You wake up in the morning and take your first steps out of bed – but ow! Why is there pain along the soles of your feet? You shake it off and the pain goes away, but then you feel it again the next morning and each morning after that. What’s going on?
Runners, hikers, and other athletes that run or jump a lot, as well as those who stand for long periods of time while working (e.g. cashiers) can share in this type of pain. The condition, called plantar fasciitis, develops when the fibrous connective tissues (fascia) on the bottom of the foot (plantar surface) are overused and strained. The repetitive and/or continuous forces on the bottom of the feet cause the fascia to become inflamed and even deteriorate. The pain, which can be felt along the feet from the ball of the foot to the heels, can be worsened by standing for long periods of time, unsupportive footwear, and constant impact from athletic activities.
What can you do?
If you experience the pain described in the scenario above, you know that walking or shaking off the pain in the morning is only momentary relief. The pain can return after long periods of rest or extended periods of being on your feet.
The following are some tips to help relieve minor pain:
- Stretch the feet before you get up from your bed. Straighten the legs in front of you, flex your feet, and try to pull the toes toward you. If you can’t reach the feet, use a strap, belt, or towel.
- Before and after exercise, also stretch the bottom of the feet by standing while facing the wall with your toes against it, pointing upwards.
- Massage the muscles and tissue fibers in your feet. Rolling a golf ball or lacrosse ball under the foot can help if you cannot comfortably reach your feet.
- Use ice to temporarily relieve pain, especially if any parts of your feet are swollen. A frozen bottle of water works for both ice application and massage.
- If you train hard for a sport or exercise very often, you need to slow down and allow time for rest and recovery.
- Make sure to wear the proper footwear that gives enough support to the arches and secures the heel.
- A night splint may help to keep the fascia from curling up or straining during sleep.
If you are experiencing severe pain often or continuously, make an appointment with us at our Fords, NJ office by calling (732) 738-4441. Dr. Carl Ingrassia, our board-certified podiatrist at Fords Foot and Ankle Care will assess and discuss further care options for your foot pain and any associated problems.