Plantar fasciitis is currently one of the most common heel affections leading to painful sensations. It can affect one heel or both of them. The name is self-explanatory – it affects some ligaments known as plantar fascia. Their main role is to absorb shocks from walking, running, jogging or even standing up. When these ligaments get inflamed, they become painful whenever a shock occurs. If overlooked for too long, this problem may interact with your everyday activities – you will barely be able to drive or walk in work, not to mention walking around your house. What options do you have then?
Insoles come in a plethora of varieties. Some of them are basic and can be purchased for less than a takeaway coffee – needless to say those are useless. There are also general insoles made for comfort and extra cushioning, as well as more professional insoles. Often referred to as orthotic insoles, they are practically made with medicinal purposes. If the situation is too severe, they will have to be custom made according to the patient’s problem. Ideally, you should avoid getting there and act as quickly as you realize you have a problem.
Orthotic insoles for plantar fasciitis have the primary role to evenly distribute your bodyweight over the entire surface of your feet. The weight is no longer going on the heel only, but it also spreads towards your toes and over the arch. The treatment may take anywhere between a few weeks and a few months – it depends on how severe the situation is. However, it will not work by itself. While orthotic insoles can work wonders in the long run, they need to be mixed with times of rest. You need to put less pressure on your heels until the affection is healed.
Supportive shoes are those special shoes with thick soles. They look a bit funny and they seem more suitable to those who are short. Soles are supposed to be extremely comfortable, but they should also come with arch support. The heel should be kept down, so the pressure is transferred to other parts of the foot. This kind of construction supports your plantar fascia, not to mention preventing and treating inflammations. Are they worth it? Yes. Are they better than orthotic insoles? No.
Orthotic insoles come with several advantages. For example, they can be moved from one pair of shoes to another. After all, chances are you use more pairs – work, jogging, everyday, elegant events and so on. Besides, you do not feel like going to work or attending an elegant event wearing some shoes that look like running shoes, do you? Insoles are not just more convenient, but they also give you some extra freedom. They will save you money in the long run too, as you will not need more pairs of shoes to support the heel. All you will have to do is take the insoles out of your current shoes and put them in another paid.
Compression socks are relatively new when compared to orthotic insoles. They represent a new trend, yet they are just as common in the medical world and not only. They look like real socks, only they do not really cover the toes. Instead, they provide support for the arch and heel. Some models are more advanced than others. Doc socks, for example, provide support in seven different areas, which are clearly marked. You can wear them under your shoes or you can put some regular socks on top of them – whatever feels more convenient.
Lavender essential oil is known all over the world for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in aromatherapy and aims to soothe affected areas. When applied directly on the skin, it can make a good alternative treatment against inflammations and heel issues make no exception either.
You do not need a medical prescription for it because it is not medication. Instead, just dilute a couple of drops in a carrier oil. You can use coconut oil, yet olive oil is just as handy. Mix them together and apply the content on the affected areas. A warm foot bath would also benefit from a few drops.
Stretching is one of the most common exercises to annihilate the annoying heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. You do not have to do it too vigorously though. Remember, parts of your heel are inflamed and injured. Doing it too harshly will aggravate the condition. Instead, keep it soft and gentle.
Your massage should cover the arch of the foot, as well as the calf. Gently stretch from the arch, go around the heel with both hands and target the calf from both sides.
Massages are just as important against plantar fasciitis. Ideally, you should enhance your massage with a few drops of lavender essential oil if you have any. Other than that, even a dry massage will do the trick. They must be performed as often as possible – up to a few times a day. Try to focus on the arches and heels of your feet and go with your thumbs only. Arches can also be massaged with a small golf ball. Simply sit down on a chair or armchair, put a golf ball under your foot and roll it over back and forth.
Other common ideas to be applied in the treatment for heel pain include ice applications (ice massages are also welcome) and plenty of rest. Rest is essential, as you basically try to eliminate the cause of this inflammation. Moreover, maintaining a healthy weight would also reduce the tension and pressure on your heels.
In the end, none of these therapies will work by itself, as you have to use them in a cocktail of ideas to cure the inflammation. Rest as much as you can, but also use some insoles and compression socks. Massage your feet a few times a day, but use some lavender essential oil too.
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