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Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common reasons for reported heel pain. How common? According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 1 in 10 people will experience it at least once in their lifetime. With a bruising or aching sensation in the heel or arch of the foot, Plantar Fasciitis can keep you from walking or doing your daily activities comfortably. 

The good news is that this condition can be easily treated and even prevented with a few simple exercises and lifestyle changes. In this article, we will guide you through ways you can prevent and treat this painful condition. 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. This tissue is known as the plantar fascia. The result of this inflammation is usually a bruising or stabbing sensation in your heel or along the entire bottom of your foot. This pain is usually worse with your first steps in the morning and eases as you continue to walk. 

Some people are more prone to Plantar Fasciitis than others. People who spend prolonged amounts of time on their feet like teachers, hairstylists and factory workers tend to have higher incidences of plantar fasciitis. It’s also seen in a lot of athletes and runners, people with high arches, people who are overweight, or people who wear specific types of footwear. You can also have it because of things like the structure of your foot or the gait you have when you walk. 

Preventing Plantar Fasciitis

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment. Whether you are trying to prevent it from returning or preventing it altogether, there are ways you can ward off a painful case of plantar fasciitis. Recommendations include:

  1. Lose Weight

Excess weight wreaks havoc on a lot of joints and parts of the body, but it especially can affect areas like the heel that get a lot of pressure during walking or exercise. Losing weight can help reduce the pressure on this area and more. 

  1. Wear Supportive Shoes

What you wear on your feet should ultimately be chosen to protect your feet from pain and injury. For example, reconsider high heels and choose some supportive flats instead. Avoid going barefoot on hard surfaces and get some supportive slippers if you prefer being more casual at home. Finally, if you’re an athlete, make sure to replace your athletic shoes often so you always have the benefit of their built-in support. 

  1. Choose Your Exercises Carefully

Just like excess weight, certain types of exercises can put a lot of unnecessary stress and pressure on your feet. Low impact exercises like swimming and cycling can help you ward off plantar fasciitis or avoid a recurrence. 

Treating Plantar Fasciitis

If you’ve been experiencing heel pain, especially during the first few steps of the morning or after a period of rest, you could be suffering from Plantar Fasciitis. Seeking a doctor’s treatment for it is better done sooner than later as prolonged use without treatment can cause worsening pain. 

There are many options to treat Plantar Fasciitis depending on the severity of the inflammation and how long you’ve had the pain. They include:

  1. Medication

Although not our first favorite, a doctor may recommend taking NSAIDs to help with pain and inflammation. They may prescribe several doses over the course of a day.

  1. Steroid Injections

Again, not our second favorite option, but you need to know what the options are for pain relief. If the pain is severe and the NSAIDs don’t help, a steroid injection may be recommended. Injected into your plantar fascia, it can help relieve your pain for as long as a month or more.

  1. Footwear or Insoles

Finding comfortable shoes with good arch support and soft soles can help relieve the pain and keep it from coming back later. Shoes can also be fitted for orthotic inserts that provide support where your foot needs it and puts less pressure on the plantar fascia.

  1. Physical Therapy

Medication, ice and rest may help with the pain, but physical therapy can help you alleviate pain while preventing flare ups later. During therapy, you’ll learn exercises that will stretch and strengthen your plantar fascia as well as other tendons and muscles that are affected. 
If you’re looking for long term relief from pain caused by plantar fasciitis, the expert therapists at South Orange Rehabilitation and Wellness know exactly what you need to overcome your foot pain and prevent it from happening in the future. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you get back on your feet pain free.