Foot pain can drag you down. Our feet take us where we want to be. When the simple task of walking across the room brings pain, finding a solution becomes critical.
The cause of heel or arch pain can be the result of a flattening or a falling of the arch, which causes the foot to then lengthen, stretching the fascia. This stretching causes inflammation to the plantar fascia, causing heel pain.
To relieve the tension and inflammation of the plantar fascia, the arch of the foot needs to be supported and lifted to handle the load we put on our feet. There are a number of shoe inserts (orthotics) sold in stores that claim to do this. But these are almost certainly predicted to fail.
Why Your Over-The-Counter Supports Aren’t Working
- They don’t conform to the arch of the foot. These over-the-counter orthotics are not designed specifically for your foot, so the likelihood of them fitting as closely as needed is unlikely. The orthotic must come in contact with the arch for it to adequately lesson the tension on the plantar fascia.
- Heel cushions won’t treat plantar fasciitis. It may seem that when you have pain in the heel, you should cushion the heel. While this extra cushion may feel okay initially, it will not stop the chronic pain of plantar fasciitis because it won’t stop the lengthening of the fascia caused by the fallen arch.
Why Custom Orthotics Work
Custom inserts conform to your arch because they are made specifically to fit your foot. Custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis relieve the tension on the fascia because they are specifically fitted to contact and support your arch. This contact of the insole with the arch is essential. Custom orthotics are shoe inserts that should be worn daily to eliminate the chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia.
How To Deal With Heel Pain Early To Prevent Chronic Plantar Fasciitis
When you first experience heel or arch pain, don’t ignore it. This early and acute pain may be dealt with before a chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia sets it.
Suggestions for heel or arch pain:
- Change your shoes.
Your arch needs a supportive shoe. For 3 weeks, try only wearing athletic shoes or shoes with a built-in arch support to see if this relieves your pain.
- Ice your heel.
Try icing your heel several times a day for about 10 minutes at a time. This can help to reduce early inflammation.
- Stretch your Achilles tendon.
Stretch this tendon that runs from your calf muscle and over your heel by pointing your toe away from you and toward you for several minutes several times a day.
- Massage the heel.
A foot roller can be used for about 10 minutes once a day to help stretch the fascia, reducing the tension on it.
- Don’t go barefoot.
You’ll need to support your feet at all times to keep your arches from falling. When not wearing shoes, try a flip flop or sandal with a firm arch support built in.
- Lighten your load.
Don’t carry heavy loads that your feet have to support. Try shedding a few pounds of your own to eliminate some of the weight your feet carry.
- See a podiatrist.
If you are still having heel or arch pain after 3 weeks of trying these at-home treatments, see a podiatrist. You likely have a chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia and need a custom-fitted orthotic for plantar fasciitis. A podiatrist can fit you with a custom orthotic to eliminate the chronic inflammation.
The quicker you are to treat your heel pain, the less likely you are to experience plantar fasciitis – an inflammation of the plantar fascia that runs over your heel.
Similarly, treating your already present plantar fasciitis sooner than later is necessary to reverse the inflammation and pain.