What a Pain: Tips for Preventing Plantar Fasciitis

Are you taking proper care of those tootsies? Credit: tiffany assman

Ouchie ouch ouch! It’s safe to say that nobody (or no body) likes pain. And, well, it’s kind of hard to be fit and active when the very things you stand on—your feet—are causing you grief. That’s why we’re getting the real deal on plantar fasciitis from Phil Vasyli, world renowned podiatrist and founder of Orthaheel. Read on for what plantar fasciitis is, how it’s caused and what to do about it!

Tips for Preventing Plantar Fasciitis

Early morning foot pain—more like sharp, piercing pain—is usually the key indicator of plantar fasciitis. What a pain in the heel! Plantar fascia is an important section of tendons within the sole of your foot. Tearing any of these tendons can lead to a stabbing discomfort in your foot, most commonly in the morning. National statistics are difficult to note since many sufferers unfortunately suffer through the condition, accepting the pain, rather than going to a doctor or making simple lifestyle changes in footwear. But here are a few of those who are most susceptible to plantar fasciitis…

Those Most Like to Get Plantar Fasciitis?

  • Wearers of flip-flops, ballet flats, high heels and low-cost shoes, without appropriate protection to arch.
  • Walking commuters, all ages, who wear flip-flops, heels or ballet flats to work.
  • Those with immediate weight gain, including pregnant women.
  • Victims of hypothyroidism.
  • Runners.
  • Standing professionals.

Tips to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

  • Avoid cheaply manufactured footwear. Poor quality materials tend to lead to reduced support, lack of breathability and poor quality control.
  • Avoid walking around the house barefoot—choose slippers that provide adequate arch support and a deep heel cup to improve balance and posture.
  • Try to keep your fashionable shoes for shorter wearing sessions and avoid daily use.
  • The higher the heel, the more the shoes increases the arch height and also changes the arch position. So look for high-heeled (1-inch to 1 1/2-inch heel maximum) shoes that contour to your arch and distribute your weight over the entire foot, not just the ball of the foot.
  • Look for a firm heel counter and stable midfoot. Flexible regions should only be near the forefoot.
  • With any shoes, ensure there is a high-quality shock absorbing material in the ball of the foot area to reduce the impact of the ground-reaction forces.
  • Last, but not least, consider orthotics to boost up the arch back to its natural position.

For even more explanation as to how plantar fasciitis occurs and how to help reduce the pain, here’s a quick video!

Have you ever had heel pain? Suffered from plantar fasciitis? What helped you? We’re so sad to give up our flip-flops and ballet flats… —Jenn



Comments

  1. says

    I just had plantar fasciitis a few months ago and it was terrible! I ended up going to the podiatrist and now have semi-custom orthotics which I’m supposed to wear daily. I also never walk around barefoot unless I”m doing some yoga. It’s been a big adjustment but my feet feel much better.

  2. says

    Good article. Basically the main idea is that the repetitive daily (or excessive) stress on the foot can create these micro tears that cause the inflammation and pain associated with Plantar Fasciitis. It comes down to proper foot support – not only for avoiding injury – but also for allowing recovery if you do develop this sharp heel or arch pain. Our FasciaDerm system provides all-day support, gives you fast pain relief and helps you avoid re-injury. Pro athletes recognize it as the best plantar fasciitis treatment available.

  3. says

    I suffer from plantar fascitis. It’s the worst in the morning for me. And I know it comes down to support. I think I am going to have to look into orthodics or something because I want to be a runner; I don’t want my ballet flats and Target shoes to keep me from that!

  4. says

    I absolutely hate wearing shoes and could live in flip-flops even in the winter, but my plantar fascitis has made me change my ways (for the most part). I stick with low impact exercise, and if I do the treadmill, I increase incline rather than speed for intensity. Comfort shoes (you can find semi-attractive ones), tennis ball massages, stretching and orthotics helped me. After having to sleep in a brace and get an injection in one foot, I’m very protective of my tootsies now!

  5. Shana says

    I am a suffer of planter fascitis for a little over a year now, I have done cortisone shots and had surgery this past spring, it actually made my problems worse for I have a build up of scar tissue, I do say it is all in the shoe, I have orthotics and it helps some and do deep tissue massage 2x’s a week along with all sorts of stretches, my biggest delimma is finding a pair of tennis shoes and every day professional work shoes that I can wear for the orthotics only work in tennis. Any advise on shoes would be greatly appreciated.

  6. says

    Shana:
    That’s the danger with surgery or drugs. You may not address the root cause, and you’re still stuck with pain or side effects from that decision. We advise a careful consideration of your treatment options. There are 5-6 common treatments, but it pays to know what each can deliver and what their limitations are.

    We believe that the best approach is a natural, effective one that provides constant support so your own healing processes can kick in to reverse plantar fasciitis (that is, after all, what “healing” is).

    About the shoes… You can look for specialized shoes, or you can use FasciaDerm applied to your bare feet to provide you with the support you need (under normal, non-orthotic shoes)…the choice is yours. You may find that a combination of treatments works best for you, but the goal is to get there without major, invasive procedures or a series of short term “fixes” that are only taking care of the symptoms.

  7. Emmy says

    I was diagnosed with plantar faciitis, by a podiatrist, 17 years ago. At that time I was only 21 and at the peak of fitness in my life. I power walked 3 miles a day or did 60-90 minutes of aerobics plus strength training. Daily, I also walked a minimum of 2 miles as part of my commute to work. Then I took a park time job on my feet many hours a day. After only 2 months the pain in my feet was excruciating. The Dr diagnosed the plantar faciitis and some bone spurs. I wound up with custom orthotics and instructions to always wear them unless I was bathing or sleeping. I was also told to stay off my feet. He told me I needed to quit the standing job, stop walking and taking the bus, take up swimming and/or cycling for exercise. I was told to sit down and elevate my feet whenever possible. No window shopping, no standing in lines (I was to sit on the floor or bring along a folding camp stool if lines were long). I tried a cortisone shot in the foot that was worst but I had a cortisone flare, which was even worse pain…for days I had to use crutches until it subsided. About 10 years later, after 10 years of following all these instructions…and putting on some weight due to severe inactivity…I went to see a different podiatrist . He basically reconfirmed the diagnosis and asked what I hoped to get out of the appointment. I said that I hoped there had been advances in medicine in 10 years…that perhaps I could have more than just one or two pain free days a month…new surgery techniques…something? I was told that other than new orthotics…there was nothing he could do for me. The surgery was still too risky and only recommended for those already so crippled by the pain of the condition that the 30-something % success rate would be worth the risk of making it worse. So I got the new orthotics and went on my way. … Fast forward 7 more years. I wind up at a Dr who’s a sports medicine specialist and a physical therapist who also has plantar faciitis, for a completely unrelated issue. I’m introduced to massage techniques to alleviate pain…encouraging blood flow. Icing techniques! Really?? Neither podiatrist thought to tell me about icing?? I was encouraged to go find shoes that fit my feet properly AND could accommodate the orthotic. I’d always had trouble with this with cheaper shoes and ended up clomping around in shoes 1 1/2 sizes too big just so the orthotic and my big, wide foot would fit together. I learned that I should be active and then manage the pain IF it comes. I learned that plantar faciitis is supposed to be a manageable condition with occasional flare-ups NOT a chronic pain condition as I’d been lead to believe. Oh what doors have opened for me. Now I have pain from this maybe one or two days a year!! Ice! (freeze Dixie cups of water, peel the cup off and you have a neat little cylinder of ice over which to roll your arch.) Massage!! (Roll your foot over a tennis ball. Massage by hand, really digging in with your thumbs.) Wear a good, rigid orthotic and properly fitted shoes!!

  8. says

    I got plantar fasciitis when I was pregnant with my second child and suffered from it for nearly 3 years. sometimes it was better, sometimes worse.
    Stretching exercises helped me a lot and my new Scholl house slipper.

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