At the onset of plantar fasciitis one of the best things that you can do is rest your feet. By doing this initially you may avoid having the condition progress into a more severe case. The basic issue of plantar fasciitis is the there are tears in the plantar fascia, and it is pretty easy to aggravate the tears more by continuing to do the activity that is causing problems. It is also very possible that during running or walking you will alter your strides and gait to accomodate the pain. This can possibly lead to further injuries to the hip, back, or knee.
Active people, especially athletes, often have a hard time giving the feet the rest for plantar fasciitis that is required. It is highly recommended that you adjust your exercise routines to workouts that put less stress on the feet. For example, try swimming instead of running. Do cycling in place of hiking. Try lower impact aerobic activities in place of softball or volleyball. It IS possible to maintain pretty good conditioning even while giving the feet a break from the higher stress activities.
The initial period of rest for plantar fasciitis should normally be only a week to ten days. Also during this time try applying ice to the bottom of the feet and the heel, and keep the feet elevated when possible. Stay off of hard surfaces as much as you can, and try to stay seated instead of standing. Some studies have shown that about 25% of plantar fasciitis sufferers list rest as the most effective treatment option. Likely these were the people that treated the condition early-on before it became problematic.
When returning to more strenuous activities, do so gradually to avoid reaggravating the condition. Use the preventive measures described on this site to keep the injury from recurring. There are numerous therapies, exercises, and orthotic devices to continue treatments if needed; many are described here on this site.
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