8 Home Remedies For Treating Plantar
Plantar fasciitis present with pain and discomfort involving inferior aspect of heel. Fairly common in athletes, runners or dancers, this disabling condition responds well to plantar fasciitis home remedies, along with lifestyle modification and changes in the activity levels.
Introduction To Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fascia is the thick band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your feet, connecting the toes and heel for better support during locomotion. Any injury, trauma or disease process involving plantar fascia may presents with pain and discomfort that directly interferes with normal daily activities like jumping, running or even walking. Plantar fasciitis home remedies can relief the pain in most cases without requiring medical or surgical treatments.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Inflammatory processes involving plantar fascia is referred to as plantar fasciitis in more scientific terms. According to research report published in the renowned and peer reviewed New England Journal of Medicine, author Rachelle Buchbinder (1) suggested that plantar fasciitis is indeed the most common cause of heel pain and difficulty in walking. He reported that almost 11 to 15% of all cases of foot pain and discomfort that require professional help are attributed to plantar fasciitis. According to the report published in the scientific journal Alternative Medicine Review (2), the author suggested that 80% cases of plantar fasciitis resolve spontaneously within a period of 12 months by plantar fasciitis home remedies and lifestyle modifications alone without requiring any other medical treatments.
What Are Some Common Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a slowly developing connective tissue condition that present with pain and discomfort. Plantar fasciitis is characterized by the following signs and symptoms:
- Difficulty in walking or standing due to severe pain in heel after long periods of inactivity (pain aggravates after taking first few steps after prolonged period of rest).
- Wobbling or limping of affected limb.
- Involvement of one limb in most cases (however bilateral cases or involvement of both limbs have also been reported).
- Aggravation of pain after brief weight-bearing activities.
- Diffuse pain of plantar fasciitis may become localized to involve primarily medial calcaneal tuberosity (inferior aspect of heel).
- In some cases, other features of acute inflammation are also reported besides pain like swelling, warmth and redness of involved heel.
- Stiffness in the heel after periods of inactivity.
8 Causes Of Plantar Fasciitis
Wear and tear as a result of pressure or over-use of plantar muscles and tendons is the leading cause of plantar fasciitis. The most common risk factors that are associated with plantar fasciitis are:
- Athletes especially runners. Among all the injuries that are reported in professional runners, 10% are attributed to plantar fasciitis (1). Other recreational activities or exercises that may cause plantar fasciitis are aerobics, ballet dancing or any other activity that poses stress or strain on pedal tissues.
- Certain occupational activities that require extensive work of foot (dynamic physical activities like military personnel or field workers who wear certain type of boots).
- Over-weight or obese individuals with a body mass index of more than 28 kg/m2.
- Physiological conditions like pregnancy that causes aggravated wear and tear of body tissues due to sudden weight gain.
- Choice of wrong foot wear (ill-fitting, wrong size or shoes with poor arch support).
- Advanced age and degenerative bone conditions are very closely associated with the pathogenesis of plantar fasciitis. Most cases are reported in patients between 40 to 60 years.
- Certain genetic or foot problems that affect walking or running, like high arches or flat-foot are also known risk factors that pose excessive stress and strain on the feet.
- Improper or abnormal walking pattern (like walking with feet inverted).
8 Home Remedies For Treating Plantar Fasciitis
In order to improve your foot health and to reduce the pain or inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis, it is strongly recommended to seek the help of a doctor. However, you can also benefit from a variety of plantar fasciitis home remedies to enhance recovery and healing on your own.
- Limiting all the activities from feet that may aggravate pain or discomfort. Make sure to perform strengthening and stretching exercises at periodic intervals to minimize the strain. You can apply bandage on your feet to better support the connective tissues of heel.
- Seek the help of a podiatrist in order to learn more about the right choice of foot wear that can better support your arches and feet muscles. You can also get benefit from a variety of foot orthotics (the rubber, plastic or felt synthetic foot inserts that support your feet and minimize the direct trauma or pressure).
- Ice packs are helpful in acute pain due to inflammation. You can also soak your feet in hot water and cold water alternately to decrease the intensity of symptoms.
- Consume healthy foods to ensure steady weight loss if your body mass index is above 25 kg/ m2.
- Make sure to use night splints that are helpful in stretching the plantar fascia and tendons of your leg and feet. In addition, avoid walking bare-foot or on hard surfaces.
- If you are an athlete or runner, modify your practice or training sessions. Make sure to avoid uneven or hard surfaces for running and replace your running shoes at intervals.
- If you are experiencing acute pain or discomfort, using non- steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, aspirin or similar agents helps in symptomatic relief. Otherwise, if you have a history of peptic ulcer, gastro- esophageal disease or similar disorders that may aggravate by the use of NSAIDs, you can apply soothing ointments and anti- inflammatory creams to lessen the pain. In severe cases when pain is not responding to other pain remedies, corticosteroid injections are usually advised.
- Until the acute symptoms of pain and inflammation are healed completely, you can take up low impact exercises like swimming or yoga. You can also seek the assistance of a physical therapist to know more about the stretching exercises that especially aim at relaxation of arches and tendons supporting leg and feet.
Other management options include acupuncture, magnetic insoles and extracorporeal shockwave therapy. Generally, surgical options are employed in individuals who do not respond to conservative therapies for a period of 12 months.
What not to do if you have plantar fasciitis?
Though there are many other home remedies that may prove effective in aborting the symptoms of acute inflammatory processes that involve other systems or tissues, these same remedies may worsen the symptoms of plantar fasciitis worse. For example, using hot water baths for plantar fasciitis may aggravate the pain and discomfort due to the increased blood circulation in the inflamed region. In addition,
- Avoid excessive steroid or pain relief local injectable agents due to risk of infection, fat necrosis and aggravated degeneration of plantar fascia and tendons.
- Avoid exercises that exert pressure on your heel directly.
If you have doubts in any other home remedies or have find that the pain is getting worse after trying out the natural pain relief methods, consult your doctor immediately. Remember, when come to home remedies for plantar fasciitis, different individuals may not achieve the same results due to the different underlying causes and other factors.
Best Dietary Supplements For Plantar Fasciitis
According to Mario Roxas (2) consuming a diet rich in healthy vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc and calcium can improve the healing process and decrease inflammation. Recommended daily dosage of 15- 30 mg zinc is required for optimal wound healing and anti- inflammatory activities. In addition, vitamin C and zinc are required for over 300 biological reactions as co- factor or enzymatic support (5).
You can also consume fish oil that is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (BPA) and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (helpful in reducing pain and inflammation symptoms). Research conducted by JM Kremer (6) on 49 patients with inflammatory joint disorders indicated that regular consumption of fish oil decreases the intensity and frequency of pain, joint stiffness and inflammatory swelling of joints as compared to placebo group.
Typically, consuming supplemental forms of glucosamine sulfate and bromelain is effective in improving the health of the joints and tissues. In fact, several clinical studies had indicated that bromelain helps in reducing inflammatory swelling and releasing of pain mediators, thereby improving the symptoms of plantar fasciitis at rest and even with activities (3). Bromelain exert its action by interrupting the production of bradykinin, fibrin formation and plasma kallikrein (4).
Though plantar fasciitis home remedies are effective in pain management and relieving the symptoms, the recovery process is rather slow. Generally, healing is normally noticeable within a few weeks or more. However, if you experience worsening of the symptoms or no change in the intensity of pain or frequency of pain attacks for a period of 6 months, you should seek professional help.