Updated 10/8/23; Originally posted 2/16/22
Plantar fasciitis is a whole body problem that you feel in your feet. When the bottom of your foot hurts all the time (when you wake up in the morning, when you stand or walk for too long, after sitting for a while), you just want it to stop and never return. Luckily for you, wellness lifestyle choices are a perfect plantar fasciitis remedy for most people. The same proactive choices will reduce your immediate discomfort and work to prevent the return of hurting feet.
Table of Contents
- Plantar Fasciitis Exercises and Stretches
- Magnesium to Reduce Plantar Fasciitis Pain
- Reduce Your Stress to Stop Plantar Fasciitis
- Hydrate to Avoid Plantar Fasciitis
- Prevent Plantar Fasciitis by Shifting to New Movement Habits
- Manage Plantar Fasciitis Recovery with Red/Infrared Light Therapy
- Heal from Plantar Fasciitis via Infrared Sauna
Plantar Fasciitis Exercises and Stretches
Many clinicians have a set of exercises that they assign patients when they are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. They often focus on stretching the bottom of the foot, the achilles tendon (the thickest and strongest tendon in the body), and the calf – the problem areas. Sometimes you will be directed to a special sock to wear at night to help stretch out the bottom of your foot while you sleep.
I advocate a whole body approach to dealing with this uncomfortable condition – with extra work for the lower legs and feet. We begin with gentle actions to release tension; everything we do should feel good so that your brain allows the pain to fade away. My clients have found that the expanded array of exercises and stretches offered through a combination of yoga, fascial release, and Pilates equipment classes have helped them make fast positive progress to a no-pain life. Continuing these types of beneficial movement after you are “healed” is a crucial part of your wellness lifestyle that will keep you pain free.
Magnesium to Reduce Plantar Fasciitis Pain
Magnesium is essential for muscles to be able to relax. Almost all Americans are deficient in magnesium. It is simply not present in our modern day food supply. Many of our daily actions deplete our bodies of much needed magnesium. We must supplement conscientiously.
There are many forms of magnesium supplements out there – some are better for your brain, others target your heart, still others are all about stimulating your bowels to help you detoxify and be able to sit comfortably! Which of the 11 forms of magnesium do you need right now? Magnesium chelate helps with muscle recovery and overall health. Magnesium bisglycinate helps with chronic stress and anxiety. Magnesium malate helps with mood and chronic pain. All of them can be taken in supplement form. They can even be drunk – I enjoy Neuro-Mag or Magnesium Breakthrough in the evening as part of my supplement protocol.
The easiest way to up your magnesium directly to your feet is to take a warm/hot Epsom Salts foot bath (or full bath). The magnesium sulfate dissolved in the water will absorb through the pores in your feet and go directly to the needed areas to stimulate relaxation. Epsom salts are easily available at a grocery store or drug store (get plain – no added fragrance or chemicals). Get out your bucket or fancy footbath and get soaking!
Reduce Your Stress to Stop Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the fascia within your feet and lower legs holds so much tension that bearing your own bodyweight on your feet hurts. This tension is present in your entire body but is clearly more intense in your feet when you are in pain there. Tension is the same thing as stress.
Your body, specifically the fascia system in your body, holds mental, emotional, and physical stress all in the same way. When it comes to stress reduction, they are all important factors. If it sounds crazy that the stress from taking care of your kids or parents might manifest itself in cranky painful feet, add some stress reducing activities and see if it improves! You can thank me later 🙂
One simple stress reduction action is to add meditation to your life. If you are taking an Epsom salt footbath, why not turn on one of Zoa’s Personalized Meditations you can calm your mind and feet at the same time?
Hydrate to Avoid Plantar Fasciitis
Dry fascia becomes still, hard, immobile, and painful – you become cranky! Hydration of your fascia happens in several ways. Drinking water (not coffee or tea or juice) gets the water into your system. It is not good enough to fill a glass with water and put it on the counter or your desk – your fascia needs EZ water! Sipping all day is better than downing an entire glass at once when it comes to hydrating your fascia.
In order to keep the water inside long enough to get to the feet rather than your bladder, you need electrolytes in your water.
If you are already eating a healthy diet of home cooked foods or are following a higher fat/lower carbohydrate diet, consider adding LMNT electrolytes to your water bottle to help you better hydrate.
If you tend to eat more processed food, restaurant food, and have high blood pressure, your body will want plenty of potassium and magnesium in your electrolyte mix instead of sodium.
Another excellent choice for hydration gets you a 2-for-1 benefit. Make your last beverage of the evening a cup of Neuro-Mag and you will get your water, a healthy dose of magnesium for your feet while you sleep, and better sleep too!
Prevent Plantar Fasciitis by Shifting to New Movement Habits
We all have habits to our movement and muscular work on a daily basis. Your dominant arm works harder and more often than the other – it is your dominant one after all! How you stand, how you walk, and your overall posture might be encouraging your plantar fasciitis. For example, if you stand with locked knees, your hamstrings will get tight and that tension will travel down to your feet. Oops! If your ankles do not move much (try a few ankle circles while you keep reading), your feet and ankles are holding tension – could it be too much?
A movement self-analysis or an analysis by a movement professional will help you understand how to shift your movement habits to ones that will prevent plantar fasciitis. Adding new movement options to your week such as yoga or Pilates would support your desired new movements!
Manage Plantar Fasciitis Recovery with Red/Infrared Light Therapy
Red and Infrared light therapy is a wonder tool for many people. When you bathe in the red lights, you stimulate energy production, reduce tension in the body, increase collagen production, improve circulation, and encourage the brain to establish a better balance to all the systems of your body. Part stress relief, part inflammation reduction, part healing – red and infrared light therapy will speed your journey to pain free feet!
Red light therapy can be targeted to a localized area – like a foot – by using a handheld device like the LumiNIR light therapy wand or the Joovv mini panel that I rent to clients in the Southern Maryland area.
You can also choose to expose your entire body to a large red/infrared light panel like the Joovv array in my Meditation Cave.
If you live far from La Plata, MD and are ready to purchase a Joovv panel for your own home, please use my Joovv affiliate link.
Heal from Plantar Fasciitis via Infrared Sauna
Heat from an infrared sauna brings blood to your entire body – including those far away tootsies! If you need a circulation boost in order to hydrate your feet, ease your foot pain, and calm both body and mind – a sauna session could be just the thing you need.
If you are debating between a hot bath and a hot sauna session, consider that the sauna’s far infrared light helps create EZ water – the form of water that is required for your fascia. You can’t buy this special type of water but you can make it easily in the sauna!
You can choose the heat level applied to your legs, your torso, and the warming pad underneath so you get blood flow and warmth to just the right places!