • Can I Work Out With Plantar Fasciitis?

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

PHOTO CREDIT: www.Fasciitis.com

The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot connecting your heel to the base of your toes. It acts like a shock absorber supporting the arch in your foot.

If tension on the fascia is overloaded, tiny tears are produced resulting in irritation, inflammation and pain. The pain might feel like a stabbing sensation in the heel or arch of the foot, or it might feel more like deep aching or throbbing.

Most people feel this pain when getting out of bed in the morning. The pain generally subsides as the foot gets warmed up and moving.

This is because the fascia is contracted at night almost as if it tries to heal itself. When you step on it getting out of bed, a sudden strain occurs all over again.

Reasons and Risks

Many things can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis including a sudden and big increase in running mileage, working out, walking or standing on hard surfaces, poor foot structure (too flat or too arched), worn out or improperly fitting shoes, or even going barefoot and wearing flip-flops.

The biggest contributors to this annoying problem including:

Age
Plantar fasciitis can occur at any age, but is most common between 40-60.

Certain Exercises
Running, dance aerobics, ballet, or any exercise that put more pressure on the heel will contribute to the strain.

Lack of stretching
Chronically tight hamstrings, calves, low back, or Achilles tendons will pull the fascia tighter making for more tears.

Foot mechanics
Overpronation, or having your foot roll in, is the most common mechanical contributor but any type of odd gait or stride may also play a role.

Obesity or being overweight
Unfortunately, it’s just a fact: the heavier you are, the more stress put on your plantar fascia.

Bad footwear
Wearing improperly fitting or unsupportive footwear can cause major problems for our feet, notably plantar fasciitis.

Overexertion
The more use your require of your foot, the more likely you are to develop plantar fasciitis. In fact, studies show that you’re 3.6 times more likely to develop the condition if you spend the majority of the day on your feet.

Related: 7 Common Foot Injuries and How To Treat Them

Plantar Fasciitis Treatments

Whatever the cause, one thing is for sure: you want this thing fixed! It’s annoying and persistent.

The good news is that, when treated early, most people resolve their pain with conservative treatments within six weeks. The complicated part is that no one treatment works for every person.

Sometimes you have to try a few to figure out what works for you. However, there are tried and true things that need to be utilized whether trying to solve plantar fasciitis or better yet – trying to avoid it!

Here they are:

Stretch, stretch, stretch

Your lower legs, calves, ankles and feet need to be stretched daily if not several times a day.

Stand at a doorframe holding the edges, place your heel on the floor close to the frame and the ball of your foot up against the frame.

Pulling gently with your hands, slightly bend your knee and press your foot into the doorframe while leaning forward. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat.

Another great stretch is to sit down with your legs stretched out in front of you and a towel or resistance band wrapped around your foot.

Gently pull back on the towel/resistance band and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat.

Remember to stretch both feet, even if one is not injured. Prevention is easier than resolution!

Ice

Just like with other injuries, the inflammation of plantar fasciitis can be helped with ice.

The best way to do this is to use a frozen water bottle and roll it back and forth under your foot for about 10 minutes, several times a day.

Do it at meals, under your desk while you work or even at night when you watch TV. Be consistent.

Massage

No, you don’t have to pay for it. While you are sitting, roll a tennis ball around under your foot to massage the area.

It works like a foam roller for your foot. Of course, the frozen water bottle also serves this purpose.

Medication

Over the counter anti-inflammatories can help. Ibuprofen or Naproxin are good bets to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

Rest up

Your feet need time off from whatever is causing the issue. Stop or cut way back on whatever the offending exercise is.

Read on because below is a list of alternative exercises that might just do the trick until you feel better.

Get new shoes

What a great prescription, huh? Most people wear their workout shoes for far too long before replacing.

Remember that the plantar fascia muscle, which runs along the bottom of your foot, helps support the arch of your foot.

So it makes sense that if you do not wear shoes with proper support you are putting extra wear and tear on that fascia. This leads to the muscle being strained and small tears can be created.

Also, many find relief by wearing supportive shoes or shoe inserts (more on that below) very regularly. Keeping shoes on as much as possible allows the fascia to heal more quickly and maintain support.

Shoe Inserts For Plantar Fasciitis

Cheap or improper shoes can be one of the causes of plantar fasciitis, but before you go buying brand new shoes, you may also consider shoe inserts. Inserts last longer and can be moved from shoe to shoe as needed.

At one time you had to spend hundreds of dollars at a foot doctor or physical therapist in order to get good, quality custom-made orthotics.

Now there are literally hundreds of options for inserts online or at any number of footwear stores with a very wide price range.

Just keep in mind that price can often—though not completely—reflect quality. Try to choose based on other reasons.

So how do you filter through all the choices and select the right pair for you? Here are some tips!

How To Find The Right Shoe Inserts For You

  1. Look for insoles that have been well-tested and recommended by other users. If you don’t know someone personally, read the reviews online. However, don’t use the recommendation of the company itself.
  2. Take time to know your own feet before you buy. Neutral? Pronator? Supinator? Get a diagnosis from a medical professional or a specialized running store that uses a treadmill to watch you and help you understand your gait. Once you know, make sure to choose inserts that are specific to YOUR feet.
  3. Look for inserts with deep heel cups. Generally those who experience plantar fasciitis need more support in the arches of the feet. A deeper heel cup will provide this. Do you have flat feet? Low Arches? Moderate arches? If you aren’t sure, Runner’s World provides you with the Wet Feet Test that you can do at home to determine the amount of arch support you will need.
  4. Give the inserts time to break in before a race or longer run. Just like a new pair of shoes, the inserts will change the foot movement and your feet will need time to adjust. Do it in small doses.

With so many options out there, let us help you get started. We have a few to recommend and, if they don’t meet your needs, most of them will have other great options linked on the same page.

Here are our favorite picks! Click on the Amazon link below to be taken to the product.

Superfeet Black Premium Insoles

Custom designed for low-medium arch foot types they are considered one of the best on the market for flat feel. Other Superfeet Insoles fit different foot shapes. The Superfeet Blue, for more of a medium arch, is one of the best sellers out there.

Powerstep Protech Orthotic Supports

Plantar Fasciitis sufferers have chosen these for a long time reporting great results. These have a deep heel cup, dual layers for better shock absorption, and anti-microbial protection for freshness.

Powerstep Unisex Pinnacle Maxx Insole

If you are a severe pronator this is a great choice for you. The Powerstep has a slightly angled exterior heel platform to provide motion control. These are also anti-microbial.

GEL Orthotic Shoe Gel Insoles

Like shock absorbers for your car, these babies have a cushy gel material for gentle relief. One thing to consider: these come oversized for you to trim to fit your size rather than coming in a specific size set to your foot. This turns some people off.

Airplus Plantar Fasciitis Orthotic

Here is another choice with gel insert cushions. These also have the deep heel cup we recommend. Those who reviewed the Syono often noted they provide more stability than other more notable name brands they have tried.

Remember, these are a small handful from a giant bucket of options. Take a look around and get something that will give you happy feet!

Can I Work Out with Plantar Fasciitis?

The answer is yes! But you may have to adjust your workouts until the problem is resolved. And even then, make sure to resume your regular activities slowly.

Yoga is a great form of low-impact exercise for people dealing with plantar fasciitis.

The key to staying fit while trying to resolve plantar fasciitis is to participate in things that will not contribute to heel strike or pounding of your feet.

Workouts To Try:

  • Swimming
  • Water Aerobics
  • Elliptical machine
  • Weight Lifting
  • Cycling with Hard Surface Shoes
  • Rowing Machine
  • Yoga
  • Mat Pilates

Workouts To Avoid:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Bouncing
  • Step Aerobics
  • Walking for fitness
  • Going barefoot or wearing flip-flops (use shoes even in your home!)

Physical therapy, night splints, custom orthotics and even surgery can play a role in solving plantar fasciitis if the more conservative treatments are not helping you.

For me personally, I had plantar fasciitis about 15 years ago after training for a marathon. What ended up helping me the most was sleeping in a boot, keeping my arch taped with first aid tape and wearing inserts in my running shoes.

Be sure to see your doctor if the pain persists for more than three to four weeks with the conservative treatments.

Best of luck and remember that slowing down now will help you continue to move for many years to come!

Experiencing persistent pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel or foot? The cause of this either sharp or dull discomfort could be plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the thick tissue, or fascia, that runs along the bottom of the foot. Common among distance runners with chronically tight hamstrings, back, calves and Achilles tendons, or those who run in shoes without proper arch support, the condition may also be caused by a muscular imbalance in the hips or pelvis.

This imbalance can cause slight compensations in the stride that place more stress on one leg than the other, according to San Diego-based running coach Jon Clemens, who has a master’s degree in exercise physiology. While correcting the imbalance permanently requires a strength program that focuses on balance, calf- and pelvis-strengthening drills, said Clemens, treatment to temporarily relieve the inflammation can be performed easily at home.

RELATED: Sole Care: How Runners Can Reduce Foot Injuries

In addition to stopping or reducing running, Clemens recommends completing this daily regime until the pain subsides.

1. Stretch the fascia. Prop your toes up against a wall, keeping your arch and heel flat so the toes stretch. Hold for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times three or four times per day.

2. Roll a frozen water bottle under the arch. “Stretch first then roll out the arch for 10 minutes; you don’t want to stretch the tendon when it’s ice cold,” Clemens said.

3. Freeze a golf ball and massage the fascia. Roll the frozen golf ball under the foot, starting from the front and working your way back. Put good pressure on each spot—the medial, center and lateral positions—for 15 seconds before moving to the next area. Then, roll the ball back and forth over the entire foot.

4. Foam roll all muscles on the body above the plantar. “Even tight shoulders can cause the condition, as your arm swing can throw off proper hip alignment and footstrike,” Clemens said.

5. Bump your arch. “Get a commercial insole with an arch bump to push on the plantar and keep it from flexing—it doesn’t matter if you’re an under or overpronator; the plantar needs to be supported and strengthened,” Clemens advised. “Wear the support in all shoes, if possible.”

RELATED: Self-Massage Tips for Runners

By Dr. Lauren Geaney

Plantar fasciitis, or “heel spur pain,” is the most common cause of pain under the heel. The pain is usually located under the center of the heel, but can also extend into the arch. It is caused by small tears in the ligament along the bottom of the foot, called the plantar fascia. If you notice pain when you first get out of bed in the morning or when you stand up after being seated, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. The pain typically improves once you are up and moving around for a while.

The average age of patients who develop plantar fasciitis is 45. It is twice as common in women as men. It also occurs more frequently in people who are overweight.

The good news is that more than 90% of plantar fasciitis cases improve without surgery or injections within ten months. Non-surgical treatments include:

  1. Stretching exercises for the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia ligament
  2. Silicone heel cushions inserted into comfortable walking shoes
  3. A night splint or boot to wear to sleep at night
  4. Cortisone injections, in limited cases where other treatments have failed
  5. Shock wave therapy

There are three helpful exercises that we recommend to anyone suffering from plantar fasciitis symptoms.

Exercise 1: With one hand grasp toes and pull ankle and toes up towards shin to stretch plantar fascia. With the other hand massage plantar fascia ligament in the arch.

Exercise 2: Stand against wall with painful foot back, leg straight, and forward leg bent. Keeping heel on floor, lean into wall until stretch is felt in calf and hold.

Exercise 3: Roll the arch of your foot back and forth over a tennis ball to stretch the plantar fascia ligament.

These 3 Tricks Could Fix Your Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition affecting the heel, arch, and sole of the foot. It can often be treated with rest and icing, but some cases are more stubborn than a toddler in a toy store, and when it sticks around you need the right tools to kick it to the curb. If you’ve got persistent pain from plantar fasciitis and you’re searching for a natural way to get rid of it, this article will help you do just that.

A common foot injury, plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation of the fibrous sheath that wraps around the sole of the foot called the plantar fascia. If you can picture the body’s equivalent of Saran wrap layered on top of the muscles and underneath the skin, that’s what fascia is.

The plantar fascia connects the heel bone with the ball of the foot, and forms the arch of the foot, and is vital for standing, walking, and supporting the weight of the body.

When this fascia on the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed, this can cause plantar fasciitis, which manifests as pain in the heel and foot. While it can happen to anyone, you’re more likely to get it if you participate in high-impact activities like jogging, dancing, or basketball.

If you’ve been experiencing sharp pain in the heel or arch — particularly first thing in the morning or during periods of inactivity — and you’ve been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, there are natural solutions you can try at home. Today we’re going over three of the best home treatments in detail.

1. Upgrade Your Footwear

You may be surprised to hear that one of the main causes of plantar fasciitis is worn-out sneakers. It’s true, that sweaty old pair of gym shoes you just can’t live without could be the culprit for your heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis is common in athletes, particularly runners. In fact, up to one in ten runners will get plantar fasciitis at some point, and most athletes could stand to replace their footwear more often. If it’s been many months (or even years) of hard use in the same pair of shoes, it’s time to retire them and move on to a new pair that has a solid base.

When it comes to workplace and casual wear, it’s important to be aware of the amount of support in the shoe and the height of the heel. High-heeled shoes have been shown to actually change the alignment of the foot and ankle, creating a negative chain reaction that can travel as far up as the lower spine. Doctors and physical therapists agree that the primary factor when choosing women’s footwear should be foot and whole-body health, rather than purely aesthetics.

Over time, shoes can actually cause the muscles of the foot to weaken and place unnecessary strain on the structures surrounding the plantar fascia, so wearing shoes with proper support, particularly in the arch area, is key to beating plantar fasciitis. A low to minimal heel and plenty of room in the toe box for natural movement are both important for avoiding foot dysfunction.

2. Deep Tissue Massage For Plantar Fasciitis

Since plantar fasciitis is essentially a repetitive strain injury to the fibrous tissue on the underside of the foot, massage therapy is a helpful treatment for relieving that strain. In particular, deep tissue massage is the technique of choice for heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.

Deep tissue massage is particularly helpful because it loosens the tendons, ligaments, and fascia that have become painfully tight over time, relaxing them back into their normal posture.

Book a Massage Now

You can hire a professional massage therapist from Zeel’s network to use deep tissue massage to break up the scar tissue caused by chronic inflammation and loosen up the fibrous tissue band, allowing it to return to its natural shape.

To massage the area yourself, you can use a rolling pin, baseball, or tennis ball on the sole of your foot to roll out the plantar fascia, gradually applying more pressure once it’s tolerable. Do this self-massage with a bare or stocking foot twice a day for 1 to 3 minutes at a time.

If you want a professional to massage your plantar fasciitis using deep tissue techniques, you can schedule a massage with a massage therapist in Zeel’s network.

3. Strengthen The Structure Of The Foot

When plantar fasciitis strikes, the fibrous band of tissue has been stretched so taught that it weakens over time, so building back up strength in the base of the foot and lower leg is crucial to gaining back your foot health.

Stretching the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon will help to strengthen the lower leg muscles, which stabilize the foot and heel.

You can stretch your calves and the bottom of your foot with nothing more than a wall and an open space to stand. Stand with your foot directly in front of the wall with your shoe off. Face the wall and place the toes of one foot on the wall with the heel on the ground and lean slightly forward, toward the wall. The ball of the foot should be on the wall, an inch or so off the ground, and you’ll feel a gentle stretch across the bottom of the foot. Hold the stretch for ten to twenty seconds and then switch to the other foot.

Building up this strength in the foot again will take time, and should be done by gentle stretching along with the adjustments to footwear and consistent deep tissue massage.

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Tags: deep massage, home massage, plantar fasciitis

Balls for plantar fasciitis

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