Top Tips for Treating and Preventing Plantar Fasciitis
Perhaps the most common issue we encounter at Foot Solutions is plantar fasciitis, a very painful condition that affects around 1 in 10 people at some point in their life.
In this blog we’ll explain:
- Factors that cause plantar fasciitis
- How to effectively alleviate the symptoms
- How to prevent future recurrence
Plantar fasciitis is most common among people aged 40 to 60, particularly women, but it can also affect athletes who take part in high impact activities without proper support and cushioning in their shoes.
The term ‘plantar fasciitis’ means inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a strong band of tissue (like a ligament) that stretches from the heel to the middle foot bones. It supports the arch of the foot and also acts as a ‘shock-absorber’.
Repeated small injuries to the fascia are thought to be the cause of plantar fasciitis. The injury is usually near to where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone.
Plantar fasciitis is more likely to occur in certain situations including:
- Being on your feet for a long time
- Taking strenuous exercise for the first time in a long time
- Exercising (including walking) on a very hard surface
- Wearing shoes with poor cushioning or poor arch support
- Being overweight – this puts extra strain on the heel
The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain, usually on the underside of the foot near the heel. The pain is often worst first thing in the morning or after long periods of rest.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
Remember, pain should never be ignored, always seek the help and advice of a health professional.
If a health professional has diagnosed you with plantar fasciitis what can you do to ease the pain?
We’ve spoken to a few people who’ve experienced and overcome painful bouts of plantar fasciitis and asked for their ‘top tips’. These are listed below:
- Holding an ice pack (e.g. a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) to the painful foot for 15-20 minutes is highly recommended
- Gently rolling the arch of the painful foot on a foot roller or even a golf ball for a few minutes twice a day is another treatment which is usually very effective
- Sit on a chair with knees bent at right angles and feet and heels flat on the floor. Lift the foot upwards whilst keeping the heel on the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds and then relax. Repeat several times about 6 times a day
- Be patient, fascia tissue, like ligament tissue, heals slowly. If you rush it, you may make things worse
Preventing Plantar Fasciitis
Anyone who’s ever suffered from plantar fasciitis, will tell you that they don’t want to repeat the experience. So what practical steps can you take to prevent this painful condition from affecting you?
The following recommendations will help
- Avoid wearing old or worn shoes that don’t cushion and support the heel
- Choose shoes with cushioned heels and a good arch support. If possible, see a specialist who can measure your feet accurately and provide shoes that fit properly
- Many people benefit from wearing custom arch supports which provide additional support
- Don’t walk barefoot on hard surfaces – a lot of people first experience plantar fasciitis on holiday, for example whilst walking barefoot on marble floors or on the concrete area around swimming pools
For further help and advice, please contact us at the Richmond store, our highly trained consultants will be happy to help.