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How I Relieved My Plantar Fasciitis, Heel, and Foot Pain

Retirement has brought many perks but the downside is poorer health and a fixed income.

My poor old feet—not a pretty sight.

My poor old feet—not a pretty sight.

Our Feet Are Complicated

Our feet use a series of bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and nerves to support us throughout our lives. The skin of our feet, if neglected, can become dry and, in more severe cases, crack and produce small cuts that increase your risk of infection.

Come to think of it, our feet take a lot of battering from all the weight we put on them, our daily activities, and our general disregard for their wellbeing. Let’s face it. We take them for granted—that is, until it is too late.

How Does the Plantar Fascia Contribute to Foot Pain?

The plantar fascia is a long, flat ligament that lies under the foot and connects the heel of the foot to the toes. Over time, this ligament can become inflamed. The medical term for this condition is plantar fasciitis, a painful and debilitating condition that takes time to heal.

The bad news is that treating this painful condition is not always easy. The good news is that recovery is usually possible.

My Foot Problems

My feet were quite pretty (I guess) at one point in time, although they were always on the larger side. In older age, they are no longer a pretty sight.

A lump appeared on the top of my right foot a few years ago, and this was really the start of my foot problems. This lump would increase in size after certain activities—almost to the size of an egg—and sometimes caused a fair amount of pain.

I Was Diagnosed With a Ganglion Cyst

A medical professional confirmed it was a ganglion cyst, and surgery was scheduled though never carried out. On the day of the planned surgical procedure, the ganglion was fairly flat, and the surgeon sent me home without treatment.

At one point, I had been given an injection of cortisone in my foot, and it helped briefly. However, over time, the cyst hardened. I was recently told that my ganglion cyst is now bone. My right foot now has a much higher arch than my left foot.

I May Also Have Plantar Fasciitis

The pain in my right foot—under the heel and, at times, at the ankle—has been worsening for some time. Standing for long periods of time and even walking has been so painful.

At a recent visit to a chiropodist, plantar fasciitis was suggested. The chiropodist asked if I had ever broken my foot since the top of my foot is rather deformed. I have yet to visit my doctor for medical confirmation.

We went on our scheduled vacation, and I walked and walked and walked. My foot became ever more painful. Of course, I knew that rest would help, but who spends a small fortune to go someplace for vacation and sit indoors with their feet up?

Weeks later, once I was back at home, the pain continued to worsen, with some days worse than others. I began researching plantar fasciitis and have since made some changes that I will discuss below. If there are no improvements in a week or so, I will check with my doctor.

I would urge readers to always consult a medical professional. If I was not retired, I would have to consult my doctor as I probably would not be able to work.

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What I Did to Reduce My Plantar Fasciitis Pain

Some days, I still struggle with plantar fasciitis. However, the good news is that I now have more good days than bad.

The following is what I have learned so far from my experience and will be updated as necessary:

  • Put shoes on as you step out of bed. Ideally, your footwear should not be flat-soled or high-heeled but rather have a low heel. They should also offer your arch some support.
  • If you wear Skechers footwear, they could be part of the problem. I fell in love with Skechers this year and was blown away by their look and level of comfort. I could walk for miles, and it felt as if I was walking on a cushion of air. However, while researching online, I came across at least one podiatrist recommending people take a cautious approach to Skechers footwear. Dr. Vanessa Hadchiti says Skechers footwear may be fine in some cases, but her advice is don't wear them all day, each and every day, do not wear them for running or long walks, and never wear them with orthotics.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes that offer foot support. If necessary, buy made-to-measure footwear from a specialist.
  • Compression socks can offer support and help ease pain. I purchased compression ankle socks, and they are proving a good investment. Knee-high versions of these socks are also available. They are ideal if you undertake sporting activities, but at this stage of my foot problems, they simply help ease pain and offer support. My advice is to wear them on both feet, even if only one foot is problematic. You may be walking in an uneven way due to foot pain, and this may prevent problems from developing in your other foot.
  • Taking pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication at regular intervals is also proving beneficial for me.
  • Try soaking and massaging your feet. I decided to use my foot spa to soak my feet because I had the idea that gently stretching my feet in water might help ease the pain, and it did. I got even greater relief when I rolled my feet on the small rollers in the foot spa.
  • Treating with ice is having a minimally positive impact for me.
  • Balance periods of activity with periods of rest.
  • I am on a weight loss diet to reduce the load I put on my feet, but I'm also carefully looking at what I eat to ensure I get a good balance of vitamins.

Remember that recovery can take some time—even up to a year.

Surgery and Plantar Fasciitis

Surgery is available in cases of chronic plantar fasciitis.

Usually, an orthopedic surgeon cuts the plantar fascia to relieve tension, but cryosurgery, which involves freezing certain sensory nerves, is now also available.

Remember that all surgeries have risks and should never be undertaken lightly. Results of surgery for plantar fasciitis are mixed. Always talk with your doctor to determine if surgery is necessary or beneficial for your situation. In the case of plantar fasciitis, surgery is generally the last option for recovery.

How to Prevent Foot Problems

Prevention is always the best option. Here are some ideas to prevent foot problems such as plantar fasciitis developing:

  • Wear good footwear and take time to regularly rest your feet. This should help keep your feet in good shape.
  • Wear the correct footwear for sporting activities such as running and jogging.
  • Do gentle foot stretches as you relax.
  • Stiletto heel shoes are fashionable women’s footwear, but they are not good for your foot and leg health. Only wear so-called ‘Killer Heels’ for a limited period of time.
  • Avoid very flat shoes or walking barefoot.
  • Shoes that have a small heel are a good option.
  • Good sports footwear is rarely totally flat.
  • Control your weight.
  • Take action at the first sign of foot problems. Go to a podiatrist.
  • Avoid activities that require you to stand for a long period of time.

Take good care of your feet as they are priceless.

A Word of Caution

If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, get worse, or worry you, consult a health professional.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Ethel Smith


Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on October 13, 2018:

Thank you Lindacee. I visited the doctor Thursday and was in touch with Physio Friday. They are sending me details of different exercises. It is difficult to explain just how painful this condition is but your husband will know. Hope he stays on top of it.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on October 12, 2018:

That is a painful condition. My husband has a bad bout with it a few years ago. He went to the podiatrist and got on a regular regimen to help relieve the pain. He did light foot stretches, iced his arch and he took a pretty strong anti-inflammatory for a short period of time to relieve the swelling and pain.

He now wears expensive athletic shoes all the time even when he gets out of bed and has good insoles for support. It's pretty much gone but minor pain comes back once in while but not as painful as it was.

Hope yours is feeling much better. I'm sharing this article with my husband so he can keep it on hand. It's a great reminder for caring for our feet.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 22, 2018:

Thanks Liz. I hope not.

I have always walked about with bare feet at home which I guess has not helped. Increased weight and my strange foot deformities have not helped eitger. However it is only my right foot which to me inducates it is more to do with its oddities.

Liz Westwood from UK on September 21, 2018:

I have read your hub with interest. Being quite tall with big feet I have never gone much for the killer heels. But you have left me wondering whether the flip flops and slippers that I wear when I work from home, being flat soled, could be storing up problems for me in the future.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 21, 2018:

Thanks Louise. They arrived today and are on my feet now. Fingers crossed x

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on September 21, 2018:

I hope the compression socks work for you Ethel. Do take care.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 21, 2018:

Many thanks Peggy

Always good to hear from someone who has expereinced the same. The pain some days has been dreadful.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2018:

Oh, how I feel your pain! I have had plantar fasciitis several times during my life. I hope those compression socks work for you. I did not know about them the last time I suffered from that malady. There are also little heel cups that can be inserted in your shoes which seemed to help me. The good news is that it gradually disappears over time. One time I had the cortisone injections but it did not seem to help that much. Hope you feel better soon!

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 20, 2018:

PS Louise I have ordered some compression socks which are due delivery Friday. Will update hub with how I get on with these

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 20, 2018:

Thanks Louise.

The pain has been dreadful. A reminder to take care indeed Louise

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on September 20, 2018:

We take our feet for granted, don't we? I'm sorry to hear about the problems you've been having with your feet. I really should take better care of mine.

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