As I mentioned in Part 1, before you get started with the Healing Plan I detail in this post, make sure this is what you should be doing.
The Healing Plan in this post gives you simple, easy to do steps you can take to quickly and easily heal your plantar fasciitis at home.
There isn’t a long list of exercises, or lots of equipment to buy, or things to drink, swallow or otherwise absorb. The steps on this list work well if you have acute plantar fasciitis.
If this Healing Plan doesn’t significantly reduce your heel pain in a couple weeks, your fasciitis probably isn’t acute, or you have something else, and I strongly suggest you see a competent heel pain specialist.
Below the Healing Plan are other things you can do if you want.
Follow the Plan diligently for 2 weeks. You should have significantly reduced pain. If you don’t, it’ll be time to see me.
The first 3 steps of this Healing Plan reduce inflammation. The next few help your fascia heal and get back to normal.
The Healing Plan:
1. Doctor’s Orders: Lay Around
Rest. Rest. Rest.
Acute plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition. Reducing inflammation reduces pain, and gives your plantar fascia room to begin healing.
The easiest way to let your plantar fascia calm down is to not use it. Unfortunately (or not) that means you should stay off it as much as you can to give it a rest, at least for a week or two.
The more rest it gets, the better off you’ll be. It may be the most important thing you can do to heal your fasciitis.
This is a perfect time to let anyone else in the household care for you: do the laundry, mow the lawn, peel you grapes.
If you have to move around, a fairly low-cost yet luxury solution is a knee scooter. You can often find them for rent cheaply, at places like this (https://www.used.forsale), or Google “knee scooter rental”. You can buy them too, if you’re so inclined.
The idea here is, if you have to be on your feet, at least be on your feet as little as possible.
If a knee scooter is just not for you and you have to get around for your job, crutches aren’t easy, but they’re cheap and will work. You can find them on Amazon or Walmart for under $30, and have them delivered to you.
After this initial period of rest, you can walk, but take it easy and stay off it as much as you can. No hiking, running, or leaping over tall buildings until your plantar fasciitis is resolved.
2. Ice 10-10-10
Icing your arch shrinks blood vessels, which slows the inflammation process. Slowing inflammation is not harmful, and won’t slow plantar fasciitis healing.
Be forewarned that use of ice and anti-inflammatories will mask pain.Be conscious of that so you don’t re-injure yourself jumping over less-than-tall buildings.
How to Ice: 10-10-10
- Fill a 16 oz. (or so) plastic bottle with water and freeze it
- When frozen, put it on the floor and roll your foot over it from your heel to the ball of your foot. Wear a sock if needed so you don’t freeze your skin.
- You may put some pressure on the bottle while rolling if it feels better to do so.
- Continue icing for about 10 minutes, then off for 10 minutes, then on for 10 minutes. So: 10 on, 10 off, 10 on.
Do this twice a day, more if you want.
3. Use Pain Relievers
As long as you can tolerate them (see Advil and Aleve precautions).
Anti-inflammatories like Advil and Aleve can help reduce pain and inflammation.
4. Stretch Your Plantar Fascia.
75% of patients who faithfully did the stretches shown in the video experienced no further heel pain.
5. Don’t Walk Barefoot for 3 Weeks
Once you’ve rested your foot for a week or two, you can walk on it a bit, though never barefoot, not even in your house, for at least 3 weeks more.
Your fascia needs rest andsupport. Don’t torture it just because you’re home and it isn’t killing you. It’s still injured. It needs support whenever you walk.
Flip flops don’t count as support unless you wear a “supportive” flip flop (Google “support flip flop”). Wear a supportive shoe or supportive flip flop around the house for 3 weeks, minimum.
Of course, if this Healing Plan is working, you should be feeling a whole lot better in 2 weeks. Even so, not walking around barefoot for another 3 weeks will help ensure you don’t undo all the results you’ve gotten so far.
6. Wear Supportive Shoes When You Walk.
Walk around in a shoe that fits well, is sturdy and well cushioned.
You don’t need a “plantar fasciitis shoe”. Every foot is different. Shoes are not, even if they are well-fitting. So, you don’t need a “plantar fasciitis shoe”, just a sturdy one.
What’s a “Sturdy” shoe?
Although “sturdy” is not necessarily code for “ugly shoes ancient people wear”, it is a bit like them. Sorry. Function over form reigns when healing plantar fasciitis.
A sturdy shoe is one that doesn’t bend or twist easily. Pick up any Sketcher-esque type shoe and bend it in half. That’s not a sturdy shoe. Try bending a good hiking boot. Not as easy. The hiking boot has more support.
So, find a sturdy, supportive shoe to wear around for a while.
You can put a cheap cushion-y arch support in a sturdy shoe to have it be a little more of a custom fit.
Which leads to the last step in the Healing Plan:
7. Get a Cheap Arch Support for Your Shoes
Arch supports don’t re-align your foot, but they can take some pressure off the fascia, so can reduce pain in mild, acute cases of plantar fasciitis.
Don’t pay more than $50. Use the support in your sturdy shoes until your fascia is pain free at all time.
Then wear them in all your shoes as a routine. Women can even get an arch support for heels (avoid high heels please; try pumps).
If You Need More: Something Else to Try
Try a Night Splint
Night splints keep your foot flexed at night, which helps prevent that first-step-in-the-morning, awful pain.
Night splints can be very helpful, but not everyone can tolerate them for more than a week or two. Sometimes night splints adversely affect sleeping habits and consequently your life and work productivity.
There are many types; look around on Amazon if you’d like to try one.
You Can Exercise
Exercise is good. While your plantar fascia is healing, you can certainly exercise. Just be aware of your inflamed fascia, and don’t do anything that puts pressure on it.
Here are some you can do:
- Cardio Exercises:
- Swim/Pool Exercises
- Stationary Bike
- Elliptical Training
- Strength and Conditioning Exercises:
- Weight training, sitting only. No weight on your plantar fascia.
- Push ups, pull ups, ab work.
So that’s it. A short list of effective action you can take to heal your acute plantar fasciitis at home.
- Stay off your foot as much as possible for 1-2 weeks.
- Ice it 10-10-10
- Use pain relievers
- Stretch your plantar fascia
- Don’t walk barefoot
- Wear supportive shoes when you walk
- Get a cheap arch support for your shoes
You truly don’t need to do anything else (including eating turmeric or ginger, massage, toe separators, dry cupping, etc.). If this Healing Plan doesn’t work in 2-3 weeks, trying other things probably won’t help.
Prolonging self care beyond 2-3 weeks without a significant decrease in plantar fasciitis pain is ill-advised. The condition can become chronic, and that’s an animal of another, not good, stripe.
So, if this Healing Plan doesn’t work for you in 2-3 weeks, please come see me. We’ll get you back to your life ASAP, without plantar fasciitis pain.
Dr. K.G. Gauntt