This simple morning routine can help you minimize heel pain and shorten your recovery time — but you need to do it before you get out of bed
If you suffer from foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis, you’ll be relieved to know it’s a relatively common condition that will frequently resolve with home treatment. Keep in mind, there is no miracle cure or quick fix (that’s the bad news), but there are some therapeutic measures you can take to reduce the duration of this painful condition and minimize the pain.
For best results, many podiatrists and physical therapists recommend getting started first thing in the morning, before you even get out of bed. After several hours of inactivity, you want to avoid putting a lot of stress on your plantar fascia without “warming up” the ligament first.
So, before you get out of bed, here is your new modus operandi:
1. Toe Stretch
Using your fingers, pull your toes back toward your shin and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to four times.
2. Arch Massage
Use your thumbs or knuckles to give your arch a massage for a minute or two. Work in a circular motion or, starting with both thumbs in the center of your foot, massage in a splayed (outward) direction.
3. Calf Stretch
Because they’re connected via the Achilles tendon, if your calf muscle is tight, the plantar fascia also tightens. So, to stretch the calf muscle, place a belt (or strap or towel) around the ball of your foot, straighten your leg, and then pull your foot toward you for 30 to 60 seconds.
4. Put your shoes on
One last thing to do before you get out of bed and take your first steps: put your shoes on. Spare your plantar fascia the extra strain of walking barefoot by keeping a pair of shoes (not slippers) next to the bed and slipping them on when you get out of bed.
After you get out of bed, here are a few tips for managing pain if it persists throughout the day:
Wear your shoes as much as possible
Buy a pair of insoles that provides better arch support
Repeat the above exercises few times a day
Use an icepack on your heel for about 15 minutes
If home treatment hasn’t adequately relieved your plantar fasciitis pain, make an appointment to see an orthopedic specialist or podiatric surgeon to rule out a different cause of heel pain and discuss other treatment options such as a therapeutic injection, night splint, dry needling, physical therapy, or surgery.