Plantar fasciitis, better known as the “runner’s heel” is a seriously painful condition that affects the heel and arch of the foot and usually occurs after prolonged running or standing, but frequently happens in people who are morbidly overweight as well.
The sharp, stabbing pain associated with this disorder stems from an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the toes. Overuse and overstretching caused by performing activities that place a lot of stress on the heel can easily lead to inflammation in this area. Major risk factors include having high arches, flat feet, a tight Achilles tendon, shoes with soft soles and poor arch support, extreme weight gain and long-distance running. But even if you have some of these risk factors, you can prevent plantar fasciitis by improving the flexibility of the calf muscles and the Achilles’ tendon.
Although the conventional treatment of plantar fasciitis can be long and difficult, there are many ways to speed up the process of healing the damaged tissue. First of all, consider taking a few days to rest and move as little as possible. Second, buy new quality shoes with good arch support that will balance out the pressure placed on your feet. To relieve the pain, you can try some anti-inflammatory medications or opt for natural homemade remedies such as applying ice, salt and honey compresses or potato wraps on the painful area.
And then there’s the most simple yet pretty amazing therapy method you’ve probably haven’t heard of yet and it involves only one tennis ball. To perform it, simply seat in a chair, place the arch of your foot on a tennis ball on the ground and roll it back and forth. After you regain some of the flexibility and most of the pain goes away, you can switch to a standing position. This exercise is meant to relax the tightened plantar fascia tissue and relieve pain and discomfort, and has proven to be extremely effective in most cases of plantar fasciitis.
For a more detailed account of the tennis ball exercise, check out this video:
After your foot heals, make sure to reduce the physical activities that have caused this condition in the first place and protect your feet from injury. Lose some weight, work on increasing the strength and flexibility of your feet, buy the right shoes or change your exercise routine. Foot-related problems are painful and can easily affect your overall health and fitness, so if you really want to feel and look your best, never overlook the importance of keeping your feet healthy.