We often take our feet for granted until pain reminds us what an important part of the body they are. Plantar fasciitis, or pain near the arch or heel, is just such a reminder. It’s especially prevalent in runners, walkers, and all around athletes. It’s an irritation in the long rope of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. The injury is caused by both inflammation and degeneration of the tissue. Start to heal plantar fasciitis. Here’s how:

1. Reduce training.

Heal the slight tears in the tissue of the foot that cause plantar fasciitis by easing off of training. If easing off completely isn’t an option, reduce activity to a few times per week.

2. Stretch the achilles and calves.

Stretch tendons and calves consistently. Lean forward against the wall with one leg behind you, heel to the ground, and the other leg bent as if you were taking a step. Push your hips toward the wall to fully stretch the calf and back leg. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 20 times on each leg.

3. Drop those extra pounds.

Excess weight puts extra impact on the feet and other delicate parts of the body. That’s why obesity is actually a cause of plantar fasciitis. It’s just one more reason to drop those extra pounds.

4. Add in menthol.

Use products that contain menthol, a natural ingredient derived from peppermint oil that soothes the irritating pain that goes along with plantar fasciitis.

5. Choose supportive shoes.

Avoid unsupportive shoes that are lose, thin-soled, or without enough arch support to absorb shock. High heels tend to contract the foot, irritating plantar fasciitis.

6. Consider devil’s claw.

Devil’s claw is a funny name for the dried root of an African plant. Choose topical products that include this as an active ingredient to relieve nagging heel pain.

Sara Novak is a Natural Health Care Expert for Zax Health. Follow her on Twitter at @sarafnovak.