- Foot arch problems (both flat feet and high arches);
- Obesity or sudden weight gain;
- Long-distance running (especially on uneven surfaces);
- Tight Achilles tendon (the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel);
- Shoes with poor arch support or, in case of women, high heels.
How to recover
First of all you should try to acknowledge what caused the plantar fasciitis and stop doing right away.
So, if you've gained weight, get busy and drop some pounds, soon. If you've started jogging or doing impact aerobics, stop. If you work on a hard surface, make sure you have some serious arch support in your shoes and shock absorbing soles.
Secondly you should get the inflammation down. If the pain is severe applying ice on is always recommended, also using some anti-inflammatory topical cream can help.
Personally, instead of taking over-the-counter pain relievers (such as Tylenol), I prefer to increase my daily intake of fish oil capsules. There’s nothing better for our body then fish oil to treat inflammations.
I like also to drink a lot of pineapple juice as it’s the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory we can use.
Until the pain goes away completely, avoid walking barefoot or using flip-flops. The risk is to re-injure your foot over and over again. Instead, at home keep a pair of slip-ons with excellent arch supports always on and remember to use shoes with excellent support throughout the day.
When you stand up, you might re-aggravate your plantar fascia. So, before you get up, straighten your legs (take the bends out of your knees) and use the muscles on the fronts of your shins to pull your toes back towards your shins. Extend your heels away. Do this several times before your put your feet on the floor. Do it every time. It's called dorsiflexion of the ankle and by doing that you will greatly speed up your recovery process.
Calf muscle stretching might also be helpful: the classic runners stretch by leaning into a wall is a good thing to do.
The thing that I found works best for me is to sit on my heels for a few minutes in what in yoga is called the thunderbolt pose. This pose helps rebuilding the shape of the feet arches. It works better if you can have your heels close together, rather than apart.
However, if you experience knee pain while doing this pose: STOP! It doesn’t serve you any good to try to heal your plantar fascia but hurting your knee at the same time.
I also found that practising Bikram Yoga is helping me dealing with the fasciitis. I skip the three balacing on one-leg poses (standing head to knee, standing bow and balancing stick) on my injured left food but do all the others. The heat and some of the poses proves to be very helpful in the recovery process; and after class I almost feel no pain at all (which is pretty encouraging!)