Fixing Foot Pain and Planter Fasciitis
I woke up with an odd feeling in my foot about a week ago, like it was crunched and crooked. The next day, it hurt lots and specifically in the arch. One day later, worse and it hit me. I have Plantar Fasciitis! I’ve treated PF in the clinic with some success and other times, it’s been real stubborn to treat, possibly due to the fact it’s a weight bearing joint, it’s a rascal for sure. But I personally have never had this and I had no clue where it came from. Just BAM out of nowhere!
Now, I know well enough that nothing comes out of nowhere, I’ve been saying that to patients and clients for decades. So I started to think– did my body give me any warning signals?
Aha moment! My achilles tendons have been killing me when I get out of bed for the last few months. Once I’m walking a bit they loosen up but it’s been almost every morning. I guess I chalked it up to old age! Oh and wait a minute, every single time I’ve seen the chiropractor this year, he says my calves are SOOOOOO super tight! He presses on them deep enough to make me wince and we move on. You know, I walk A LOT. If I’m on Long Island, I always hit 10,000 steps a day, but if I’m in the city which I am maybe 3-4 days a week, I can hit as high as 22,000 steps in a day! I am neglecting to stretch and another thing, when I’m in the city, I don’t drink enough water because who wants to constantly be looking for a bathroom, right? I have tight calves naturally, so with all the above, they started pulling on my achilles tendon and that set off the fascia in my foot. It’s like the whole system from knee to toe just seized up and tightened. Just a few clues and it’s obvious to me now how it all got tangled up!
I called my chiropractor immediately, researched a ton online, of course, and started my course of treatment without NSAIDS! Why without NSAIDS? Because I didn’t want to ‘feel better’ and start walking on it normally if it wasn’t time yet. I didn’t want to set myself back and I wanted to know my true progress.
How to Treat a Plantar Fasciitis Flare Up?
Let’s be honest, Chinese medicine practitioners do not like ice, we go for heat when we can to speed up the circulation in the area so healing can occur. I checked in with my body and my intuition said ice would help, so ice it was! I got one inexpensive, small water bottle like Poland Springs and froze it. Once frozen, I put my foot directly on it’s side, like I was attempting to stand on it, going as deeply and slowly as I could. It was tough, but it also felt good. Breathe…
The foam roller has become my best friend in recent years. For this one lay on your abdomen, have a friend or anyone willing take the roller and roll out your calves, up and down and from side to side and tell them to not be nice about it. Again, breathe…
I also watched a ton of YouTube videos, I like this guy the best. Stretches for getting out of flare up and for long term prevention.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR AND ONIONS
In the morning, 1 cup of ACV with 6 cups of hot water in a small bin or something similar and submerge, leave them there for 30 minutes. The medicinal properties of ACV treat inflammation and reduce pain and I believe it helped immensely. As for the onions, urban legend said to sleep with them in your sock, I did! I didn’t care, I was ready to do anything. Let’s just say the jury is still out on that one.
In the evening, either for just a foot soak or a full body bath, mix epsom salt with water and soak for at least 20 minutes. For a whole bath, I might use 2 cups of Epsom Salt, for just a foot soak, only a few tablespoons. Epsom brings down inflammation and is technically magnesium sulfate, magnesium is good for relaxing muscles, which is why I recommend doing it at night before bed.
Yes, acupuncture can treat PF too. It can be a long road as I mentioned, you need to attack it from all different sides and acupuncture is a wonderful addition. I would recommended finding an acupuncturist that will not/does not put needles into the actual pain or foot. Call around and ask for practitioners that use Dr. Tan’s Balance Method, we never put needles where the pain is and trust the meridian system. For pain from PF, needles would usually be administered in the hand.
WEAR SOMETHING ON YOUR FEET
I felt I needed something to support my feet, but all my shoes had great arch support so it made the pain worse! Then I realized I had a pair of Crocs, they worked out well, support without pushing on the pain. Which makes me realize Crocs aren’t great for support at all and probably shouldn’t be worn if you are trying to prevent PF.
STAY OFF YOUR FEET
As hard as it is, I had to stay off my feet to give my body time to heal. Think of it as a staycation and catch up on Netflix.
Within a few days, I was feeling much, much better and within a week, back to normal. But now I have to watch it, because I do think once the light switch gets turn on for just about anything, it is now a bit of weak spot in the system, so prevention is always key.
How do I Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?
Stretch, stretch, stretch!
As we get older, our bodies are not as flexible as they once were, so stretching is key!
Get New Shoes and Orthotics
Don’t wear worn out athletic shoes, they are not doing you any favors! As a rule of thumb, if you are a runner you should replace your shoes every 400 miles, for everyone else it’s every 6 months. And if you are worried at all, lose the heels. Sorry, not sorry. Your feet (and your teeth) are so important, it’s just not worth it! Think about it, you can live with tennis elbow, you can even live with neck pain. But you can’t live, if you can’t walk.
Add Low Impact Exercise to Your Regimen
I love walking and I won’t stop, AND I think I should look into learning how to swim. By adding a low impact exercise, our body gets a totally different activity and swimming is very good to the joints for the long haul.
So moral of the story, things don’t just happen out of nowhere. I should have listened when the achilles issue started but I ignored it and then I could barely walk. Pay attention when the body sends you signals, tune in and see what your body needs and always take care of your feet.
Christina Martin, L.Ac.