Glen Gore on the bike. Photograph by Cycho Media / Darren Goddard

DIY for Sore Soles

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Try these five simple do-it-yourself home remedies for Plantar Fasciitis. – BY SEAN FALCONER

If you are experiencing persistent pain and stiffness in the bottom of your foot, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis, one of the most common running injuries. This condition is caused by inflammation of the thick tissue, or fascia, that runs along the bottom of the foot, and some contributing factors could be tight hamstrings, back, calves and Achilles tendons, or running in shoes that do not provide your feet with enough arch support.

The condition may also be caused by a muscle imbalance in the hips or pelvis, which can cause you to make a slight compensation in your stride, including rotating your one hip more than the other, which in turn places more stress on one leg than the other, sometimes causing a build-up of pain down in the feet.

If you pick up plantar fasciitis, you need to stop or reduce your running, and then follow these steps:

1. Stretch the fascia: Prop your feet up against the wall, keeping your arch and heel flat so the toes stretch. Hold for a count of 10 and repeat up to 10 times, three or four times per day.

2. Roll the arch: Stretch and then roll the bottom of your foot for 10 minutes on a frozen water bottle, or on a frozen golf ball, starting from the front and working your way back. Put good pressure on each of the inner, central and outer sections, rolling each for at least 15 seconds.

3. Foam-roll everything: A tight backline of muscles, even tight shoulders, can lead to plantar fasciitis, so work on loosening tight muscles with a controlled stretching programme and by foam-rolling all your muscles above the feet.

4. Get yourself balanced: Correct the muscle imbalance in your hips or pelvis with a strengthening programme focused on calf- and pelvis-strengthening. (You will need expert help with this from a physio or biokineticist.)

5. Change your shoes: If your current running shoes so not provide enough arch support, you may want to try a different model or manufacturer, but keep in mind that many people blame their shoes for a running injury when the problem actually stems from their muscle misalignment or a strength imbalance.

The last two of these remedies are more long-term solutions, but in the meantime you can use the first three simple home remedies to temporarily relieve the pain.

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