We’re back from hiatus! I enjoyed my break, but I have to admit it’s a challenge to get back into the swing of things. A blog post three times a week?! That can’t be right. I can’t possibly have that much to say!
In fact, I was having some trouble coming up with a post topic for today–at least one that didn’t involve any research. But as so often happens, the blog gods took pity on me and dropped a topic in my lap.
I was watching some matches at my tennis club this morning when a friend approached me to ask if I’d ever dealt with plantar fasciitis. (She seemed to already know that I had, which makes me suspect I was a whiny baby about it back then!)
Now, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. But I dispensed the general advice that helped me during my own bout a number of years ago. Since plantar fasciitis seems to be a fairly common complaint among tennis players, I’m going to pass that advice on to you.
- Don’t walk around barefoot, or in sandals or other unsupportive footwear. Ever. Even in the house. Wear lace-up, supportive, sensible shoes. Running shoes are ideal.
- Put on your shoes the moment you get out of bed. Don’t start walking around until your shoes are on! (Yes, you’ll look silly wearing sneakers with your frilly nightie. Get over it.)
- Before you get out of bed in the morning, take five minutes to stretch your foot. Flex it and hold it for a minute. Release and repeat a few times. This will help reduce the pain that’s often worse with those first few steps of the day. During the day, if you’ve been seated for a while, stretch your foot again before standing.
- Several times a day, run your foot back and forth over a tennis ball. You can also use a frozen water bottle for this purpose. (My feet are already cold enough, thank you very much, so I prefer the tennis ball.)
Finally, I showed my friend how to wrap her foot to provide extra support during the day. I found this technique online years ago, but I haven’t been able to find a link for this exact wrapping pattern since then. Videos showing other wrapping techniques are available online, and they probably work just as well. But I’m going to stick with what I know. I can tell you this wrap gave me enormous relief from the discomfort.
I buy a 4-pack of generic sports tape from CVS, available for maybe $10. It’s not the stickiest tape around, but it does the job. (My friend just happened to have a roll of sports tape with her. Weird, right? This is how I know the blog gods want me to write about this topic.)
During my bout with plantar fasciitis, I wrapped my foot twice a day, once before playing tennis and again after my shower. Here’s how it’s done:
After I wrapped my friend’s foot this morning and she put her sock and shoe back on, she was surprised at how much better she felt.
It’s possible the wrap offers some curative value, but its main purpose is to alleviate the pain. You’ll still need some patience, as plantar fasciitis can be a stubborn problem.
And when you’re finally cured of the pain, do yourself a favor. Limit the time you spend in flimsy footwear during the summer. During my own bout, a podiatrist told me he sees the majority of his plantar fasciitis patients during the late summer and fall, after people have spent months in unsupportive shoes. I’ve tried to be mindful of that ever since. Whenever I begin to feel a twinge in my heel, I switch to my sneakers and break out the tape. I manage to nip it in the bud every time.
Hope these tips help anyone suffering from PF pain. Here’s to happy feet on court!