The human body is an amazingly complex collection of systems and parts. Each component plays a unique role and performs remarkable mechanical feats (no pun intended) every day. The human foot, for example, contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
According to a 2017 study, the average person in the United States walks about 4,800 steps a day. The American Podiatric Medical Association puts it a little higher at 5,000-7,000 steps daily.
Perhaps that doesn’t seem like much since 15,000 steps is often touted as the gold standard for healthy living. Oh, but it is. When you go about your daily life, each step puts an incredible amount of pressure on your feet -- 1.5 times your body weight, to be exact.
With that much wear and tear, it should come as no surprise that about eight out of 10 Americans suffer from foot pain. Heel pain is one of the most common sources with a condition called plantar fasciitis being a popular culprit.
The mechanics of the plantar fascia
The plantar fascia is the thick band of tissue that stretches across the entire length of your foot, which connects your heel bone to your toes. When you stand, walk or run, the plantar fascia supports your foot’s arch and bears the pressure of your weight.
Plantar fasciitis develops when stress, overuse, or tension cause small tears, which result in inflammation, swelling, and stabbing pain that often starts as you take your first steps of the day.
Factors that worsen plantar fasciitis
The good news is that knowing what aggravates plantar fasciitis also provides clues on ways to ward off the condition in the first place. Keeping your plantar fascia in tip-top shape is all about reducing pressure.
One important way you can do that is to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, speak to your doctor about a diet and fitness plan that’s right for you. Losing weight may not be easy, but shedding those extra pounds not only impacts your foot health, but also lowers your risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Wearing shoes that don’t fit and lack support
Why is it that trendy, fun footwear usually has nothing to do with being the right size or providing support? Temper your footwear shopping decisions by purchasing the right-sized footwear for your feet, even if those perfect pumps are just a half size too small.
Pay attention to styles that provide proper support and are designed for a particular activity. Hiking shoes are not designed for running and vice versa. When it comes to heels, think moderate. Heeled shoes create increased pressure on your plantar fascia.
Standing for long periods
Predictably, being on your feet all day can exacerbate your plantar fasciitis. If your job or daily activities require you to stand for long stretches of time, make it a point to take breaks for a few minutes throughout the day. During these brief breaks, stretch or massage your feet -- or better yet, elevate them.
Wearing support or compression socks may also help. Cashiers or other workers whose jobs keep them fixed to a location may also find relief by standing on padded mats.
If your plantar fasciitis is keeping you from getting the most out of life, make an appointment for an evaluation with one of our podiatrists. Book a consultation right now by clicking the ”request appointment” button. Or you can call one of our Apple Podiatry Group offices in Arlington or Irving, Texas, to schedule your visit.
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Things You Do Every Day That Make Your Plantar Fasciitis Worse: Apple Podiatry Group: Podiatrists? ›
High-impact sports or activities – Like running and plyometrics, any exercise involving high impact on the feet can cause aggravated plantar fasciitis pain.What activities make plantar fasciitis worse? ›
High-impact sports or activities – Like running and plyometrics, any exercise involving high impact on the feet can cause aggravated plantar fasciitis pain.What should you not do if you have plantar fasciitis? ›
- Don't delay treatment. ...
- Don't wear shoes that aren't supportive. ...
- Don't skip your stretches. ...
- Don't resume high-impact exercise right away. ...
- Don't fight through the pain. ...
- Don't overlook lifestyle changes.
A plantar fasciitis flare-up will send a sharp pain through your foot and into your ankle, potentially immobilizing you. Attempting to run, walk, or stand can exacerbate the pain considerably.What causes plantar fasciitis flare up? ›
Certain factors can cause plantar fasciitis to flare up, including lots of physical activity, wearing shoes without proper support, or rapid weight gain.Should I limit walking with plantar fasciitis? ›
In fact, walking may actually inflame the plantar fascia more, leading to an extension of your treatment. While it's not walking alone that could further inflame the ligament, if you're not wearing the right shoes or are exerting yourself too much, the plantar fasciitis can flare up.Does sitting make plantar fasciitis worse? ›
Sitting with your knees bent and toes pointed down is the shortest possible configuration for the calf muscles. Days of sitting like this causes the muscles to shorten which tightens the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. Patients often complain of a sharp pain in the bottom of the heel when they get up after sitting.Does drinking water help plantar fasciitis? ›
Drinking water can help manage plantar fasciitis-related inflammation and pain. Nerve pain. When people do not ingest enough water, their extracellular matrix—which surrounds the cells in every human tissue—can shrink, reducing the space between cells.What shoes should you not wear with plantar fasciitis? ›
Avoid shoes with no or a low heel as this requires your heel to be able to become closer to the floor when standing. This requires good calf muscle flexibility which most people with plantar fasciitis are lacking.How do you stop a plantar fasciitis flare up? ›
- Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
- Choose supportive shoes. Buy shoes with a low to moderate heel, thick soles, good arch support and extra cushioning. ...
- Don't wear worn-out athletic shoes. ...
- Change your sport. ...
- Apply ice. ...
- Stretch your arches.
Plantar fasciitis makes your heel hurt when you walk. The pain is usually worse when you get out of bed in the morning or when you walk after sitting for a long time. Walking barefoot, walking on tiptoe, or walking up stairs may make the pain worse.Are Crocs good for plantar fasciitis? ›
Many doctors recommend them to their patients who suffer from plantar foot pain because they are comfortable and supportive. Clogs and Crocs can make long hours on your feet more tolerable if you have plantar fasciitis–as long as they have the right custom arch/heel support and cushioning that fits the condition.What is the fastest cure for plantar fasciitis? ›
Stretching and Physical Therapy
Stretching is one of the best treatments for plantar fasciitis. Stretching should be focused on the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon. A physical therapist can show you stretching exercises that you can repeat at home several times a day.
But, probably the main reason that plantar fasciitis sticks around is that the underlying chronic inflammation that leads to the disorder never goes away either. Most of our connective tissue problems are due to toxicity from our diets.Is rest or activity better for plantar fasciitis? ›
Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis
Always follow your doctor's directions, even with OTC medications. Rest—if the cause of your plantar fasciitis is too much exercise or time on your feet, taking some time to be inactive should help heal your feet.
Conservative Plantar Fasciitis Treatments
Crutches and non-weight bearing on the affected foot for 1 to 3 weeks is the best care for this kind of overuse syndrome or injury, but a simple decrease in activities may relieve symptoms. Avoid bare feet and shoes without support (sandals, flip-flops, house shoes, etc.).
- Tennis Ball Roll. While seated, grab a tennis ball, rolling pin, frozen water bottle, or other cylindrical object and put it under your foot. ...
- Towel Stretch. Grab a towel and put it around your foot. ...
- Toe Stretch. ...
- Toe Curls. ...
- Calf Stretch. ...
- Picking Up Marbles. ...
- Follow Your Doctor's Orders.
Rest your foot as much as possible, avoid running, excessive walking and long periods of standing.