Natural (Free) Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
What is plantar fasciitis, anyway?
Plantar fasciitis plagues so many people. If you’ve ever woken up and dreaded taking those first few steps in the morning, there’s a pretty good chance that you (like me) have discovered the horrors of plantar fasciitis.
What is it?
Fascia, for a start, is connective tissue. Plantar fasciitis is best described as inflammation of the facia reaching from the front to back (across the arch) of the foot. Technically speaking, it’s not really “inflammation”, but that’s the best way to describe it. Really, if you want to get scientific, its degeneration of the collagen. The result is shooting and/or burning pain, often centered in the heel. I've heard it described as feeling like you've stepped on a hot coin.
There can be multiple causes, but many people have had issues with plantar fasciitis when they don't stand in an optimal position. Another main cause can be walking in a way that puts unnecessary strain on certain parts of the foot. Both of these causes can be the result of ill-fitting shoes, or sometimes bad habits. The worst bout I ever had was during a particularly stressful time when I developed a tendency to clench my toes like fists when standing still for long periods of time.
One of the ways you can tell that it's likely to be a case of plantar fasciitis is if you tend to point your toes whenever you're relaxed, like when you're lying down. That's not always a giveaway, but if you just noticed that habit developing at the same time as the pain, it may only be happening as a way that your body is naturally trying to make up for the discomfort involved in stretching your feet to a more flexed position.
As everyone’s feet are different, this may not work for every case of plantar fasciitis, particularly if there’s something else contributing to the issue, but it’s a start.
I would love if folks would comment if they know of another plantar fasciitis exercise to add or another helpful tip, but in the interest of starting to help people right away, here’s the move that I learned from my prenatal yoga mentor.
You can either do this with an actual cloth, or just pretend you have one. as long as you’re moving your foot in the right way, it should work.
Toss a wash cloth on the floor.
Place your foot so that your heel is in contact with the floor and your toes are over the cloth.
Lift and separate your toes, fanning them out as much as possible.
Lower your toes and grip the cloth.
Keeping your heel on the floor, rotate your foot out while holding the cloth in your toes, as though you were wiping something up.
When you reach your full rotation, and with your heel still in place, lift and separate your toes again.
Grip the cloth again, and slide it back, still keeping your heel in place.
Repeat several times in a row, and try to do it at least twice a day.
My mentor called this exercise "Moving Sand", but I think of it as more of a windshield wiper.
That might just clear things up all on its own! Still, it never hurts to keep an eye on other factors and possible sources of relief.
If you're concerned about it being more serious, perhaps due to a degeneration of the collagen, there are a number of collagen supplements on the market. I have had success with a powdered form that I dissolve in coffee or tea. You can also add it to soups and baked goods. It's pretty versatile.
In addition, try to avoid flip flops and shoes that require a bit of work to keep on your feet. (I’m hugely guilty of throwing on that type of shoe for a moment, and accidentally wearing them all day.) Whenever you think about it throughout the day, lift and separate your toes. You may even want to set little alerts for yourself.
If you have another trick that worked for you, please comment and let us know! Nobody should have to deal with preventable pain!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Myra Breen