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  • Writer's pictureJannalee Edgar

The Do’s and Don’t of Plantar Fasciitis: Physiotherapy point of view

First Hand Experience from a Physiotherapist

plantar fasciitis physiotherapy

As I’m currently writing on this blog, it’s hitting close to home. I have self diagnosed my sore foot as plantar fasciitis. It started earlier this week. When I got out of bed, I got sharp shooting pain into my heel with my first few steps. This is a classic presentation of plantar fasciitis: pain in the morning over the heel as you take your first few steps. Other classic signs that I had that matched plantar fasciitis include: pain increased being barefoot, pain was always there BUT pain got worse with walking/running and my calves were really really tight.

Here are some do's and don'ts of plantar fasciitis as I am personally trying to navigate my own recovery.

Side note: physiotherapists make the worst patients. I’m going to be sharing some of the “Don’t”s that I have done; even though I know better.

Tip #1 - Footwear

Don't be barefoot when you are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Having the underside of your foot unsupported puts more stress on the plantar fascia causing it to delay healing.

Do wear shoes or supportive footwear at all times: from the time you get out bed to the time you go to sleep. Running shoes or even Birkenstocks are suggested.

Don't wear flip-flops or your big bunny fuzzy slippers. I love being barefoot, especially in the summer. My first few days I continued to be barefoot and hobble around. Didn’t help my recovery.

Tip #2 - Modify

Don't try and push through the pain by continuing to do your recreational hobbies without modification. I personally continued to run when I felt the symptoms. Needless to say the following day the pain was twice as bad.

Do continue to be active but modify. Example: instead of walking or running, which has a lot of force through that plantar fascia; decide to go for a bike ride or a swim instead. Biking and swimming are lower impact activities = better for your sore foot. If you do not have access to a pool or a bike, you can continue to walk but at a shorter distance or time.

""Don't try and push through the pain....I personally continued to run when I felt the symptoms. Needless to say the following day the pain was twice as bad." – Jannalee

Tip #3 - Support

Do provide support to your arch. This can look in a variety of different ways. This may be buying a soft orthotic such as a Dr Scholl's to put into your shoes or it may be taping the arch as shown in the video that is going to be posted. Don't wear Footwear that is unsupportive. As given in the examples earlier, fuzzy slippers, flip-flops, or Crocs are not good footwear while managing plantar fasciitis. Looking back at when my plantar fasciitis started, I was wearing sandals to work every day during the heatwave. They were not very supportive. Even though I started to feel the symptoms, I continued to wear my sandals. But as soon as I switched my footwear to running shoes with a soft orthotic; my pain throughout the day diminished.

Tip #4 - Ice

Do ice the bottom of your foot. What I would recommend is freezing a water bottle and rolling the bottom of the foot with the frozen water bottle. This provides not only an analgesic effect with the cold ice, but it helps massage that connective tissue.

Tip #5 - Take Action

Do stretch your calf muscles. This is one of the common culprits to plantar fasciitis. There are a variety of different ways of stretching your calf muscle and all will work. One of my favorites is to long sit (sitting on your bum with your legs straight out in front of you) with a towel anchored underneath your heel. Take the long edge of the towel and bring it over the toes. Gently pull towards yourself. Holding that position for 20 to 30 seconds, 2 to 4 times.

I hope that you have learned from my mistakes and my misery. 🙂 Plantar fasciitis is a condition that is easily treated if intervention starts early. If it is not, it can be something that can affect your entire summer.

If you need a hand managing your plantar fasciitis, book today.

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