Spring days are made for hiking and pickleball, yet many of us suffer from foot pain, which keeps us from being able to enjoy our favorite activities. Going for a leisurely walk in the springtime sun turns from relaxing to grueling when you’re experiencing discomfort and pain in your feet. One top cause: plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the plantar fascia (connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot) becomes inflamed and causes sharp heel and arch pain. Good news: You don’t have to live with constant foot pain. This daily routine can help, and it’s super simple to boot. Ready to feel better? Time to put the spring back in your step!
First Thing: Do A Bed Stretch
The first steps you take daily are the most painful since the fascia tighten as you sleep. Talk about starting your day on the wrong foot. The fix? Stretch when you wake up. Sit on the edge of the bed and place your right ankle over your left knee. Pull the toes of your right foot toward your shin until you feel a light stretch. Hold for 10 seconds; repeat 10 times. Then do the opposite foot. A randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery suggests that when done daily, stretching eases pain for many people. And two years later, most participants said their plantar fasciitis had been cured or nearly cured.
During The Day: Walk This Way
Custom orthotics are docs’ go-to for treating heel pain. But they can cost up to $800! At that price point, the pain just migrates to your wallet. Before you revisit your budget to allow for expensive orthotics, consider this: You may not need to drop a grand to get results and feel better. A review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that inexpensive drugstore orthotic shoe inserts block pain just as effectively as bespoke shoe inserts made by a doctor. By supporting the arch while cushioning inflamed fascia, the inserts allow tissues to heal while you stroll. Want some insoles for yourself? Try Walk-Hero Plantar Fasciitis Orthotic Inserts. And if your feet tend to hurt at the end of the day, click through for tips on how to stop feet from hurting after standing all day.
Before Bed: Roll on Cold
Getting cold feet can be a good thing — at least when it comes to reducing plantar fasciitis pain. In the morning, stick a round, plastic water bottle in the freezer. As you kick back to read or watch TV in the evening, grab that frozen water bottle from earlier and roll it back and forth on the floor under your foot, focusing on the heel and arch. The cold may feel uncomfortable at first, but stick with it, because it will help ease your pain in the long run. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Research on Foot & Ankle shows that doing this for 20 minutes reduces next-day pain significantly. In fact, cold before bed offered the greatest reduction in next-day pain of any method the researchers tested, even shrinking the thickness of the inflamed plantar fasciitis connective tissue.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.