Plantar fasciitis, one of the most common causes of heel pain in the elderly, occurs when the band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed. Fortunately, there are some easy ways older adults can alleviate the discomfort related to this condition. Professional caregivers in Westfield have compiled a list of 5 treatments for plantar fasciitis that have often proven effective.
1. Use the R.I.C.E. Method
Seniors with plantar fasciitis can utilize the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method of treatment by resting their feet, icing the heels, wrapping the ankles in compression tape, and then elevating their legs. When done regularly, these 4 steps can increase blood flow and reduce recovery time. This type of treatment can be carried out on almost any acute injury involving soft tissue.
2. Wear Ankle Sleeves
Most traditional bandages and wraps will come loose if they are worn inside a shoe. However, an ankle sleeve grips the skin and does not become bunched up while walking around throughout the day. This product is designed to reduce inflammation while supporting the plantar fascia ligament.
3. Stretch the Achilles Tendon
Any movement that gently elongates and stretches the Achilles tendon can be beneficial to seniors with chronic foot pain. The easiest way for seniors to do this stretch is to lean against a wall with their hands, put one leg back, then roll their hips forward until they feel pressure on the back of their leg. They should then hold the position for 20 seconds before switching to the next leg. This stretch should be carried out multiple times a day until the foot pain decreases.
4. Lose Weight
Every extra pound of weight puts an incredible amount of pressure on the heels and ankles. Most seniors should try to keep their BMI between about 19 and 25 to keep the pressure on their legs to a minimum. Those who are having a difficult time exercising should pay extra attention to their diets and focus on eating lean protein sources, whole grains, and fresh produce.
5. Strengthen the Toes
Toes help seniors maintain their balance so less pressure is placed on their heels and arches, and those who have weak or injured toes tend to develop other conditions with their feet as well. Spending 5 or 10 minutes a day picking up marbles or other small items with the toes is one of the easiest ways to strengthen them.
Plantar fasciitis is just one of many conditions that can affect a senior’s mobility. If your loved one has limited mobility and needs help managing tasks around the house, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist with cooking, light housekeeping, bathing, and much more. For more information on the in-home care Westfield families trust and rely on, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today.