What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a common and painful foot condition. This condition occurs when the band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, known as the plantar fascia, becomes inflamed and irritated. This can result in sharp pain in the heel and bottom of the foot that can be worse first thing in the morning or after a long rest. It can interfere with activities such as walking, running, and standing.
- Heel pain, especially when you take your first steps in the morning.
- Pain with prolonged standing, walking, or running.
- Pain or tenderness in your arch or heel when pressing on it.
- Swelling on the bottom of your foot.
- Limping or difficulty walking.
- Burning, sharp, or stabbing pain in the heel area.
- Heel or arch pain that worsens after prolonged activity.
- Foot stiffness and/or tenderness.
- Swelling in the heel and/or arch area.
- Pain in the heel that radiates to the toes.
- Shooting pain with each step.
What Causes a Plantar Fasciitis to Develop?
- Wearing poorly fitting shoes.
- Having a high body mass index.
- Participating in activities that involve repetitive kicking or jumping.
- Having tight calf muscles or Achilles' tendons.
- Having flat feet or high arches.
- Having an abnormal gait, such as walking on the outside of the feet
- Aging causes the ligaments and tissues to weaken.
- Standing for prolonged periods of time.
- Occupational activities that involve prolonged periods of standing, walking, or running.
Understanding the Most Common Types of Plantar Fasciitis
- Acute Plantar Fasciitis: This is the most common form of plantar fasciitis caused by sudden overexertion of the plantar fascia. Symptoms of this type of plantar fasciitis include localized pain, often in the heel or arch of the foot, and tenderness in the arch or heel.
- Subacute Plantar Fasciitis: This type of fasciitis is caused by chronic irritation to the plantar fascia, usually from too much pressure on the heel and foot over an extended period. Common symptoms include gradually worsening dull pain in the heel and arch of the foot and difficulty walking in the early morning.
- Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: This type of plantar fasciitis is due to long-term wear-and-tear on the plantar fascia. Symptoms include persistent pain and tenderness in the heel, ball of the foot, or arch.
- Overuse Plantar Fasciitis: This type of plantar fasciitis is caused by excessive and repetitive stress on the plantar fascia. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the arch and heel of the foot, which can be aggravated by walking, running, or exercising.
- Stress Fracture Plantar Fasciitis: As the name suggests, this type of plantar fasciitis is caused by a stress fracture to the plantar fascia. Symptoms include pain and tenderness in the heel and arch of the foot, which is worse when walking or standing.
Discover How to Avoid Unwanted Plantar Fasciitis
If you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of plantar fasciitis, you know how difficult it can be to make it go away. It is an annoying condition that can lead to immense pain and make it difficult to perform your everyday activities.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make sure you don’t find yourself battling this unpleasant condition. Here are just a few:
- Wear Properly Fitting Shoes – One of the best ways to avoid getting plantar fasciitis is to ensure you wear proper footwear. Make sure your shoes are the right size, neither tight nor loose. Your shoes should provide adequate arch and heel support, and they should not support the shoe's midsole. Additionally, replace your shoes every 300-400 miles or when the sole has worn down significantly.
- Stretch and Strengthen Muscles – Regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve the flexibility in the plantar fascia tissue. To give your feet a good stretch, do a calf stretch a few times daily. You can do simple exercises like calf raises and toe curls for strengthening. Additionally, a calf rolling massage with heat can help increase flexibility for those with high arches.
- Incorporate Foot Supports – Foot supports like insoles, arch supports, and heel cushions can provide additional support for the plantar fascia. Look for products that offer cushioning and stability for your foot, which can be adjusted depending on your needs.
- Manage Your Weight – Being overweight can strain the plantar fascia, especially if you have flat feet or high arches. Be sure to maintain a healthy weight to reduce this stress.
- Maintain Proper Posture – Maintaining a good posture while you stand or walk can also help reduce the strain on your plantar fascia. Stand with your feet a bit wider than your shoulders. Bend your knees a little. This will help you do what you want to do.
These are some suggestions to help you avoid getting plantar fasciitis. Be sure to stay active and stretch your feet regularly, and if you experience pain, contact your podiatrist for treatment options.
5 Tips for a Speedy Recovery from Plantar Fasciitis
- Wear Comfortable Shoes: Make sure your shoes have good cushioning and arch support. Avoid wearing shoes that have little or no padding or support.
- Stretching Exercises: Incorporate stretching exercises for the calf, arch, and Achilles tendon into your daily routine to improve flexibility and reduce pressure from the Plantar Fascia.
- Use Ice Packs: Applying an ice pack to the afflicted area will help reduce inflammation and pain. Place a towel between the ice and your skin.
- Take Notes: Track your symptoms and their times. This will help you determine which activities or shoes are aggravating your condition.
- Make Prevention a Priority: Incorporate actions into your daily routine to ensure you are not placing excess strain on the Plantar Fascia. Make sure to wear supportive shoes and stretch before and after rigorous activities.
Gentle Stretching Helps Reduce Plantar Fasciitis Pain
Gentle stretching is a great way to reduce plantar fasciitis pain. Stretching can be used to reduce the strain and tension on the plantar fascia, thereby relieving the pain associated with it. This pain can be aggravated by various activities and standing/walking for long periods of time without any stretching.
Gentle stretching and massaging help to keep the plantar fascia loose and relaxed and increase the blood flow and circulation to the area to help reduce inflammation and pain. Stretching can also be completed pre and post-activity to minimize the risk of injury and as a warm-up or cool-down routine to prevent soreness from activity.
There are many different types of stretches that can be performed to reduce plantar fasciitis pain. Examples of exercises include ankle circles, foot flexion, toe stretches, and calf and leg stretches.
Eating Right: Nutrition and Plantar Fasciitis
Eating right can play a major role in treating Plantar Fasciitis. When dealing with Plantar Fasciitis, it is important to ensure you are consuming plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as they help strengthen the connective tissues, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation, a common symptom of Plantar Fasciitis. Adequate vitamin C intake, for example, helps increase collagen production and helps speed up the healing process.
Additionally, diets rich in lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats can lessen the swelling and discomfort brought on by Plantar Fasciitis. Eating a balanced, healthy diet can also help develop muscles and tendons that support the foot and work to ward off Plantar Fasciitis. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way in reducing the stress and strain put on the feet, which can help protect them against injury.
Moreover, adequate hydration can help promote healthy muscle and joint function and reduce pain. Drinking plenty of water can help keep the feet and joints healthy and hydrated and reduce the chance of injury.
Finally, consuming anti-inflammatory foods can also be beneficial for Plantar Fasciitis. Antioxidant-rich food sources, like fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish, are all beneficial for reducing inflammation caused by Plantar Fasciitis. Additionally, ginger, turmeric, and garlic all have anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate pain and swelling in the foot.
In summary, eating a healthy and balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way toward helping treat and prevent Plantar Fasciitis. Eating foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation, support the connective tissues, and help the feet stay healthy and strong. Additionally, drinking plenty of water can help to keep the feet and joints hydrated and reduce the chance of injury.
Planning Your Next Visit
At Greenberg Podiatry in Ottawa, we are committed to providing top-notch and supportive care. We strive to stay informed with the latest treatments so our patients can enjoy a dynamic lifestyle while tending to their physical health. Our aim is to address current issues and stop upcoming ones before they begin. We go the extra mile to ensure you achieve maximum results.
Get in touch with us at Greenberg Podiatry today to start benefiting from our personalized treatment options. A few small steps could make a huge difference in your overall well-being.