Pain in the heel can make going about your day-to-day life difficult. Most heel pain can be attributed to plantar fasciitis. This is when the plantar fascia (a thick band of tissue that acts as a shock absorber) becomes damaged. Small tears can develop which cause the plantar fascia to thicken and hurt.
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition, and is regularly found in people who run often, and adults aged between 40 and 60. It is likely to occur through gradual wear and tear, or sudden impact damage, often from exercise.
Pain is often at its worst after waking up in the morning, or when taking a few steps after a period of inactivity. Walking can help to reduce the pain, but after extended periods of walking or standing pain can get worse again.
Here are some of our favourite tips for preventing and treating plantar fasciitis:
- Healthy Weight
Keeping your body weight down to a manageable, healthy level will keep your lower body from having to carry more than it’s designed to, and should minimise damage.
Wearing appropriate footwear will help keep your feet healthy and avoid problems. Wearing high heels all week may damage your heel. If you run regularly you should replace your shoes regularly. Avoid walking barefoot on hard ground too often. Try to wear shoes with enough cushioning and support.
Rest the foot that is causing you issues when possible. Avoid standing for extended periods or walking long distances.
- Pain relief
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can reduce pain. Applying an ice pack to thee heel may also reduce inflammation.
Stretching exercises should help relieve pain and improve flexibility in the affected foot. These exercises should stretch both your calf muscles and the foot arch. One such stretch involves looping a long towel around your foot and using it to pull your toes towards your body, while keeping your knee straight. Rolling the arch of your foot over a round object, such as a tennis ball, can also be effective.
- Footwear and Insoles
Avoid wearing flat-soled shoes that offer little support to your heels and arches. Using orthoses (insoles that support the foot and heel) can help to reduce recovery time.
- Strapping and support
Strapping your heel using sports strapping tape can relieve the pressure. Your doctor can show you how to apply the tape. It can be easier to use a compression sock or sleeve which will offer the heel extra support.
In rare cases where plantar fasciitis persists, surgery may be required. Plantar release surgery involves cutting the fascia to reduce the tension.
For more information about the ionocore® Foot & Ankle Copper Compression Sleeve for plantar fasciitis, click here.
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