Do you experience a sharp shooting pain in your heel as soon as you get out of bed, when you stand up after sitting for a long time, or even just walking?
The condition, called plantar fasciitis, results from inflammation of the ligament (plantar fascia) that connects your heel to your toes. The ligament acts as a shock absorber and holds the shape of the foot. (1)
Certain conditions can lead to small tears in the ligament and make walking and putting weight on your foot a painful experience. If you’ve been suffering from this debilitating condition, continue reading to understand the causes and symptoms of the plantar fascia and the home remedies you can try to treat it naturally. (1)
Excessive straining of the plantar fascia ligament causes plantar fasciitis. However, there is no definitive cause for the straining. Some common risk factors that can predispose you to the condition are: (2)
The common signs and symptoms of plantar fasciitis include:
Since there’s no single cause of the condition, prevention is about reducing your risk factors for it.
You can also take some precautionary steps, such as wearing doctored shoes, using shoe inserts and doing certain stretching exercises regularly to strengthen your calf muscles and feet.
Read on to know more about simple exercises and home remedies to ease plantar fasciitis heel pain.
Stretching and strengthening exercises can significantly help in healing plantar fasciitis. (3) You can perform these exercises anytime anywhere to ease the stiffness and pain in your foot. You can also perform these exercises as a precautionary measure.
Do this 3 times a day until you get complete relief from the pain.
Another exercise you can easily do to manage the pain is ball rolling. (4)
Do this 3 or 4 times daily to wake up pain-free in the morning.
Do this 3 or 4 times every day to strengthen your calf muscle and plantar fascia. (4)
In addition to the strengthening exercises, using a cold compress can bring immense relief from the pain. (5) The body sends more blood to an injured area to heal it. But the extra blood flow can also lead to unbearable pain.
Using an ice pack helps reduce blood flow to the area to alleviate swelling. The cold temperature also temporarily numbs the area and reduces pain.
However, a cold compress can only help control the symptoms and is not a treatment in itself.
Use a cold compress 3 or 4 times every day to get immediate relief from the pain. Continue using it for 3 or 4 days to aid faster recovery.
Supplying magnesium to the affected area can help heal it faster. Magnesium aids the absorption of calcium into the bones and helps heal strained or injured muscles and ligaments.
Soaking your foot in an Epsom salt bath not only replenishes magnesium in your body but also helps bring down the inflammation. (6)
You can also rub magnesium oil on your foot to reap the same benefits. You can make your own magnesium oil.
Repeat 2 or 3 times weekly until your condition improves.
Naringenin present in citrus fruits are responsible for the anti-inflammatory nature of grapefruits. A 2014 animal-based study also demonstrated the reduction of neuropathic pain in rats on regular use of naringenin. (7)
You can either take oral supplements or massage your aching foot with grapefruit oil. More research is yet to be done on specifying the dosage of the supplements. Consult your doctor before opting for it.
Turmeric is an important component of Ayurveda, due to its excellent healing powers. The curcumin present in turmeric imparts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to the spice.
According to a 2014 review published in PloS One, an animal-based study supports the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin that inhibit certain compounds that lead to inflammation, reducing neuropathic pain. (8)
When used to ease plantar fasciitis heel pain, it works as good as any other NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to bring down the inflammation quickly.
You can use any of the following options, as per your preference.
Continue taking turmeric for 1 week to treat plantar fasciitis.
The compound capsaicin that imparts heat to cayenne pepper is also responsible for its pain-relieving ability. (10) It works by blocking the body’s pain signals from reaching the brain.
Cayenne pepper also causes a mild irritation on the skin, thus shifting the focus of your brain away from the foot pain. You can either buy a capsaicin-based lotion from a health store or make your own cayenne salve.
Repeat several times a day until you get rid of plantar fasciitis.
A popular boron compound is borax, found to have anti-inflammatory properties helpful in managing arthritis pain. (9) Borax can also be used in a foot bath to deal with the inflammation of plantar fasciitis.
Being alkaline in nature, it also helps heal bone spurs, a common condition that accompanies plantar fasciitis. Borax also helps remineralize the affected area to speed up the recovery.
Do this every day at bedtime until you wake up pain-free.
Apple cider vinegar brings relief in plantar fasciitis heel pain by making up for the deficiencies that can aggravate the pain. Being rich in minerals including magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, consuming apple cider vinegar on a daily basis can help dull the pain of the strained plantar fascia.
Apple cider vinegar also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds like pectin, malic acid and acetic acid that help bring down the swelling and aid faster recovery.
Plus, if heel spurs accompany the plantar fasciitis, the acetic acid will also help break up the acid crystals in the joint. Patients suffering from myositis ossificans reported a significant reduction in pain when treated with acetic acid phonophoresis. (11)
Do this every morning for 4 or 5 days to cure plantar fasciitis.
Alternatively, you can use diluted apple cider vinegar topically. Simply warm up 6 tablespoons of water and mix in 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
Soak a washcloth in the solution and wrap it around your foot for 20 minutes. Repeat several times a day for a few days.
Iodine is a popular folk remedy to get rid of plantar fasciitis. Iodine tincture mixed with crushed aspirin can help bring down the pain and swelling.
Repeat 3 times a week to get rid of plantar fasciitis.
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