If you’ve had plantar fasciitis before, you might be familiar with the singular discomfort that comes from the condition — the searing pain across the bottom of your foot and in your heel when you take your first steps in the morning. The discomfort sends about two million people in the United States to seek medical help for plantar fasciitis.
While we love seeing our patients here at Victory Sports Medicine & Orthopedics, Dr. Marc Pietropaoli and our team want to provide you with a few plantar fasciitis prevention tips and some key management techniques.
Before we get into prevention and management tips, let’s quickly review what’s behind plantar fasciitis. Each of your feet features a tough band of tissue stretching from the balls of your feet to your heels called the plantar fascia. This tissue provides support for your arches.
With plantar fasciitis, you develop tiny tears in this tissue, which leads to inflammation, especially when you’re not on your feet. Then, when you take your first steps after a long period of inactivity, the inflamed tissue stretches out, often painfully. Making matters more uncomfortable, bone spurs in your heels can develop when you have plantar fasciitis.
Now that we understand what’s behind plantar fasciitis let’s look at ways to avoid the potentially painful condition or manage it should it develop.
If you’re looking forward to ditching the treadmill to head outdoors for a run, it’s best to ease into a transition like this. Plantar fasciitis often occurs when you suddenly change or increase activity, and switching from a treadmill to road running is a classic example.
This same concept holds true if you’re trying a new sport or activity. For example, if a friend invites you out to try pickleball, enjoy yourself, but don’t overdo it during the first couple of times.
Running around in old sneakers is a recipe for plantar fasciitis. Do your favor and ensure your athletic shoes still support your plantar fascia. You can go one step further with inserts that help better support your plantar fascia. Our team is happy to help you get custom orthotics.
A great way to prevent plantar fasciitis and address the problem should it arise is to stretch your plantar fascia and supporting tissues. For example, try stretches that work your plantar fascia and your calf muscles together, such as a wall-facing calf stretch. Place your hands against the wall, extend one leg back with the foot flat on the floor. Now, bend the leg closer to the wall until you feel a good stretch in the calf and foot of the extended leg. Hold the stretch and repeat three times on each side.
This is just one example, and you can click here for some more great plantar fascia stretches.
If you’ve developed plantar fasciitis, you should do the exercises in the link above and give your feet a little bit of rest.
A fantastic way to manage inflammation and discomfort during this time and massage your plantar fascia is to roll a bottle of frozen water back and forth under each foot. This double therapy — massaging and icing — is a go-to technique for managing plantar fasciitis.
If your plantar fasciitis doesn't go away after rest, icing, and stretching, you should come to see us before the problem worsens and heel spurs develop. We have several ways to improve your plantar fascia's health, including regenerative medicine and MLS laser therapy.
To get started, please call our office in Skaneateles, New York, at 315-303-8352, or book an appointment with us online.