Since plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain, it is likely to be the cause for the pain in the heel of your foot. Simply put, plantar fasciitis is the inflammation or injury to the plantar fascia. This ligament, or foot band of tissue, is responsible for connecting your heel to the bones of your toes. When this ligament is strained, it can cause pain and inflammation to the band of tissue and result in heel pain.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis
This type of foot pain is common in middle-aged people as well as those who have to stand, walk, or run on hard surfaces over long periods. People such as athletes, nurses, factory workers, soldiers, and others often suffer from plantar fasciitis. In addition, if you have high arches or tight calf muscles, you could also be susceptible to inflammation of the plantar fascia.
What are the Symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain and stiffness in the bottom of your foot, primarily the heel. Any type of strain or injury to this band of tissues can cause weakness, swelling, inflammation or pain in the plantar fascia. It can occur in only one of both of your feet. Often the strain on the ligament is built up over years before symptoms are noticeable.
If you have plantar fasciitis you will probably notice the pain often in the morning, when you first wake up and start making the first steps of the day; bearing weight on your foot. You may also have symptoms of heel pain when you first get up after sitting for an extended period as well. Some people, on the other hand, may or may not have these symptoms. Your heel pain may occur after walking or standing for long periods, especially on a hard surface, or when climbing stairs. Unfortunately, some people with plantar fasciitis experience heel pain during all of these different types of activities.
What you Can Do to Reduce Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Like most other medical conditions involving pain, no one treatment will work for every person. For this reason, you may have to try several different treatment options for plantar fasciitis before you find the one that works best for you. You can reduce the pain and discomfort by doing the following:
- Rest your feet as much as possible, especially after standing or walking for long periods of time
- Do activities that are known to cause heel pain in moderation, attempt to eliminate the source of excessive strain if possible
- Limit standing and walking, especially on hard surfaces, as much as possible
- Apply ice to painful and inflamed heels
- Take over-the-counter pain relieving medication
- Practice toe, calf, and towel stretches; especially in the morning before you get out of bed or before standing after sitting
- Buy a new pair of shoes. Shoes with arch support and cushioned heels are best
Typically, surgery is not required to treat plantar fasciitis unless all other treatment options have been exhausted. You should understand that most cases of plantar fasciitis are caused by years of wear and tear on the ligament and a complete recovery is often not feasible. You may notice that complete pain relief is not found, regardless of the treatments put into place. It could possibly take weeks or months before the pain is reduced enough to make a difference in your daily life.
It is important that you stick to the treatment options you discussed with your doctor. You should contact your doctor if you feel like the treatments are not working. It will be at this time your doctor can discuss other methods to try, or discuss more intensive treatments for plantar fasciitis.
Your family care doctor can often diagnose plantar fasciitis, or he will refer you to a podiatrist or orthopedist. Pain in your feet that occurs primarily at night is likely not plantar fasciitis and is likely due to arthritis or tarsal tunnel syndrome. Notify your doctor immediately if you have fever associated with pain in your heel.
Alternative Remedies for Foot Pain
Reports show that four out of every five adults will experience foot pain. Foot pain is a very common complaint among many adults, and for some, it is a chronic condition. The pain is generally moderate and does not require the use of narcotic pain relievers.
You should attempt to avoid taking over-the-counter pain medications as well since the risk of adverse reactions is often not worth the benefit. This is especially true considering there are several alternative remedies for foot pain that do not require taking medication.
Soak Your Feet in Epsom Salt to Naturally Reduce Pain
Epsom salt, which contains hydrolyzed crystals of magnesium sulfate, is a home remedy for many ailments. Epsom salt foot soaks for your foot pain has been a go-to for many people for generations. The heat and water help to stimulate the ingredients of Epsom salt to not only relieve pain and inflammation in your feet, but they also help to soften the skin of your soles. This process can dry out your feet so it is best to apply a moisturizing lotion afterward.
Foot Pain Relief with a Vinegar Water Wrap
Vinegar is known to help alleviate pain and inflammation in your feet. A hot and cold-water wrap can do wonders for your foot pain. Simply mix equal parts of water and vinegar. Use as hot of water as you can stand that will not burn your feet. Soak a towel in this mixture, wring it out, and then apply to your feet for about 5 minutes. Once the towel has cooled down, dip it in a cold mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Apply to your feet for about 5 minutes and then repeat again with the hot mixture.
Using Sage to Alleviate Foot Pain
Sage leaves can be used to help you reduce the pain and swelling in your feet. Simply bruise the sage leaves (rubbing them together in the palm of your bands to release the curative chemicals). Place the bruised sage leaves in a pan with 2/3 cup of vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Heat this to a simmering boil. Place a towel in the mixture and then apply to your feet. Try to use the towel as hot as possible without burning your feet.
Simply Soak in Water
If varicose veins cause your foot pain, one of the best alternative remedies for foot pain is to simply soak your feet in hot water. The trick to making this simple remedy work is to soak your feet in hot water for a couple of minutes, then alternate to cold water for about fifteen seconds. Repeat this process for about 15 minutes and you should notice not only pain relief, but also a reduction in varicose veins as a whole.
Eating your Way to Less Foot Pain
Often times foot pain is caused by swelling of your lower extremities due to an imbalance of fluid in your body. You may have too much fluid in your body and the best way to obtain a proper fluid balance is to eat properly. Foods high in potassium help your body to get rid of excess fluid. Coffee and tea are natural diuretics that also work to help you eliminate excess fluid and reduce foot swelling. Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet is also a great way to stop your feet from swelling and causing pain.
Other alternative remedies for foot pain are also available. If you do not have issues with circulation, applying ice can help to relieve foot pain. Propping your feet up after a long day of standing on them also will help to relieve pressure and promote circulation. For some people, wearing the wrong size and fit of shoes could be the culprit of their foot pain. Try wearing shoes with arch supports and cushioned soles. Your feet are designed to last a lifetime and will, if you take care of them.