Plantar Fasciitis is an injury that most people have experience with personally or know someone that has had to deal with it the nagging pain and discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis(PF). With running continually growing as one of the most popular exercise activities in the world the prevelance of plantar fasciitis and other lower limb chronic injuries are on steadily on the rise. Although PF is typically only associated with runners it can present in anyone leading an active lifestlye or even those that are overweight.
First let's begin with what plantar fasciitis is and how it is caused. The Plantar Fascia is a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, from the heel to the toes. PF is an inflammation of this tissue that is typically characterized by sharp shooting pain either in the heel of the foot or in the arch. Many people complain of an increase in pain when they wake up and take their first few steps in the morning or with excessive standing. PF can be caused by multiple things including: wearing shoes that are worn out or do not provide proper support for your foot, having high arches or flat feet, or if you have fallen arches causing you to over pronate.
The number one way to get rid of your symptoms is to see a trained professional (ATC, PT) who can to work on reducing the tissue irritation by using different modalities. The ATC or PT will also be able to give you exercises that will help strengthen the intrinsic muscles in your foot which will reinforce your arch and relieve stress on the plantar fascia. Laslty the ATC or PT can visual inspect your gait (walking/running pattern) to look for any compensations that maybe adding to the stress on your plantar fascia and give you recommendations on possible foot inserts or shoeware that may help.
The easiest way to avoid PF is making sure to buy shoes that not only look good but also provide appropriate support for you feet. Buy Right or buy twice! The best way to know what shoe works best for your feet is to get a shoe fitting at a running store. Also be sure to buy new shoes regurlarly as yours begin to wear down.
Two effective ways to provide relief from your symptoms is to buy shoe inserts or being a foot care routine. A study published in the Journal of multidisciplinary health care in 2011 found that the use of orthopedic shoe inserts, both custom made and pre-fabricated, in shoes greatly reduced the symptoms the patients experienced from their PF. In your foot care routine you can include things like massaging your plantar fascia with a ball or frozen water bottle.