Feels Like Stepping on Glass in the Morning? It could be...
Plantar Fasciitis...

So, if you have plantar fasciitis, it's likely that first thing in the morning, or after you've been sitting for a bit it feels like you are stepping on glass on the front of your heel. Frequently plantar fasciitis is a running injury, or overuse injury. If your discomfort is described more as 'arch foot pain', or pain in the tendon attached to the back of your heel, then it may eventually lead to this injury, if you don't loosen up the muscles and connective tissue in your lower leg. All the following 'tactics' will help that as well, if it is caused by the tension in the tendon along the bottom of the foot, or lower leg.

If you are wondering, here's the definition of plantar fasciitis (fash-ee-eye-tis or fash-eye-tis depending on who you're talking to). There can be other causes of pain in foot, including heel spurs, so you may want to look those up too, if you are experiencing this kind of pain. On this page, I share my 'recipe' I used to get rid of mine with only TWO WEEKS of dedicated attention. The sad part is I dealt with it for OVER A YEAR before someone shared the 'recipe' with ME! You wonder while you have plantar fasciitis if it's just going to go away on its own, since your foot/feet feel better once you walk a bit, or get into your run, but then after the run, you sit down for fifteen minutes and you can hardly walk the rest of the day! I tried numerous techniques, until an avid runner of 25+ years shared this effective course of action with me. In the several years since he shared the information with me, we've helped many people, NOT just runners, who had been suffering for years with extreme pain in their feet. Many of them had even paid hundreds of dollars for custom orthotics, had cortisone shots, and were considering SURGERY. I know it's painful, I've been there, but you MAY want to try these non-invasive techniques before someone cuts your foot open, and causes more long-term adhesions and other issues.

In the past month, I have had two clients clinically diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, who shared with me that their orthopedist suggested anti-inflammatory prescriptions and cortisone shots. These may be helpful for some people, but is truly only treating the symptom. Unfortunately, they both tried those tactics, and in both clients they didn't offer them any relief. More often than not, the causes of pain in heel of foot is relieved tremendously with muscle work...so before you get that shot, or start popping the pills, you will want to consider trying these non-invasive strategies.

1) Rigid support inserts in all my shoes, we use an 'over the counter' brand sold at all running stores called Superfeet, this was INCLUDING my slippers. With my plantar fasciitis, if I could keep from walking bare foot or in unsupported shoes, it would allow the tissue on the bottom of my foot to fully 'heal'. (pun intended) Something to keep in mind is that flip-flops, mules and clogs can make this condition much worse...and you may want to consider only wearing them for short periods after you are healed, and not at all while you are working to get rid of the darned aching foot. Please don't send me hate mail for this, my clients never liked to hear it either...I'm just the messenger.

2) Ice everyday, several times a day along the bottom of my foot, especially that part at the front of my heel. Forget the care for plantar fasciitis...if you are a runner, have kids in the house, bump into things, have animals you can trip over in your house, you need to have a cold gel pack you can reuse. Ice in a baggie is nearly impossible to get all the tissue that needs to be iced, without getting every article of clothing or furniture wet every time you have to ice an injury...and using the frozen peas you may accidentally serve guests is just bad form. We keep our cold gel packs in the freezer and use them often! I recently had a client with a really painful case, and when we did some massage and stretching before the icing, it helped a lot. If your cause of pain in heel of foot is plantar fasciitis, the injured tissue between the arch of your froot and the front of your heel may burn a bit when the cold therapy is applied. A rule of thumb with any cold or heat therapy is to limit the time of the application to no more than 15 minutes or so. Normally, about that time, you will have gone through the uncomfortable part of the icing therapy, and the sensation will be slightly diminished. Please let it warm up slowly, and don't jump up from your chair to get back to your day!

3) Stretch, stretch, stretch...we found that stretching the front and back of my leg helped a ton. Just stretching one or the other doesn't make as much of an impact on the plantar fasciitis...but beware it is really difficult to get a stretch in the front muscles around your shin. The stretch I do to really get the calf to stretch is standing like I'm going to walk up the stairs. I stand on a step, facing up the staircase (please use the first step up, in case you lose your balance) and place the ball of one foot on the step, letting my heel drop below the front of my foot. NOTE: Stretching is not a sport of pain. The stretch should always be comfortable. 30-60 seconds is the amount of time we've read over and over to allow the muscle to FINALLY stop contracting. This means that it may take 2 full minutes for your muscles to truly open up, and the connective tissue to stretch. Watch a clock, because 2 minutes feels like FOREVER. Now, a stretching trick you'll want to know when dealing with this sinister foot pain is that there are three muscles in the calf, one will stretch with your leg straight, and the other two important muscles will stretch when you bend your knee...so, to release the pressure on your foot, you'll want do BOTH BENT AND STRAIGHT LEG stretches (EACH FOR 2 MINUTES), to loosen up this whole muscle group. In both of the stretching pictures on this page, the muscles being stretched are in the back leg. This is a pdf we share that has these two stretches, plus others for runners. They can help with any tension in the legs. Right-Click here to download the GTS Massage Stretches for Runners PDF file. (or just click to view in another window.)

4) Massage, massage, massage. This type of massage may take on more of a masochistic element than you would prefer, but sometimes requires a bit of pressure to get the muscles to the mushy point and get the circulation moving. There are a couple of tools you can use for this, if you don't have someone to help you out, like a fabulous Nationally Certified Massage Therapist with tons of experience with plantar fasciitis. That term (massage), is used very loosely here. Like our tag line, 'It's not the green tea and fluffy robe kind of massage', this is to open up restricted muscle and connective tissue, so it's not necessarily comfortable.

5) Last, but not least in treating my plantar fasciitis was a taping technique, which allows support of the tissue along the bottom of the foot. The tape this guru recommended to us is called 'Elastoplast', and is available in specialty pharmacies...you probably won't find it at any of the big box pharmacies, so check your local family owned pharmacy. Here in Fort Collins, The Good Day Pharmacy on Lemay will order it for you.

Good luck...the discomfort of this pain in the heel of the foot, plantar fasciitis is enough to make you crazy!! If you are vigilant, your pain could be completely gone in two weeks...and if you try some of these suggestions today, you may feel at least a little better shortly!

Return from Plantar Fasciitis to Running Injuries
Go to Piriformis Syndrome
Go to Patellar Tendonitis
Go to Shin Splints
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