The alarm clock goes off, your feet hit the floor and as soon as you stand up, you experience stabbing pain in your feet for the first number of steps. That is certainly not the right recipe for starting the day off right. If this happens to you, you might be experiencing plantar fasciitis. What is plantar fasciitis exactly? Read on to find out.

The plantar fascia is made up of a fibrous connective tissue located on the bottom side of the foot, running from the heel and stopping just before the base of the toes. Its job is to provide support to the arch of the foot and to provide help as a shock absorber. Commonly, folks start to notice onset of pain in this tissue with sudden increases in physical activity such as walking, running, and jumping, as these activities can increase the stretch to the tissue under the foot.

Common complaints of those experiencing plantar fasciitis are stabbing pain felt in the morning or at the end of a day spent on your feet, tenderness along the sides or base of the heel, and increased pain with barefoot walking tightness in the calf or hamstrings.

If you experience some of the above signs and symptoms, trying some of the following steps may help to aid you in your recovery.

  • Rest from aggravating activities (prolonged time spent on feet, walking, running, jumping)
  • Stretch the calf and hamstrings
  • Avoid barefoot walking. Choose supportive footwear to wear indoors and outdoors. If the shoes you’ve been wearing to be active are older, it might be time for a new pair.
  • Massage the bottom of foot by rolling back and forth on a frozen water bottle
  • If you experience pain in the mornings, warm up the tissue in the feet before getting out of bed. Practice pumping your ankles, passively flex and extend the toes, and gently massage the tissue under the foot before standing up.
  • Strengthening- this can be done by placing the foot flat on the floor and lifting the toes. Try lowering the toes one at a time from the inside out and then the opposite
  • Stretching- place a firm object such as a tightly rolled towel under the toes. Keep the toes in position and then lift your heels up off of the floor

It might be wise to seek out the help of a physiotherapist to help decide if plantar fasciitis is the actual cause of your foot pain and to aid you in the process of recovery. A physiotherapist may be able to help identify what is causing the irritated tissue and help to tailor a specific plan to help address the problem. Treatment may consist of stretching, strengthening of the lower extremities, and modalities which may include things like ultrasound and shockwave therapy, dry needling, and cryotherapy.

Recovering from plantar fasciitis does take some patience and perseverance. If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, try out some of our suggestions and see if they help!