Plantar fasciitis is a condition caused by the swelling or irritation of the plantar fascia. Your plantar fascia is the thick, web-like ligament that runs the length of your foot and connects the heel to the front of the foot, allowing you to walk. The plantar fascia supports the arch of your foot and acts as a shock absorber as you walk. When this ligament becomes inflamed, you feel pain in your heel.
Many people feel the pain upon first waking up in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time. Wearing supportive shoes and getting a foot massage tend to help make walking bearable but do little to treat the underlying cause.
Here, we will discuss some ways to avoid developing plantar fasciitis and the treatment options available.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
A major contributing factor to plantar fasciitis is the weight and stress put on your feet. If you are overweight, the excess weight can stress your feet walking or standing, just as much as running a marathon can for someone who is underweight.
When you walk or stand, your feet are responsible for carrying the entire load of your body weight. This becomes difficult when ideal body weight is exceeded and becomes an increasing problem as the body weight continues to increase.
To help avoid plantar fasciitis and foot pain, maintain a healthy weight.
Wear Proper Footwear
A common cause of plantar fasciitis is improper arch support. Whether you are on your feet all day on the job or you are a runner, wearing proper shoes will eliminate a lot of foot, leg, and back issues. If you stand or walk all day, it is important to wear shoes that offer good arch support. Shoes should fit your foot taking into account proper size, cushion, and arch support.
Loafers are preferred over high heels and even steel-toed boots have different fits. If you run long-distance, it is important to ensure that you are wearing supportive running shoes that are not worn for other activities. Worn-out shoes can quickly cause problems, regardless of the activity they are worn to perform. Consider custom orthotics or shoe inserts for additional foot and arch support.
Stretching the bottom of your foot is important for a variety of reasons, not to mention it just feels good! Even if you are not exercising (but especially if you are), stretching every now and again is good for maintaining good body function and performance. A common cause of plantar fasciitis is tight calf muscles and stiff ankles. Do some calf stretches to help keep your plantar fascia ligament loose and limber.
Plantar fasciitis treatment plans
Preventing plantar fasciitis is the ultimate goal. If you do develop plantar fasciitis, treating it can be a lengthy, painful process. However, it is possible to recover and become pain-free.
First, you’ll want to make sure that you have supportive shoes to give your arch optimal support. Massage and stretching also help loosen the ligament and make walking more comfortable. While some pain medication may help reduce the pain and inflammation that causes the pain, it is not a long-term solution.