Last summer, I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. My GP said it would take 2-3 months to fully recover, but I was back to training properly within a few weeks.
Since then a few people have asked what I did to get such a speedy recovery, so I thought I’d share my tips with you guys.
First of all, I researched what I could do to ease the pain and I found the usual advice for anything inflamed:
- Ice it
- Keep it elevated
- Rest it
But then I found an article talking about the importance of finding the root cause of the problem. I have no idea why I didn’t think of that before! I guess I was so fixated on how much it hurt that I just wanted to get rid of the pain.
Anyway, I decided to find the root cause and deal with it, rather than just end up spending weeks/months masking the pain. So here’s what I did…
Stretch it out
After a bit of research, I found that plantar fasciitis can sometimes be caused by tight glutes, hamstrings or calf muscles. I shrugged that off thinking there was no way I had tight muscles with the amount of flexibility work I do, but then I realised I don’t tend to spend much time stretching my calf muscles.
So I got up right then and there and decided to really stretch out my calf muscles to see if it made any difference. I was pretty sceptical BUT it definitely helped to ease the pain in my heel a little bit!
I did that stretch a few times a day and my heel pain started to fade within a few days, which is a big deal considering I was experiencing horrendous pain every time I walked for the first week!
I also took time each day to gently stretch the actual plantar fascia, which is the part of the foot that’s obviously inflamed or injured. The best way to do this is to sit down and gently pull your toes back up towards you so your foot is in a position like you’re standing on the balls of your feet.
It’s best to do these stretches first thing in the morning, and then again a few times during the day. Plantar fasciitis pain tends to be at its worst when you first get up, and if you’re like I was then it will kind of feel like you’re constantly stepping on glass. The stretches helped me loads!
Treat the inflammation
As plantar fasciitis is a form of inflammation, I added some anti-inflammatory foods into my diet. You could go with Ibuprofen, but I can’t take that as it affects my blood condition, so instead, I had a turmeric latte every evening before bed.
Honestly, they don’t taste particularly great and I’m not sure if it helped or if the other things were really what worked, but I thought it was worth mentioning everything I did. After all, my GP said recovery would take a minimum of six months, but I was training properly again after just three weeks! So I want to pass on what worked for me.
Ice ice baby
It’s no secret that ice is good for treating inflammation, so every evening I sat with my foot in a bowl of iced water for 15-30 mins. It was horrible to begin with, but I actually kept doing it even after it healed, and still do it a few times a week because I started to enjoy it. Weird, I know. But it’s strangely refreshing after a long day on your feet!
I found a bowl of iced water worked better for me than just holding ice on my foot, but everyone is different, so see what works best for you.
Get some support
Something I saw an instant improvement from was wearing properly supportive footwear. I spend most of my time in trainers anyway, but I decided to get a gait analysis to check if my trainers were giving my feet the support they needed. Some of my trainers were great for this, but others were pretty much just for fashion, so I made the decision to purely wear the trainers that the gait analysis said were best for me.
I tried wearing my normal (fashion) trainers one day and didn’t even make it out of the house before the pain started! So I decided to wear my new trainers all the time until the plantar fascia had completely healed.
I also bought some insoles which were specifically made for plantar fasciitis, and I still wear those. So if buying a new pair of trainers is out of the question for you right now for budgeting reasons (which I totally get), just buy some plantar fasciitis specific insoles. Trust me, they help!
Modify your workouts
This was the part I struggled with most because I’m determined to push myself every time I train, but I soon realised that if I carried on with my usual workouts then I’d take a lot longer to recover. So I modified my sessions.
When you’ve got plantar fasciitis it’s important to avoid any high impact movements, so I removed all jumping exercises from my usual routine. I also took a break from doing any kind of running or skipping.
Yes, it might feel frustrating having to modify your workouts for a few weeks when you’re injured. But it’s better than the alternative of pushing through and ending up having to take months off.
I hope these tips help if you’re going through the horrendous pain of plantar fasciitis right now. It can be a huge pain in the arse, I mean foot. But if you catch it early and adjust your workouts, etc to make sure you don’t cause any further damage, a fairly quick recovery is possible.
If you’ve had plantar fasciitis before, what worked for you?