This spring, as your prospective sport’s season kicks into gear, you should be on the lookout for injuries like plantar fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the tough connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. Athletes are more prone to plantar fasciitis due to the repetitive movement and stress placed on their feet during running and other high-impact activities. To keep you safe this season, we’ve come up with four tips to help you avoid plantar fasciitis or address it early.
1. Stretch and Strengthen Your Feet
Stretching out your feet every morning can help avoid injury. Before you get out of bed, try spending a few minutes stretching your calves, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia. This will help loosen the tissue, increase blood flow, and reduce pain throughout the day.
You can also use exercise to strengthen your feet and legs to reduce the risk of injury. Exercises that target the muscles in your feet and legs can help take some of the strain off of your plantar fascia. Try doing exercises like:
- Heel raises - Holding onto a sturdy chair, raise your heels so you’re standing on your toes then slowly lower them back down.
- Toe raises - Holding a can of soup or something else heavy, raise your big toe while keeping the rest of your foot stationary, then slowly lower it back down.
- Calf raises - Standing up straight, push through the balls of your feet until your heels are off the ground, then slowly lower them back down.
Keeping your muscles in good condition can help reduce your risk of injury and aid in recovery.
2. Take Rest Days
Plantar fasciitis is usually caused by overuse, so taking a break is vital to avoid a flare-up. When your feet are feeling particularly sore, take a day off from running or other high-impact activities. Instead, try focusing on low-impact activities like swimming or biking, or just take a day off from activity in general.
Pushing through the pain is never a good idea, especially when it comes to plantar fasciitis. If you start to experience pain in your feet, especially during or after activity, take a break and give your feet time to recover. Resting and icing your feet will help reduce inflammation and pain. You can also reduce inflammation and swelling by taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or wearing a night splint to stretch your plantar fascia while you sleep.
3. Wear Proper Footwear
You must be wearing the proper footwear for your activity. This is especially important if you have flat feet or high arches, which can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Look for shoes with good arch support and a cushioned sole to keep your feet safe and secure.
It can also be helpful to invest in custom orthotics. These customized foot inserts are designed to fit your foot shape and address specific foot conditions. Custom orthotics will provide you with foot support and pain relief so you can move comfortably.
4. Seek Treatment at the First Sign
If you do start to experience heel pain, you should seek treatment as soon as possible. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis usually include:
- Sharp, stabbing pain in the heel or arch of the foot.
- Pain that feels the worst when you wake up in the morning.
- Aggravated pain after long periods of rest or sitting.
When the plantar fascia is compromised, other muscles and tissues in your body have to work harder to compensate. If plantar fasciitis is left untreated, it can lead to complications like knee, back, and hip pain, so it is important to be evaluated early.
Preventing plantar fasciitis doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these simple tips, you can reduce your risk of injury and move without pain. If you are experiencing heel pain that persists, it is best to be checked out by your nearest podiatrist sooner than later. At San Antonio Podiatry Associates, we would be happy to help you find the best solution for your individual needs. We offer custom orthotics, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, and a variety of other plantar fasciitis treatment options for you to stay active and pain-free.
Are you looking for a podiatrist near you? If you need relief from foot pain, the podiatry specialists at San Antonio Podiatry Associates are here to help. With more than 145 years of combined experience, our team is equipped to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and the efficient, personalized treatment you need. Schedule an appointment today, or call 210-405-7672 for more information.