Preventing and Treating Plantar Fasciitis – Tips From Podiatrists

The good news is that nonsurgical treatment, including podiatry interventions, improves pain in about 90% of people. Health care professionals such as Midland podiatry might recommend night splints that hold your heel and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position while you sleep, or custom-fitted arch supports (or orthotics) that distribute your weight evenly across your feet.

1. Wear the Right Shoes

That stabbing pain you feel when you step out of bed or stand after sitting for a long time is often caused by the plantar fascia. This ligament stretches across the bottom of your foot and connects the heel to the bone on the bottom of your foot arch. Repeated stress on this ligament can cause tiny tears that trigger inflammation and pain.

If you’re prone to this painful heel problem, there are some things you can do to prevent future bouts of pain. Podiatrists recommend getting plenty of rest, doing foot stretches and massages and wearing shoes with good support and cushioning. They also say that alternating high impact activities with low-impact ones like swimming and walking is important to reduce stress on your feet and heels.

The right shoes can make all the difference when it comes to preventing or treating plantar fasciitis. You want a shoe with good arch support, a thick sole and plenty of cushioning, especially around the heel. Podiatrists like the Hoka Bondi 9, New Balance Fresh Foam X880 v13, Asics Gel Kayano 29, Kuru Draft Slipper and Oofos Ooahh Slide for their supportive cushioning and springy feel.

A good fit is also key. You should always try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are largest and you should ensure there’s a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the shoe’s edge. You should also regularly replace your shoes, particularly if you’re a runner or walker, to maintain their support and cushioning.

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2. Stretch Your Feet

In addition to getting enough rest, it’s important for people with plantar fasciitis to do regular foot and calf stretches to keep the tissue flexible. Stretching helps to reduce pain and improve walking for those who experience flare ups of the condition. Talk to a medical professional about a safe, effective stretching program that will work for you.

The best way to prevent and treat plantar fasciitis is by reducing stress on the tissue, especially during exercise. This means changing or stopping athletic activities that pound your feet on hard surfaces and doing proper warm up exercises with gentle stretching, like toe curls. Maintaining a healthy weight and using supportive footwear and slippers when spending time at home will help too.

It’s also a good idea to stop spending all day on your feet and avoid high heels as much as possible. And, don’t purchase over-the-counter heel cushions or arch supports as these devices are often ineffective at reducing foot strain.

If you experience heel pain that doesn’t go away after a few weeks, see a podiatrist based in High Wycombe for a diagnosis. The sooner you address the problem, the more quickly you can get back to your active lifestyle. Some people may benefit from other treatments for plantar fasciitis, such as steroid injections, radial shockwave treatment or platelet-rich plasma injections.

3. Stay Active

The last thing you want to do is let pain and discomfort from plantar fasciitis interfere with your summer plans. But you can stay active if you do a few simple things, like resting your feet, icing them, and stretching. Also, wear shoes that provide your feet with excellent arch support and replace them often. Avoid flip-flops and other footwear that offers minimal support, and don’t walk barefoot or stand all day on hard surfaces.

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Low-impact exercise, such as swimming, cycling, yoga, or elliptical cardio, won’t cause plantar fasciitis or make it worse, and is a great way to keep up your fitness level. But don’t forget to stretch your feet and calves before and after exercise. Try curling and relaxing your toes, and making circles with your feet and ankles. You can even use a rolling pin or tennis ball while you’re seated to help loosen up your foot and heel muscles.

Another great stretch is the gastrocnemius stretch, which you can do anywhere. Sit down on the floor or in a chair with your legs crossed over each other. Hold your affected foot with the fingers of one hand, and bend your toes and ankle up as far as you can feel a stretch in the calf and arch of that leg. Repeat this for two or three minutes twice a day.

4. Take It Easy

Athletes who spend a lot of time on hard surfaces, such as runners and dancers, are at higher risk of developing plantar fasciitis. So are people who work on their feet, such as teachers, nurses and mail carriers. Having flat feet or high arches, and being overweight are also risk factors.

When you have plantar fasciitis, it can feel like you have a rubber band stretched across the bottom of your foot from your heel bone to your toes. The pain is usually sharpest when you take your first steps in the morning or after resting, and gets better as you continue to walk.

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To help ease the pain, you can use an ice pack several times a day. You can also do a simple exercise to stretch your foot and calf muscles. Stand with one foot in front of the other and slowly bend your knee, keeping the back heel on the ground. This will stretch the plantar fascia and calf muscle, and should be done three to four times a day.

You should also stop any activities that aggravate your plantar fasciitis, such as running and dancing. Instead, do low-impact exercise like cycling or swimming, which puts less stress on your feet and legs. You can also try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to reduce inflammation and pain.