|What is Plantar Fasciitis?|
|How Do I Know if I Have Plantar Fasciitis?|
|What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?|
|What are Some Tips to Find Relief from Plantar Fasciitis?|
|Frequently Asked Questions|
What is Plantar Fasciitis? + 4 Tips for Relief
We've pretty much all experienced foot discomfort in one way or another, whether after a long day of hiking or a night out on the town. But when a little rest isn't all it takes to ease the pain and there doesn't seem to be an obvious reason why your dogs are barking, it's possible you're suffering from a more serious medical condition. So what's going on? If you dread those first few steps of the day after getting out of bed, one possible explanation could be plantar fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
One of the most common foot-related ailments is plantar fasciitis, or inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia, the ligament that supports the arch. Repeated strain results in tiny tears, which may lead to heel pain, arch pain, and heel spurs.
How Do I Know if I Have Plantar Fasciitis?
Typically, people with plantar fasciitis experience stabbing pain at the bottom of the foot near where the heel and arch meet. If you're unsure whether your foot pain is a result of plantar fasciitis, pay attention to the time of day when you notice the most discomfort. Often, the most acute pain is reported either first thing in the morning or after prolonged rest. As the day progresses, however, the plantar fascia has a chance to stretch and the pain often subsides. Always consult your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment of foot pain.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
- High arches or flat feet (which causes over-pronation)
- Extra weight (i.e., obesity or pregnancy)
- Other medical conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- All-day activities on your feet
- Unsupportive footwear (e.g., thin soles, weak arch support)
- Frequently changing workout routines, especially in intensity
What are Some Tips to Find Relief from Plantar Fasciitis?
1. Wear Supportive Shoes or Inserts
Orthopedic shoes and orthotics, if worn regularly, can minimize pain or even eliminate symptoms altogether. Look for shoes with sufficient arch support and cushioning. When you buy a new pair, wear them around the house to ensure they're a good fit. Use of a heel cradle or heel cup can also help, as these provide extra cushioning and reduce the amount of shock and force placed on your feet throughout the day.
Be sure not to overdo physical activity so you can allow your feet to rest. If you're a runner, it's recommended to take two weeks off to allow inflammation to subside. Massage can also provide much-needed relief. Roll your foot over a tennis ball, paying special attention to the arch and heel of your foot. You can also ice and massage it simultaneously (talk about multitasking!) by rolling a frozen water bottle under your foot.
3. Stretch and Strengthen Regularly
Staying limber is key, and it's especially important to stretch your calves and Achilles tendon. Simply stand at the edge of the bottom step of your stairs. With your weight resting on the balls of your feet, alternate bending your knees and straightening. You can also get loose from the comfort of bed – stretch your legs straight in front of you, loop a belt around the ball of your foot, and pull your body inward.
4. Moderately Increase Exercise
After sufficient rest, it's important to get active, especially if you love to run or if you're trying to lose excess weight that may be exacerbating your pain. However, as you look to increase your exercise intensity, be sure to do so gradually and take breaks in between to rest and stretch. If you're running or walking, you should only tack on an extra 10% in mileage per week, as a general rule. Also, don't forget to avoid hard or uneven surfaces like pavement or trails.
As with any pain you're feeling, it's important to consult your doctor to get professional advice and agree upon a treatment plan to address your specific needs. Stay healthy!
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A. One of the most common foot ailments, it's helpful to identify what is causing strain to effectively treat plantar fasciitis. Here's what to look for.
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A. Take this two-step test to find out your arch type!
A. Pronation is the natural process that helps to provide shock absorption as you walk or run. Learn how it works.
A. A While a certain amount of pronation is necessary, over-pronation can lead to painful injuries, like these...
A. Supination is a natural process that allows us to walk and run properly. Learn how it works.
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A. We've all heard our grandmothers talk about them before, but what actually is a bunion?
A. The Achilles tendon is your best friend when it comes to walking, running, and jumping, so inflammation of it can be a real pain. Find out more.
A. Metatarsalgia is a fancy word for pain in the ball of the foot. Find out what causes this discomfort, and how to treat it.
A. Fallen arches, also knows as flat feet, refers to an abnormal foot arch, and may be the reason for your foot pain.