Say goodbye to heel pain with these effective treatments and lifestyle changes for plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is a common yet debilitating foot condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The big question is, can you cure plantar fasciitis in just one week?
Curing plantar fasciitis in one week is difficult, unless it’s a mild condition or diagnosed early. In most cases, this chronic condition often requires a multi-faceted approach to treatment. The length of time it takes to cure plantar fasciitis can vary greatly depending on the severity of the condition, the underlying causes, and the individual's response to treatment.
However, if you have identified the symptoms early enough, there’s a 7-day treatment plan to get you back on your feet. But first, let’s discuss exactly what plantar fasciitis is and a few common misconceptions about it.
Understanding Plantar Fasciitis
Common Misconceptions About Plantar Fasciitis
There are some common misconceptions about plantar fasciitis. Some include that it's caused by having flat feet, high arches, or taut calf muscles. While some of these are true, you should know that the condition is often the result of a combination of factors. The factors range from overuse, age, and obesity, to high-impact activities like running.
But chiefly, many people develop plantar fasciitis from wearing the wrong footwear. Shoes and sneakers that lack proper arch support and/or heel cushioning place undue strain on the plantar fascia, triggering the injury.
If you’ve received a recent diagnosis, or you’re experiencing a flare-up, you likely want to treat it immediately. You’re in luck, because we’ve put together a 7-day guide on how to cure your plantar fasciitis in just one week.
Step-by-Step Guide to Curing Plantar Fasciitis in One Week
Day 1: Initial Assessment and Rest
By the time you receive a diagnosis for plantar fasciitis, you’ve likely already been resting for a few days, or weeks, even. And though you may want to start rehabilitating immediately, one more day of proper rest is critical to a quick recovery. This means no running, jumping, exercising, or walking (unless it’s an emergency).
Fortunately, the first two steps on Day 1 are the easiest: RICE & night splints.
RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
The RICE method is a simple, effective treatment for plantar fasciitis and other soft tissue injuries. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, and is a widely recognized and recommended treatment for reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Rest: You need to stay off your feet as much as possible while treating plantar fasciitis, as it’s more than likely that weight-bearing issues are the primary cause of the pain and inflammation in the first place. Rest will limit the strain on the plantar fascia and promote healing within the first 24 hours.
Ice: Apply ice to the affected area to help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a few ice cubes in a towel and apply to the affected area for 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off. Repeat this cycle several times per day.
Compression: Before you put your feet up and begin the icing sequence, be sure to wrap your foot with a compression wrap to reduce swelling and improve circulation to the affected area. You may have to replace the compression wrap after a few icing cycles due to wetness, which is normal.
Elevation: Place your foot up on a pillow as you lay down or on a chair if you prefer to sit. This will limit the blood flow to the foot, which will reduce swelling. The less inflammation around the soft tissue, the easier the condition will be to treat in a few days. You should also place a pillow underneath your foot when sleeping to limit blood flow during those 6-8 hours.
Anti-inflammatory medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can be an effective way to manage the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. These medications work by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that cause inflammation, reducing pain and swelling.
Common NSAIDs used for plantar fasciitis include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, which you can buy over-the-counter at your local pharmacy or convenience store. Follow the directions on the bottle and check with your doctor before proceeding.
You can’t cure plantar fasciitis in a singular day, but mild cases can be resolved within a week. But if you want to make sure you don’t develop the condition again, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your daily habits & lifestyle.
The first, and arguably the most important change that needs to be made is your footwear. Regardless of whether you injured yourself playing a sport, standing too much, or simply having pre-existing foot problems, you need to pick up a pair of arch support sneakers that also provide ample heel cushioning. This needs to happen on Day 1 so that you can limit the damage done to the plantar fascia when walking, even if it’s just around your home.
In the same vein, avoid wearing any shoes that place your foot in an unnatural position, like heels or unsupportive sandals.
Day 2: Cold Therapy and Taping
More Icing/Cold Therapy
Taping is another effective method to support the inflamed area. There are a few different ways to tape your foot to support the arch and reduce strain on the plantar fascia. One popular method is the low-dye taping technique, which provides support to the arch of the foot, redistributing stress and offering relief.
Start by anchoring a strip of athletic or medical tape to the outside of the foot, just below the little toe. Pull it diagonally across the arch (underneath your foot), finishing below the big toe. Then, apply several horizontal strips, overlapping them, from the ball of the foot to the heel, ensuring the arch is lifted and supported. You can layer it with a compression wrap or compression sock to prevent the tape from coming off throughout the day as well.
By the end of Day 2, individuals should feel a noticeable reduction in pain and increased support in their foot's arch, setting the stage for the stretching and strengthening exercises that we’ll get into on Day 3 and beyond.
Day 3: Stretching the Plantar Fascia and Calf Muscle
Why and When to Stretch
Stretching is a crucial component in the treatment and management of plantar fasciitis. It “significantly reduced pain and improved gait in patients with PF'' in a randomized control trial conducted by several university scientists. It’s a common belief that you should begin stretching as soon as the injury occurs. But because the inflammatory phase lasts for up to 72 hours, stretching within that time frame can actually do more harm than good. It can cause the tissue to develop micro-tears, further delaying your recovery.
But once the inflammation has begun to subside, it’s time to make stretching a part of your daily routine. When done properly, it can reduce the tension and strain on the plantar fascia, which in turn reduces the pain that you’re feeling. Plus, they’ll improve your overall foot and leg health in the long-run.
How to Stretch Your Plantar Fascia
Because the plantar fascia and calf muscle are connected through the heel, the techniques used to stretch them are quite similar. To stretch your plantar fascia, sit on the edge of a chair, then bend over to reach your toes. Gently pull your toes upwards towards your shin until you feel a light stretch. Don’t pull too hard, as this could worsen the injury. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds, then release for 2-3 seconds. Repeat for a total of 10 reps at least 3 times per day on both feet, even if only one of them hurts.
Though you may find it difficult to believe, the tension in your calf muscle impacts the pain felt in your plantar fascia. So to limit this tension, and subsequently, the pain underneath your foot, you need to stretch your calf. To do so, stand facing a wall and place your hands against it for stability. Place one foot forward and the other 1-2 feet behind, gently leaning forward towards the wall while keeping your back heel on the ground. You should feel a stretch throughout the back of your lower leg, down into your Achilles tendon. Again, hold the stretch for 5 seconds, then release for 2-3 seconds. Repeat for a total of 10 reps at least 3 times per day on both legs.
Both of these stretching techniques will help to alleviate the tension in your entire lower leg, which in turn will get you back on your feet in a shorter amount of time. But over the long-term, stretching will significantly reduce the possibility of a second plantar fasciitis diagnosis, as well as other lower leg injuries.
Day 4: Strengthening Exercises
The Role of Strengthening in Long-Term Health
Specific Strengthening Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
Targeted exercises can help strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot, providing better arch support and reducing the load on the plantar fascia.
One popular exercise is the towel curl. To perform this movement, sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the ground and a towel spread in front of them. Using only your toes, attempt to scrunch the towel towards yourself, engaging the muscles of the foot. Another exercise involves marble pickups, which is exactly what it sounds like. Place a few marbles on the towel to prevent them from rolling all over the floor, then use your toes to pick up marbles and place them elsewhere. Though these exercises may seem childish and take a bit of practice to get the hang of, they’re instrumental in strengthening the plantar fascia and foot muscles.
Day 5: Upgrade to Arch Supports and Insoles
Benefits of Insoles and Braces
Arch Supports and Orthotics
Day 6: Advanced Therapies and Massages
Exploring Physical Therapy Options
In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to visit a physical therapist (PT) to cure your plantar fascia. But because every condition is variable based on the cause and individual, we recommend visiting a PT or another trained therapist to tailor the treatment to your needs.
They may use techniques like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or even laser therapy to reduce inflammation and promote healing in the plantar fascia. These modalities, combined with guided exercises and stretches, can accelerate recovery and ensure the foot regains its full range of motion without pain.
Self-Massage Techniques and Tools
Day 7: Medication and Long-Term Planning
Understanding the Role of Anti-Inflammatories
Planning Ahead: What’s Next?
While the one-week treatment plan for plantar fasciitis offers a roadmap to significant relief, especially for mild conditions, the condition will require ongoing attention to prevent future flare-ups.
Continue to stretch and strength train regularly, wear supportive footwear as often as possible, and rest your feet after long bouts of standing, walking, running, or jumping.
When to See a Doctor
Ideally, you’ll be able to treat your condition in a matter of days or weeks without much medical intervention. However, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the following:
Severe Pain or Swelling – If you experience severe pain or swelling in the affected area, you must see a doctor as soon as possible.
No Improvement After One Week – You must see a doctor if you don't see any improvement after one week of treatment.
Presence of Other Foot Conditions – According to findings, other problems with your foot could worsen plantar fasciitis symptoms. In the elderly, for example, the fascia loses its flexibility with time.
It's essential to take proper care of your feet and follow the recommended treatments. Doing this helps to speed up healing and avoid future complications. Once you have mastered treating your feet correctly, you already know how to cure plantar fasciitis in one week.
If you are experiencing plantar fasciitis symptoms, you should immediately see a doctor. You can be on your way to pain-free feet in one week with the right treatments and lifestyle changes.
Is it possible to cure plantar fasciitis in one week?
It is unlikely to cure plantar fasciitis in one week, as it is a chronic condition that requires a multi-faceted approach to treatment, including rest, physical therapy, stretching, orthotics, ice therapy, and pain management. However, mild cases can be resolved in as little as 1-2 weeks.
Is plantar fasciitis a permanent condition?
In most cases, plantar fasciitis is a treatable condition and can be effectively managed with proper care and attention. However, the length of time it takes to achieve significant improvement can vary greatly depending on the individual's needs and the severity of the condition.
What lifestyle changes can I make to speed up the healing process?
Wearing proper footwear, maintaining a healthy weight, stretching regularly, avoiding high-impact activities, using orthotics, and getting adequate rest and sleep.
Can surgery cure plantar fasciitis?
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to cure plantar fasciitis. Yet, surgery is only recommended for severe cases of plantar fasciitis. "Severe" means plantar fasciitis that does not respond to other treatments. Surgery involves releasing the plantar fascia to reduce tension and relieve pain.
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