Regardless of their vital role, we often neglect our feet. Yet, they support our body weight while we walk, stand, jump, and run, so it is no surprise that they can often be painful.
Foot pain is often caused by plantar fasciitis, a painful condition that results from inflammation of the tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, connecting the toes to the heel.
Plantar fasciitis is often characterized by heel pain, as well as calf tightness, cramping of the feet and toes, intense and sharp foot pain in the morning or after a workout, stabbing pain along the bottom of the feet, as well as pain to touch and a palpable lump on the bottom of your foot near the heel.
This condition can cause you to walk with a limp, and it may limit the ability to run and walk up and down the stairs properly.
It is often caused by improper footwear, lack of strength and stability along the arch of the foot, or repetitive movements that lead to tearing, and obesity.
If the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot is inflamed and painful, the first step you should do is to address the inflammatory process. This involves applying ice to the painful, inflamed area for 10-15 minutes several times per day.
You can also try ice-bottle massage to reduce the inflammation from plantar fasciitis. The ice will treat the inflammation, and the massage will gently stretch the plantar fascia on the bottom of your foot.
One of the most successful ways to relieve and heal foot pain are stretching exercises, that target the area of the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and strengthen the calves to improve the stability of the ankles and heel.
All you need is a yoga block and a tennis ball, and perform them 1-2 times a day.
Plantar Fascia Stretch
The yoga block should be on the floor. Step the ball of your right foot onto its edge, while the heel remains on the ground.
Then, shift the weight forward over the block to feel a stretch through your calf, ankle, and plantar fascia, and hold for half a minute. Repeat two times on both sides.
Step up onto the mat with both feet. Place one hand on a wall, and lower the right heel down towards the ground.
Next, press up through the ball of the right foot and flex the calf muscle at the top. Repeat ten times, and switch feet.
Step the ball of the foot and toes onto the center of the block, raise the heel up high to feel a stretch through the toes and plantar fascia, and hold for half a minute. Repeat each side three times.
Tennis Ball Rollout
Sit in a chair and put a tennis ball on the floor in front of you. Then, place the arch of the foot on the ball, press a bit to release the tightness in the fascia, and start rolling the foot over the ball. Apply some pressure to feel the ball releasing tightness in the fascia.
Then, slowly begin to roll your foot over the ball, from the toes to the heel. Pause whenever you find a tight spot and hold for 30 seconds. Then, switch sides.
Place the ball of the foot up on your tennis ball, with the heel on the floor. Curl the toes around the top of the ball, squeeze a bit, and release. Spread the toes wide, make 10 repetitions, and switch feet.
While sitting in a chair, place a ball on the floor in front and lean the forearms onto your thighs. Place the heel on the top of the tennis ball, and the ball of your foot on the floor.
Then, start pumping the heel up and down on the ball. After a minute, release, and switch sides.
To ensure your optimal condition and body strength, you need to keep the feet and ankles healthy. These exercises will help you alleviate pain prevent discomfort, and lower the risk of injury.
To keep the feet strong and healthy, make sure you also follow these foot health and safety tips:
- When worn down, replace your shoes.
- Wear supportive footwear for your everyday activities and sports.
- Do not overdo activities, but learn to listen to your body.
- Rest and receive the needed treatment to prevent any recurrence of injury.
- Before your workout or strenuous physical activity, complete a thorough warm-up routine.
- To condition the feet and ankles, slowly build up your strength and flexibility.
- Avoid running uphill too often, and avoid uneven surfaces, especially when running.