Remarkably, the average person walks an estimated 100,000 miles during their lifetime. Being mobile and active for most Americans is a core quality of life standard regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete, weekend warrior, or just want to run and play with your children or grandchildren.
It comes as no surprise that when your feet hurt or are injured, it seems to zap the joy out of every activity. One of the most common sources of foot pain — and more specifically, heel pain — is plantar fasciitis.
In this blog, our highly skilled podiatry team at Cardio Metabolic Institute unpacks this common condition that affects millions of Americans each year. We hope our tips for living with plantar fasciitis help keep you in the game — whether you’re training for a marathon or just want to enjoy a morning walk.
About plantar fasciitis
A good place to start this conversation is to explain the function of the plantar fascia. This band of tissue is located along the entire length of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. When you walk, it bears the entire pressure of your weight and supports your foot’s arch. It’s essentially the equivalent of a car’s shock absorber.
Small tears can form along the plantar fascia as a result of overuse, tension, and stress, resulting in swelling and inflammation along the plantar fascia as well as a stabbing pain that typically starts when you take your first steps to begin your day. The following tips can help if you’re living with plantar fasciitis.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Although there’s no definitive reason why some people suffer from plantar fasciitis while others don’t, several risk factors make you more prone to develop it. One of these risk factors is being overweight or obese.
By maintaining a healthy weight, you automatically put less stress on your plantar fascia. If you have problems with your weight, the practitioners at Cardio Metabolic Institute can work with you to develop a weight-loss plan to help you get back on track.
Maintaining a healthy weight not only helps reduce plantar fasciitis problems, but it also lowers your risk for chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
2. Choose footwear with good arch support
Because adequate support is essential to the healthy function of your plantar fascia, choosing footwear that fits your feet comfortably and provides adequate support is essential. Fit and function, not fashion, is the way to go here.
Matching the activity with the footwear is also important. Hiking shoes or shoes for distance racing are very different from a walking shoe or gym shoe. In some cases, a custom insert or orthotic that you can slip inside your shoe may be the best bet.
3. Pace yourself
Staying in shape is important for your health, but plan your activities so you can master manageable benchmarks instead of trying to do too much at one time. Reaching multiple goals as you progress is rewarding, and you also lower your risk for aggravating plantar fasciitis or causing injury.
4. Stretch your arches with therapy or exercise
One of the most important tips for living with plantar fasciitis is stretching your arches through physical therapy or exercise. This can help whether you’re currently suffering from plantar fasciitis or you’d like to prevent its recurrence.
The goal is to strengthen your arch muscles so they can better withstand the pressure and strain that naturally occurs during walking, running, or even standing on your feet for long periods. Customized physical therapy sessions are available here at Cardio Metabolic Institute.
5. Wear a splint while you sleep
Another great way to manage your plantar fasciitis is sleeping with a night splint. The splint holds your foot in a position that effectively stretches the fascia, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles — making that first step you take in the morning less painful.
If you suffer from painful plantar fasciitis and want to discover how to live a more enjoyable and pain-free life, make an appointment at Cardio Metabolic Institute in Somerset, Monroe Township, or East Brunswick, New Jersey. For an appointment at the office nearest you, click or call today.