There’s no denying it, plantar fasciitis can be incredibly painful, and it’s super common amongst active people or those who tend to have feet with pronation issues and a lack of an arch. And as someone who has flat feet (like, flat flat!) and who experiences plantar fasciitis flare-ups from time to time, I can tell you that when you are having an episode, it can linger for a while and cause major distress.
Basically, it’s like shooting pains in your feet, especially around your heels, so much so where you can’t even walk without feeling as though you’re walking on pins and needles. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic condition, so if you have it, it will always be there dormant, but it can arise when triggered from stress, such as overtraining or wearing poor-fitting shoes.
It is worst in the morning right upon waking up, since you’ve been in bed for hours and have yet to step on the ground and wake those feet up. And the sensation and pain can last for a few hours, where it gets better as the day progresses, but can really take some time for the adjustment to settle.
It can also feel worse at night sometimes or after sitting down for a longer period of time, such as sitting at a computer to work for a few hours or to sit down to a meal with company. Yet you can work on preventing flare-ups and easing the pain if you do experience one, so you can recover faster. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Wear Comfy Shoes
For starters, don’t wear shoes that are tight or cause pain. Your shoes should fit well to your feet, especially sneakers. If you work out in bad-fitting sneakers, you might get an overuse injury and a plantar fasciitis episode. The same goes for sneakers that are worn out, where they no longer offer enough support for your arch and heels.
Get your feet measured at the gym shoe store to make sure you’re getting the proper size that has enough room and change your shoes regularly based on how often you’re wearing them. You can even get a few pairs and cycle through them as you workout in the week in order to prolong how long they’ll last.
Massage Your Feet Post-Workout
You may grab a foam roller and work through knots in your legs or do some stretches after working out to prevent soreness, but you are likely skimping on that foot care. Take the time to massage your feet after a workout—or even nightly if you like—as you’re sitting on the couch watching a movie, for example.
You can work through with your fingers, get a professional foot massage regularly, or take a tennis ball or foot roller (it targets the arches and the heels) and give yourself 10 or so minutes to bring those tired feet back to life. Doing this as a habit will prevent flare-ups for happening and will speed the recovery when one is present.
Do certain stretches that target the feet and lower body muscles, like the calves, for example, in order to release tension. Aim for a few mini stretching breaks during the day, especially if you’re going to be sitting for a while, as it’ll reduce the pain you’d feel upon standing back up after a long sedentary period.
Do calf stretches by putting your feet up against the wall to feel the burn or by bending a front leg, with hands on the wall, and other leg straight behind to stretch that way, as well.
You can also take a band and wrap it around the arch of your foot, with leg extended straight out as you sit on the ground on a mat, and hold the band in your hands, pulling it towards your body as best as you can.
Take Baths with Epsom Salts
Epsom salts are magnesium based, which is a nutrient that can ease tension and relax the muscles. A warm bath with magnesium or Epsom salts can help your feet feel less tense, and you can take it further and massage your soles while in the tub.
You can eat magnesium dense foods in general too, like nuts and seeds, avocado, and bananas, for example. Blend these foods in a smoothie with Quest’s protein powder—protein also help repair damaged muscles, so staying fueled and well nourished during this time can also help keep your body in better shape and aid in recovery.