Ah…it’s morning. The sun’s shining, the birds are singing, and you’d love to just hop right out of bed, but alas you cannot, for you know what awaits you—searing heel pain!

This painful problem is called plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis), and it’s the result of inflammation of a thick band of tissues which runs along the underside of your foot from your heel bone to your toes. When you walk, this band tautens to produce a rigid foot for the push off phase of gait. One or both or your feet can be affected at the same time. The people at greatest risk for plantar fasciitis are runners, those who are overweight (66% of us), and women who are pregnant.

While the first symptoms arise when you do—in the morning, they tend to ease as you take your first ten steps or so. However, if left untreated, this heel pain can continue on to a lesser degree throughout the day, and get much worse with prolonged standing or after prolonged sitting.

The cure can be quite simple and often times you can bring about its healing on your own. Here are 3 things you can do:

• Make sure you have a supportive pair of shoes with good arch support.
• Make sure you stretch out your plantar fascia three times per day—when you first arise, midday and then again in the evening.
• Make sure you have adequate strength in you calf muscles. Apply this method and hopefully you’ll find yourself hopping out of bed in no time!

Plantar Facsia Stretch
Facing a wall, place one shoeless foot in a position where your heel is on the floor and the underside of your toes are pressed up against the wall. Lean your body forward so your toes bend backward some and your calf muscle tightens. Hold x 30 seconds; repeat twice.

Calf Muscle Strengthening
Stand on one foot while holding onto something for balance. Raise your heel up as high off the floor as you can, then slowly lower it back down. Begin with as many as you can perform at that full height. Build up the number of reps as your strength is enhanced. Your goal is 20 reps, 2-3x day.