Q: Estimado saludable Talk,
I have a strange question.
The bottom of my left foot has suddenly begun to feel really tender. And I can’t figure out what’s causing it!
Sometimes when I get up in the morning, or when I’ve been sitting at my desk for a few hours, when I stand up the stabbing pain in the arch of my foot is so bad it hurts to walk. But then just as suddenly the pain goes away.
Any idea what could be causing my foot pain?
Tenderfoot, Tampa, FL
UN: Dear Tenderfoot,
The most common explanation for foot pain is a condition called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis (PF for short) can cause pain either in the arch of your foot, your heel, or both.
PF is caused by inflammation in the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes called the plantar fascia. The condition is quite common, but most often shows up in runners, people who are overweight or those who wear shoes with poor support.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis foot pain
Plantar fasciitis usually causes what people describe as a stabbing pain near the heel of the affected foot. The pain is typically worse…
- when you first stand up in the morning,
- when you stand for long periods of time,
- or when you stand up after being seated for a while.
But PF foot pain often becomes duller, or even disappears, once you’re up and moving around for a few minutes.
The cause of plantar fasciitis foot pain
Your plantar fascia’s job is to act kind of like a shock absorber. You can picture it sort of like a bowstring that supports the arch of your foot.
But the fascia only has so much stretch in it, and if the tension on the band of tissue becomes too much for it to handle small tears can appear.
When that stretching and tearing occurs over and over again… say from bearing too much weight or wearing shoes like flip flops that don’t offer any arch support… that can lead to inflammation and pain in your foot or heel.
As we mentioned earlier certain people are more prone to plantar fasciitis.
You may be at a greater risk for PF if…
- You’re between the ages of 40 a 60.
- Your job causes you to stand or walk for long periods of time on hard surfaces
- Your preferred form of exercise involves repetitive use of your heel and its attached tissues which includes running and certain kinds of dancing.
- You’re overweight which puts extra stress on your feet.
- You’re either flat footed, have a high arch or have an abnormal walking gait that puts extra stress on your foot and heel.
- You often wear worn out or flat shoes that don’t provide adequate arch support.
But I bet what you’re really more interested in is how to get rid of the pain, derecho?
Plantar fasciitis foot pain fixes
Well let’s begin with the obvious, shoes. Do an inventory of your closet and toss at any old worn out shoes and donate any shoes that are still in good shape but don’t offer your foot good arch support.
If you’re not willing to give up your flat shoes entirely, such as your flip flops and sandals in the summer, at least limit your time in them. And don’t wear them if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking or standing.
Adding a heel cup or arch supporting insole to your shoes can provide foot pain relief as well as help start you on your way to healing. You can buy both off the shelf in most drug stores or online. Or your doctor may decide a custom fit arch orthotic is the best choice for you.
Night splints, which are designed to gently stretch the plantar fascia while you sleep, are another common and effective solution. You can find night splits online or in some drug stores.
If you’re overweight or obese losing some weight can help take the pressure off of your fascia and relieve the pain. And if you’re a runner—or participate in any other activities that put a lot of stress on your feet and heels—try substituting another activity for three or four weeks to give your foot time to heal and for the swelling to subside.
If your foot pain is stubborn and won’t go away your doctor may decide to send you to physical therapy to learn certain exercises that will gently stretch the plantar fascia.
5 home remedies to soothe your foot pain
1. Ice pack therapy:
Try applying an ice pack to the area of your foot where the pain appears. Repeat 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time until the pain is gone.
This not only provides fast pain relief the ice can help reduce inflammation as well.
2. Ice massage:
Fill a paper cup or small plastic water bottle with water and freeze completely. Once frozen place on the floor in front of you. From a seated position gently roll the bottom of your foot from the base of your toes all the way back across the heel and then back to the base of your toes.
Repeat this gentle massaging motion for five minutes. Vary the pressure as you wish, but don’t press too hard which may further irritate your fascia.
Once again the ice will help provide instant relief and reduce inflammation. But the added massaging motion also help gently stretch the fascia.
Hint: Freeze several at a time and keep them on hand in your freezer for whenever you need them
3. Can or ball stretch:
If you want fast foot pain relief but don’t want to wait around for a plastic bottle to freeze the can or ball stretch might be what you’re looking for. For this one you will need to grab a canned food off your pantry shelf or a small ball such as a tennis ball or lacrosse ball.
Just like with the ice massage example above you’re going to place the can or ball on the floor in front of you. Then from a seated position gently roll the bottom of your foot from the base of your toes back across your heel and then back to the base of your toes.
Repeat the gentle rolling motion for five minutes. Vary the pressure as you wish, but once again don’t press too hard which could cause further irritation.
The rolling massage motion helps provide instant foot pain relief as well as gently stretching the fascia.
Acupuncture can be useful for helping to relieve any type of pain, and foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis is no different. In fact researchers at the University of Athens tested acupuncture on two groups of athletes suffering with plantar fasciitis.
Both groups received conventional medicine treatments for their foot pain, but one of the groups was also given acupuncture. The group that got the acupuncture had significantly more pain relief than the unlucky athletes who didn’t get the traditional medicine treatment.
5. Traditional foot massage.
Gently massaging the bottom of your foot and heel three or four times a day for five minutes at a time can provide quick and welcome relief from your foot pain. Massage can help improve circulation to the area and will warm your foot to help soothe away the pain.
You can also try using a warming pain-relieving cream (ones designed for arthritis or back pain, for example reportedly help for some people), an essential oil such as tea tree oil or a topical pain reliever with DMSO a tree extract that helps pain-relieving ingredients penetrate to rush relief right to where it hurts.
Here Sport Physiotherapist Pat Stanziano demonstrates a great morning routine you can do before taking those painful first steps in the morning.
Hablar más saludable
Creemos que todo el mundo tiene buenas ideas sobre la mejor manera de cuidar a nuestros seres queridos ya nosotros mismos. Muchos de nuestros colaboradores son médicos que han pasado trabajo de sus vidas invertido en la salud y el bienestar del cuerpo y la mente humana. Algunos han pasado su vida investigando sin descanso la salud y el cuerpo humano, el desarrollo de nuevos vitaminas y productos dedicados a hacer que la gente más saludable.
Otros son personas comunes que tienen cura natural de la familia transmitido de generaciones, o descubierto un remedio casero barato por necesidad o incluso por accidente.
Así que hable más saludable no sólo ofrece consejos y soluciones profesionales, sino que también proporciona muy buscada cura de la familia natural y remedios en el hogar, a su alcance!