In my last article, I mentioned that I had been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, and I was trying to avoid needing to have surgery on my foot. I tried many different approaches in an effort to heal myself.
The first thing I had to do was stop running. I was so bummed out about this, because I really wanted to consider myself a runner. However, my health needed to be the top priority. This also meant that I had to find other ways to stay active! I switched to boxing-style workout classes to make sure I was still getting enough cardio in. I also took up yoga, because that helped me increase flexibility in my entire body – including my pesky foot, and the entire leg in question. Through yoga I learned just how connected everything is within the body. The foot was the area where I was having pain, but the problem may have originated in my hip or hamstring.
I next went to see my chiropractor. He happens to make custom orthotics right in his office. He took a mold of my feet and created small shoe inserts for me, made out of hard plastic. He told me the hard plastic is necessary and much better than any “squishy” shoe inserts you can buy in the store, because the plastic does not lose its shape while you walk on it. It definitely took me a while to get used to wearing them in my shoes, but after my feet had adjusted to the intrusion, I actually found that the orthotics helped immensely. They’re slim enough that I can wear them inside dress shoes, running shoes, and even certain sandals! If you suffer from foot pain, this is a treatment that I’d highly recommend.
Another strategy that helped me a lot, is that I bought some supportive compression socks and foot sleeves. I had to be careful though. Some products which are made specifically for plantar fasciitis tend to focus on the center of the foot. While it is very important to have proper arch support, I also needed something to support the heel, as this was where I was experiencing pain. I found some ankle-compression sleeves online that supported both my heel and my arch, and I wear those every day now.
Finally, I learned how to massage my foot. There are a lot of great techniques and tools you can use. It’s nice to get a foot massage as a special treat, but that quickly gets expensive, and there’s a lot you can do at home. I have a spiky ball that looks like a dog toy, and that feels great after I’ve rolled that under my foot a few times. Rolling the foot on a frozen water bottle can take the inflammation down and provide lots of relief. A regular old lacrosse ball is a great massage tool, too. Of course, you can use your hands, interlace your fingers of the opposite hand between the toes, and press your thumbs into the pressure points at the bottom of your foot. Be careful not to press so hard as to create a lot of pain in the area that is already painful, but don’t avoid those spots altogether. You’ll feel much better afterwards, I promise!
As of today, my plantar fasciitis has not completely gone away, but it’s feeling much better. I’m virtually pain-free because of all the wonderful tools at my disposal. I am relieved to have been able to treat the problem so effectively from the comfort of my own home, and if this is a condition you suffer from, I wish you the same success!