Spending a lot of time at home these days? Yeah, join the club.
Lots of things haven’t exactly gone as planned or expected so far in 2020. One of the many things that you may be dealing with now that you weren’t necessarily anticipating is heel pain from plantar fasciitis.
Although many aspects of life may be “on pause,” plantar fasciitis pain can persist even under quarantine. In fact, changes in routine can sometimes even trigger or worsen a case of heel pain!
Fortunately, you can at least partially relieve (if not fully resolve) many cases of mild-to-moderate plantar fasciitis just by making some smart decisions with your home care. We’re sure you’re glad to hear that at a time like this!
Stretch Every Day
Taking some time every day to stretch your feet, ankles, and legs can often significantly lessen the pain of plantar fasciitis.
In fact, starting your day with stretching is especially good for this condition, since pain tends to be worst right after getting out of bed. That’s because the plantar fascia contracts at night (or when at rest for a long period of time), and putting weight on it again re-aggravates the condition, causing symptoms to spike until the fascia has a chance to stretch out a bit.
Have a long towel, belt, or resistance band handy next to your bed. Before you start your day, wrap it around the ball of one of your feet with your legs stretched out in front of you, and pull back gently on the ends of the band with your hands and arms. Hold the stretch for about 45 seconds, and switch. Do each foot 2-3 times. Hopefully this will make those first couple of steps more tolerable!
You can repeat this stretch periodically throughout the rest of the day, as well as incorporate other stretches for the feet and calves. This blog post has a few additional suggestions for you!
Wear Your Shoes Indoors
Most Americans choose to take off their shoes once they get inside and go with bare feet, socks, or slippers indoors. While that may work under normal circumstances, these are not normal circumstances!
If, pre-COVID, you typically spent most of your day in supportive shoes outside the home, your heels and arches may now be “missing” that regular source of support. Now that they’re forced to bear all that weight and pressure alone, they may be starting to hurt—especially if you have hardwood floors or other unforgiving surfaces at home.
So, try wearing your shoes indoors (clean them first, of course!) for at least a few hours a day when you intend to be on your feet a lot, and see if that helps. If it does, you can keep using a pair of indoor shoes, or even get a pair of sandals or slippers with built-in arch support if that’s more comfortable for you.
Wear the RIGHT Shoes (Both Indoors and Out)
Even if you do decide to start wearing shoes indoors, it’s not going to do you much good if those shoes are old and worn out, or just not that supportive in the first place.
And of course, for those times when you do venture outdoors—perhaps to get some refreshing, socially distant exercise—it’s important to make sure your shoes are truly offering the support and stability you need for your chosen activity. That means sport-specific shoes (for example, running shoes for dedicated runners, rather than an old pair of generic gym shoes) that fit your feet well and are in good shape.
Looking for an opportunity to cool your heels? Try this.
Fill a water bottle about three-quarters full with water (so it doesn’t explode…) and freeze it. Once you’re ready for a quick foot massage and a little bit of cold therapy for your pain, pull out the water bottle and roll it underneath your feet for a few minutes. Use moderate pressure, working your entire arch. You might be surprised by how good it feels!
A couple of safety tips to consider, though. First, make sure you’re wearing a decent pair of socks to protect your skin from unsafe cold exposure. And second, make sure your “rolling zone” is free from anything you wouldn’t want to get a little wet—power cables especially.
Give Our Office a Call
Yes, we did say this post would be about things that you can do “at home.” That said, here are a couple of further points to consider:
- One, it’s very possible that home treatments will only take you so far. If you’ve tried everything we talked about above and are still dealing with constant pain, it’s time to request experienced, professional help.
- Two, there’s still a great chance we can help you even without requiring an in-person appointment!
How so? Two big reasons.
First, we could schedule a telemedicine appointment instead of an in-person one. You can remain within the comfort and safety of home and still have the opportunity to talk with Dr. Gasparini or Dr. Chhabra about your symptoms and what you’ve already tried. Based on that conversation, we may have more suggestions for home care that you could try.
And if we do think you could benefit from a product we carry at our office—say a set of arch supports or night splints—we can arrange curbside pickup of your items! Just drive to our office, park, and let us know you’re here. We’ll run your items out to you.
The key takeaway here is that “remaining in the dark” or “ignoring your symptoms until they become severe” are never smart choices, even in the middle of a pandemic. There are lots of simple things you can do at home—and if those aren’t giving you the results you need, we are here to offer our advice and guidance, as well as any specific treatments you may require.
So if your heels are still hurting and keeping you even more cooped up than you want to be during this pandemic, give us a call at (516) 804-9038. We are here to help!