Plantar fasciitis? A few ideas.

Amid my sixth and most foolish soccer career at age 44 (indoor, over-30 coed, more challenging than it sounds), I’ve pounded my feet into plantar fasciitis twice now, joining Antonio Gates, Ty Lawson and untold legions of middle-agers (not to be confused with medieval individuals) limping around. By the second time I knew a lot more about PF. Bottom line is, it’s going to totally heal at its own pace, by and large, but you can sharply speed the pace of healing and return to action faster/with discomfort rather than knifing pain by doing a few things.

ADAM graphic of plantar fasciitis

If you can actually see into your foot like this, you should seek expert medical attention.

1) First, my sense is that a lot of plantar fasciitis has nothing to do with pronation/genetic arch deficiencies/obesity etc., but rather exceptional foot pounding via poor shoes or just hard play on a non-soft surface. Age heightens susceptibility, clearly. But it’s essentially an impact injury for most of us. So pick up some gel heel cups. I have ones I bought in the checkout aisle at Dick’s Sporting Goods, which have a somewhat taller back lip so they don’t move (I use these playing soccer and I have a pair in my running shoes). Dr. Scholls has offerings at every drugstore.

2) The Foot Wheel is a good thing to have under your desk – boosts blood flow and actually makes for the best foot massager you’ll ever own also. (The same company also makes The Stick, which has quietly become recovery mainstay among runners  and even the Colorado Mammoth pro lacrosse team, in whose trainer bags I spotted a bunch as they practiced recently at our indoor soccer arena).

3) I have a night splint I wear after some soccer games if there’s particular pain, and I wore it often in the early phases of injury. Often take it off by about 2 a.m., but it seems that the early-sleep stretching is sufficient  to erase morning pain.

4) I stretch both calves before I take a step in the morning (arms on bed, feet on floor). This isn’t necessary, by the way, if you sleep with the night splint on.

5) I bought these velcro-loop arch supports and use on the PF foot, currently the left, when I run or play soccer.

6) I picked up these non-soft quasi arch supports from Heel That Pain and had them in my work/walking shoes for a while, and they did seem to help by essentially shifting the pressure point of your step to a spot a bit in front of the heel. Despite Jason Kidd and John Starks having apparently played pro basketball in them, I’d advise against running in these — I mildly sprained the opposite foot (had both in for symmetry) because of the way they changed pressure distribution.

7) Finally, and I highly recommend spending nine minutes with this video – of myofascial release massage. This is a really good explanation/approach among a whole bunch of noise out there. I lotion the bottom of the foot and use my index knuckle, pressing harder than Dr. Richard Perez of Alamo Family Foot Care demonstrates. Talking to people who have done actual massage therapy with actual masseuses/physical therapists, the pros work it until it hurts. That’s because the plantar fascia is a beast of a tendon to influence. But you knew that already.

10 Comments

  • Orthotics Columbus Ohio Posted May 29, 2013 2:21 pm

    These are great tips – as anyone with plantar fasciitis can attest, it is extremely painful. Anything that can be done to prevent it should definitely be considered. Proper footwear should be especially important – finding the right kind of shoes goes a long, long way in preventing it.

  • Michael Garrett Posted June 23, 2013 5:07 pm

    great tips… thanks for sharing… But I guess, if you wish to have a permanent relief, then you should go and look for the appropriate treatment. A lot of plantar fasciitis sufferers recommend physical therapy, so I scheduled an appointment with a physical therapist. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me… I had 2 chiro sessions but I didn’t like it as well… one of my tennis buddies, Tom, advised me that I should go and have a stem cell treatment, which I had with Dr Grossman for 3 weeks. The treatment was fine and 4 weeks later, my right foot went back to normal.. so as my life.

  • Donnie Hoelscher Posted July 1, 2013 9:18 am

    Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight, women who are pregnant and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis. *.*’

    Our internet site <http://healthmedicinejournal.com/

  • Stephanie Posted July 12, 2013 3:04 pm

    Plantar Fascitis is incredibly painful. The body is an incredible machine that can heal and I have found a blood flow stimulation therapy foot wrap that helps the body achieve healing in an shorter and more effective timeframe. This condition can take many months to heal but when high quality (highly oxygenated blood and nutrient rich blood) can be concentrated into the foot site of the plantar fascia, the healing by the body is incredible! It is a proven fact that the body heals better when there is this ideal healing environment and these wraps are what the foot needs to get the healing done. The other wrap that is available with King Brand is the ColdCure wrap. the gel packs that come with this foot wrap are extraordinary. When placed into the wrap and snugged around the foot, the gel will mould to the shape of the foot thereby the plantar has consistent cold compression treatment from behind the heel along the sole of the foot!
    Check out http://www.kingbrand.com/Plantar_Fasciitis_Treatment.php?REF=24PV1 for an abundance of information on this condition and the natural healing powers of the wraps.

  • Foot Pain Causes Posted December 9, 2013 2:29 am

    Great Tips and recommendations! I personally believe that RICE, stretching exercises and PF taping are the best treatments for people with Plantar Fasciitis.

  • Davis Thorpe Posted October 21, 2015 10:14 am

    I tend to find that most plantar fasciitis sufferers tend to over-focus on suppressing inflammation vs addressing the real cause of the condition – that being breakdown of the fascia tissue and the resulting scar tissue type build up.

    The constant pounding on the feet as Todd noted leads to stressful conditions for the fascia and surrounding tissue. As a result, the tissue breaks down from the micro-trauma suffered over time.

    Icing is fine when used as needed. Ultimately, one needs to enhance blood flow to that injured tissue in order to facilitate the growth of new healthy collagen – and this is where the ultimate treatment focus should be.

    A combination of physical therapy and use of a home blood flow enhancement device should do the trick. One device our clients use is the Plantar Inferno Wrap from a company called MendMeShop.

  • Leona Posted January 23, 2016 9:24 am

    great. 1 again thank the author…

  • David Leon Posted March 2, 2016 8:42 pm

    Great article and suggestions for those who are looking for alternative ideas to traditional treatments (like rest and ice). I agree with Todd’s approach wholeheartedly (with the exception of Night Splints – in my case, too cumbersome).

    In dealing with relatively on-going battles against plantar fascitiis, I found calf stretching to be critical for me – especially in the morning and before bed.

    As noted above, I tried night splints – couldn’t stand the feel of them. As an alternative, I ended up purchasing the Inferno Plantar Wrap (the same device referenced in a few of the comments here). Seems to help keep the tissue more loose and easier with those first morning steps (used before I stretch). I am hopeful it also helps in the remodeling phase of the injured tissue. It will take time – but I must remain committed I suppose.

  • Kelsey Posted April 3, 2016 7:32 am

    Thanks so much for giving us an extremely useful article. In fact, everybody all knows that once we get PF, we have to be persistent to struggle with it due to the fact that its symptoms and consequences might be very long-lasting. If we don’t have taken some physical exercises as treatment, we might unconsciously provide it with some opportunities to grow faster and faster. According to my own experience, I think that we should continue training or have a job/sport that demands prolonged walking or standing because it does play a very important role in minimizing the stresses on the heels.

    • Lawrence Posted November 9, 2016 11:32 am

      You stated something that makes no sense to me: “I think that we should continue training or have a job/sport that demands prolonged walking or standing because it does play a very important role in minimizing the stresses on the heels.”—-Would you elaborate how standing/ which stressing the structure of the foot minimizes the stresses on the heel”? Thanks.

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