By Rehan Iqbal
If you experience heel pain when you get up in the morning and start moving, you’re likely suffering from plantar fasciitis. The pain is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a tissue in the back of the foot that absorbs a lot of the shock when your feet hit the ground. It’s caused by consistent stress on the heel over time, so everything from the structure of your foot to the shoes you wear and your body weight can contribute to the development of heel pain.
The good news is that there are some things you can do at home to help relieve the pain and stimulate healing for the plantar fascia. Let’s discuss some of them to see what might help you.
Practical Solutions for Plantar Fasciitis
The best way to ease heel pain from plantar fasciitis is to rest so that the fascia can contract and heel rather than stretch out with movement. That’s not always possible, so the first step to relieving pain is to look at what you’re wearing on your feet. These are the simplest home remedies, but we’ll have more suggestions for you in just a moment.
Change or Modify Your Shoes
There are some shoes that may increase plantar fasciitis heel pain, including:
The fastest and most cost-effective way to improve your pain is to select shoes that have adequate arch support. They provide more structure and support for your feet, relieving strain on your heel as you move. Reach for flat shoes over high heels and athletic shoes over unsupportive loafers.
If you don’t have shoes with great arch support, you can add insoles that provide more comfort. Many shoe stores will also help you pick out a pair of shoes that meet your needs.
Wear Compression Socks or Night Splints
Compression socks apply continuous graduated pressure to the foot, ankle, and possibly calf. They’re designed to stimulate blood circulation through the leg, which helps relieve inflammation and swelling that may contribute to heel pain.
You may also want to try the Strassburg Sock. It holds your foot in a flexed position while you sleep or rest for an extended period. When worn for at least six hours every night, nearly 98% of participants in a research study recovered from plantar fasciitis within two months. There are also night braces that work like the sock but may not feel as comfortable.
Supportive insoles can also be helpful in reliving heel pain. With proper arch support under the foot, insoles can be very effective in negating the excruciating heel pain.
Home Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis
Now that you’re selecting your footwear with care and perhaps supporting your feet and legs with a sock or night brace, it’s time to talk about other effective ways to ease plantar fasciitis heel pain and stimulate healing.
Home remedies sometimes take time to deliver their full impact, so don’t count these out if they don’t completely relieve your pain instantly. You can use these ideas along with any treatment prescribed by a doctor, so they work like supplements to help heal your heel faster.
Plantar fasciitis pain is often caused by tight calf muscles. In one study, 80% of patients with plantar fasciitis had tight calf muscles. Rates of tight calf muscles were substantially lower in patients without plantar fasciitis.
Stretching those muscles daily can help ease some of the strain on your heels even if you’re already experiencing heel pain. You should stretch every morning and continue that habit even after your heel recovers.
Ice Bottle Massage
This plantar fasciitis home remedy combines two of the most effective ways to relieve heel pain: ice application and massage. You can simply apply an ice pack on the heel or use your fingers to gently massage the heel, and you can use this trick to combine those therapies.
Start by enjoying the beverage of your choice in a disposable plastic bottle. Once it’s empty, wash it out and fill it halfway with water. Place it in the freezer with the lid off. Once frozen, put the lid on and place the bottle on a towel in front of a comfortable chair. Sit down and start rolling your foot over the bottle, massaging the bottoms of your feet and the heel as you go.
Your foot size and shape will determine the best bottle size for this relaxing massage. You want the bottle to fit along the curvature of your foot, so a 12-ounce or 20-ounce bottle works for most people. Some may need a 36-ounce bottle, but you shouldn’t go much larger.
Essential Oil Massage or Foot Bath
Some essential oils are known to relieve inflammation. Mixing a few drops of your favorite oil with sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or another carrier oil will create a relaxing massage oil. Carrier oils are safe for direct skin application, so they’re necessary to ensure you don’t experience a negative reaction to some harsher essential oils.
Some of the best essential oils to decrease inflammation include: