Plantar fasciitis — a common foot ailment notorious for causing intense foot pain — develops when the fascia on the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. It’s a common sports injury, especially among runners, but it can also develop because of your foot structure, wearing ill-fitting or non-supportive shoes, and overuse.
The good news is Aamir Mahmood, DPM, and our team here at Momentum Foot & Ankle Clinic, are experts at diagnosing and treating plantar fasciitis. Your specific treatments may vary depending on the severity of your symptoms, but potential treatments include orthotics, physical therapy stretches, injections, and night splints.
Not only do we treat plantar fasciitis, but we also want to empower you to take action and do what you can to help prevent plantar fasciitis from returning.
Let’s take a look at what a prevention plan can look like.
Warm up before exercising
Stretching your feet before any exercise can help “warm up” your muscles and fascia. When you stretch your feet, it helps improve circulation and improves flexibility in your foot. Good circulation and improved flexibility can help rescue the risk of injury during your workout.
If you were prescribed specific stretches during physical therapy for plantar fasciitis, continue to keep up with them daily.
Alternate what types of activities you do
If overuse contributed to your first round of plantar fasciitis, try alternating low-impact activities with high-impact activities to reduce overuse injuries. Swimming, cycling, and yoga are three examples of low-impact activities that won’t strain your plantar fascia.
Your shoes should support your arches and provide adequate cushioning. If you engage in high-impact activities, such as running, always wear the right type of shoes. If you’re currently training for a race, never increase your mileage by more than 10% each week, as that can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
Additionally, even if you’re not working out, it’s important to vary your posture throughout the day. If you’re always standing on your feet, consider taking a break to give your feet a rest. For example, consider sitting on a stool for a few minutes every hour or so to reduce the strain on your fascia. If sitting isn’t an option, try standing on a cushioned mat rather than a hard surface.
Manage a healthy weight
Carrying excess weight means more pressure is placed on our feet, and the extra stain is particularly tough on your aches. If excess weight contributes to your foot pain, consider losing weight to help reduce the strain on your plantar fascia.
Wear the right shoes
If you’ve already experienced the pain of plantar fasciitis, you know firsthand how miserable it can be. Thankfully, wearing the right pair of shoes can help reduce your risk of experiencing that pain again.
Ideally, your shoes should:
- Have the right kind of support for your specific arches
- Be the right size (always get measured because sizes can vary wildly by brand)
- Be designed for the specific activity you are engaging in
- Have a low (or no) heel because high heels can make plantar fasciitis worse
In many cases, you may find that pairing a well-fitting pair of shoes with orthotics is enough to redistribute your weight without adding more pressure to your plantar fascia.
Stay diligent with your treatment plan
If you’ve been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in the past, continue to stay diligent with any of your prescribed treatments or exercise. This includes wearing your orthotics as directed. Custom orthotics are tailor-made medical devices designed to work with your unique anatomy. They can help prevent plantar fasciitis from returning by ensuring not to place too much pressure onto your fascia.
Even with these steps, plantar fasciitis may return, and if that’s the case, don’t wait for your symptoms to get worse. Calling Dr. Mahmood at the first sign of trouble is an excellent way to help stop the condition from progressing.
If you’re concerned about plantar fasciitis returning, call the location of your choice — Michigan City, Chesterton, Indiana, and Lombard, Illinois — to explore your potential options. You can also request an appointment online.