Foot and heel pain is a very common complaint among athletes and non-athletes alike. While there are several conditions that can cause foot and heel pain (such as fat pad syndrome or tarsal tunnel syndrome), plantar fasciitis is by far the most common cause of heel pain. Symptoms usually start suddenly, often occur after a rapid increase in activity and are felt as a stabbing pain on the bottom or side of the heel, or as a sensation of tenderness or tightness along the arch.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue at the bottom of your foot that runs from your heel to your toes and supports your arch and absorbs shock. This tissue can become inflamed or degenerate with repetitive weight-bearing activities.
Symptoms are usually at worst when taking the first few steps after awakening, or when standing up after prolonged sitting. Usually pain decreases as your body warms up, but then increases again after prolonged standing, walking barefoot or in shoes with poor support, or after an intense weight-bearing activity such as running or stair-climbing.
Standing Calf Stretch – hold stretch 30 seconds, 2 repetitions, twice a day
If the standing ankle stretch is too uncomfortable, try the seated alternative below.
Seated towel or belt stretch-hold stretch 30 to 60 seconds, 2 repetitions, twice a day
Plantar Fascia-Self Stretch-hold stretch 30 seconds, 2 repetitions, twice a day
Plantar Fascia Massage-2 minutes twice a day
Sit on the edge of a bench or a chair. Place a tennis ball or myofascial ball on the ground and place your involved foot on the ball. Apply pressure and run your foot over the ball.
Of course, the best thing is to prevent Plantar Fasciitis in the first place, but if you have developed this condition, it is worthwhile to get it checked out promptly. Most of the time symptoms can be resolved with conservative measures so that you feel better and can get back to the activities you enjoy.