How I Relieved My Plantar Fasciitis, Heel, and Foot Pain
Our feet are complicated.
They use a series of bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and nerves, to support us throughout our lives. The skin of our feet, if neglected, can become dry, and in more severe cases, crack and produce small cuts that increase your risk of an infection.
Come to think of it, our feet take a lot of battering from all the weight we put on them, our daily activities, and our general disregard for their well-being. Let’s face it. We take them for granted—that is, until it is too late.
How Does the Plantar Fascia Contribute to Foot Pain?
The plantar fascia is a long, flat ligament that lies under the foot and connects the heel of the foot to the toes. Over time, this ligament can become inflamed. The medical term for this condition is plantar fasciitis, a painful and debilitating condition that takes time to heal.
The bad news is that treating this painful condition is not always easy. The good news is that recovery is usually possible.
My Foot Problems
My feet were quite pretty (I guess) at one point in time although they were always on the larger side. In older age, they are no longer a pretty sight.
A lump appeared on the top of my right foot a few years ago, and this was really the start of my foot problems. This lump would increase in size after certain activities—almost to the size of an egg—and sometimes caused a fair amount of pain.
I Was Diagnosed With a Ganglion Cyst
A medical professional confirmed it was a ganglion cyst, and surgery was scheduled though never carried out. On the day of the planned surgical procedure, the ganglion was fairly flat and the surgeon sent me home without treatment.
At one point, I had been given an injection of cortisone in my foot, and it helped briefly. However, over time, the cyst hardened. I was recently told that my ganglion cyst is now bone. My right foot now has a much higher arch than my left foot.
I May Also Have Plantar Fasciitis
The pain in my right foot—under the heel, and at times at the ankle—has been worsening for some time. Standing for long periods of time and even walking has been so painful.
At a recent visit to a chiropodist, plantar fasciitis was suggested. The chiropodist asked if I had ever broken my foot since the top of my foot is rather deformed. I have yet to visit my doctor for medical confirmation.
We went on our scheduled vacation, and I walked and walked and walked. My foot became ever more painful. Of course I knew that rest would help, but who spends a small fortune to go some place for vacation and sit indoors with their feet up?
Weeks later, once I was back at home, the pain continued to worsen with some days worse than others. I began researching plantar fasciitis and have since made some changes that I will discuss below. If there are no improvements in a week or so, I will check with my doctor.
I would urge readers to always consult a medical professional. If I was not retired, I would have to consult my doctor as I probably would not be able to work.
Dr. Axe Explains How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis Naturally
What I Did to Reduce My Plantar Fasciitis Pain
Some days, I still struggle with plantar fasciitis. However, the good news is that I now have more good days than bad.
The following is what I have learned so far from my experience and will be updated as necessary:
- Put shoes on as you step out of bed. Ideally, your footwear should not be flat-soled or high-heeled but rather have a low heel. They should also offer your arch some support.
- If you wear Sketchers footwear, they could be part of the problem. I fell in love with Sketchers this year and was blown away with their look and level of comfort. I could walk for miles, and it felt as if I was walking on a cushion of air. However, while researching online, I came across at least one podiatrist recommending people take a cautious approach to Sketchers footwear. Dr. Vanessa Hadchiti says Sketchers footwear may be fine in some cases, but her advice is don't wear them all day, each and every day, do not wear them for running or long walks, and never wear them with orthotics.
- Wear well-fitting shoes that offer foot support. If necessary, buy made-to-measure footwear from a specialist.
- Compression socks can offer support and help ease pain. I purchased compression ankle socks and they are proving a good investment. Knee high versions of these socks are also available. They are ideal if you undertake sporting activities, but at this stage of my foot problems, they simply help ease pain and offer support. My advice is to wear them on both feet even if only one foot is problematic. You may be walking in an uneven way due to foot pain, and this may prevent problems from developing in your other foot.
- Taking pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication at regular intervals is also proving beneficial for me.
- Try soaking and massaging your feet. I decided to use my foot spa to soak my feet because I had the idea that gently stretching my feet in water might help ease the pain, and it did. I got even greater relief when I rolled my feet on the small rollers in the foot spa.
- Treating with ice is having a minimally positive impact for me.
- Balance periods of activity with periods of rest.
- I am on a weight loss diet to reduce the load I put on my feet, but I'm also carefully looking at what I eat to ensure I get a good balance of vitamins.
Remember that recovery can take some time—even up to a year.
Compression Socks That Have Helped Me
Surgery and Plantar Fasciitis
Surgery is available in cases of chronic plantar fasciitis.
Usually, an orthopedic surgeon cuts the plantar fascia to relieve tension, but cryosurgery, which involves freezing certain sensory nerves, is now also available.
Remember that all surgeries have risks and should never be undertaken lightly. Results of surgery for plantar fasciitis are mixed. Always talk with your doctor to determine if surgery is necessary or beneficial for your situation. In the case of plantar fasciitis, surgery is generally the last option for recovery.
How to Prevent Foot Problems
Prevention is always the best option. Here are some ideas to prevent foot problems such as plantar fasciitis developing:
- Wear good footwear and take time to regularly rest your feet. This should help keep your feet in good shape.
- Wear the correct footwear for sporting activities such as running and jogging.
- Do gentle foot stretches as you relax.
- Stiletto heel shoes are fashionable women’s footwear, but they are not good for your foot and leg health. Only wear so-called ‘Killer Heels’ for a limited period of time.
- Avoid very flat shoes or walking barefoot.
- Shoes that have a small heel are a good option.
- Good sports footwear are rarely totally flat.
- Control your weight.
- Take action at the first sign of foot problems. Go to a podiatrist.
- Avoid activities that require you to stand for a long period of time.
Take good care of your feet as they are priceless.
A Word of Caution
If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, get worse, or worry you, consult a health professional.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Ethel Smith