It’s safe to say that most people have experienced foot pain in one form or another. Sports, exercise, and daily errands can all put people at risk for anything from mild foot aches and pains to accidental injuries.
One form of a foot injury, plantar fasciitis, can happen to nearly all individuals in most stages of life.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the great band of tissue that connects the bottom of the heel to the toes. It’s typically described as a sharp, stabbing pain at the bottom of the foot. The pain is the most intense with first morning steps and usually decreases throughout the day.
However, pain from plantar fasciitis will also be stronger after, not during, exercise.
The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is running. According to mayoclinic.org, the plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in the foot. Too much tension or strain on the foot can cause the plantar fascia to tear, making it inflamed and in pain.
While running is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis, some other risk factors of tearing your plantar fascia include:
- Age. Plantar fasciitis is more common in ages 40-60.
- Heel-based exercise.
- Foot mechanics. The shape of a foot can put, or alleviate, stress on the plantar fascia.
- Occupations that require lots of standing/walking.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
Fortunately, treating plantar fasciitis is pretty simple and can be done at home. It can be diagnosed by a doctor, but most doctors will advise you to follow the RICE treatment:
- Rest. Take it easy, and allow your foot to rest whenever you can.
- Ice. Putting ice on an injury can help reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Compression. Along with reducing swelling, adding compression will give your foot extra support.
- Elevate. Elevating forces your foot to rest, and also reduces swelling.
Over-the-counter pain relievers are also recommended to help reduce swelling while managing the pain. Most patients with plantar fasciitis recover within a few months, as long as they follow a treatment plan. Without treatment, plantar fasciitis will only continue to cause more pain and disrupt daily activities.
How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
Daily activities, such as exercising and working, are unavoidable. So how can we continue with our daily activities while reducing our risk of common foot injuries?
Well, wearing comfortable shoes is certainly a good start. According to easternidahofootclinic.com, wearing ill-fitting shoes for the sake of the look means more sacrifice than you may realize. They continued to say, “Sure, you’ll deal with foot pain the day of, but you can really damage the arch of your foot due to poor support.”
Another beneficial way to prevent foot injuries is to stretch before exercising, or even before performing daily tasks such as work. Stretching your foot muscles will increase the amount of energy that your tendons and muscle tissue can absorb, making your body more prepared for physical activity.
The last suggestion for preventing a foot injury like plantar fasciitis is to listen to your body. If you begin to feel pain at the bottom of your foot, stop and take a break. Knowing your body, and stopping before it’s too late, will save you many months of painful recovery.