Plantar Fasciitis…Can It Be Prevented?

Can plantar fasciitis be prevented? Is it only caused by my shoes? Is it a genetic disorder? The answer to all of these questions is “It could be.”

TypicFoot Pain & Heel Pain Could be Plantar Fasciitisally Plantar fasciitis begins gradually as a dull, intermittent pain in the heel and progresses to sharp, persistent pain. For others it can be the result of a minor injury with pain in the heel, often referred to as a stone or bruise. Still, others notice it as pain in your heel or arches every morning or after sitting for long periods of time. All of these could be signs you may have plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can also develop if you have chronic pain or inflammation of the plantar fascia from walking, running, standing, or other physical activity.

Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces can also lead to plantar fasciitis. This places strain on the plantar fascia and can cause pain and inflammation. Wearing socks, non-supportive footwear, or even bare feet  - on hard - flat surfaces - and shoes on hard, flat surfaces places an abnormal strain on the fascia which can be an initial step toward developing symptoms of plantar fasciitis.

Common Medical Causes of Heel Pain

According to Healthline, the following are some of the common causes of heel pain that range from physical activity, poor footwear, improper fitting shoes and even genetics.

  • Plantar fasciitis - Plantar fasciitis occurs when too much pressure on your feet damages the plantar fascia ligament, causing pain and stiffness.
  • Sprains and strains - Sprains and strains are injuries to the body, often resulting from physical activity. These injuries are common and can range from minor to severe, depending on the incident.
  • Fracture - A fracture is a broken bone. This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required. Know what symptoms to look for and who’s at risk.
  • Achilles tendonitis - Achilles tendonitis occurs when the tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the heel becomes painful or inflamed due to overuse injuries.
  • Bursitis - Bursae are fluid-filled sacs found about your joints. They surround the areas where tendons, skin, and muscle tissues meet bones.

Risk Factors Attributing to Plantar Fasciitis

Even though plantar fasciitis can develop without an obvious cause, some factors can increase your risk of developing this condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, some common factors attributing to plantar fasciitis includes:

  • Age - Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Certain types of exercise - Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue — such as long-distance running, ballet dancing and aerobic dance — can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis.
  • Foot mechanics - Flat feet, a high arch, or even an abnormal pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when you're standing and can put added stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Obesity - Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
  • Occupations that keep you on your feet - Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage the plantar fascia.

What Happens If Plantar Fasciitis is Untreated

What does plantar fasciitis look like?

The plantar fascia is a group of ligaments that run along the foot and connect the Achilles tendon and the calcaneus (the tissue that connects the toe with the heel bone) to the pad of the foot. It is located at the underside of both feet and is the thick weave-like band that connects the heels at the front of each foot to the toes. If you have plantar fasciitis for a long time, it can develop into an issue with the heel bone, where the calcium build-up attaches to the heel bone. This can develop a calcium deficiency in the heel bone to which plantar fasciitis attaches. If you don't have enough calcium to build up more bone mass in your heel bones, it will lead to causing heel spurs that can be even more painful than plantar fasciitis

As with many ailments, if your foot pain is not treated, the foot ailment can lead to constant pain in the heel, limit your activities and even make it difficult to stand or walk which could result in surgery as the only option to correct it.

Treatments for Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis

While common treatments for plantar fasciitis include the list below and are all considered a step in the right direction, there are some other thoughts about the treatment approach you should consider. We cover the misconception and some alternative treatments in a blog Most Plantar Fasciitis Treatments are Wrong.

  • Rest as much as possible
  • Apply ice to the heel for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications
  • Wear shoes that fit properly
  • Wear foot alignment socks, a special sock that stretches the foot while you rest or sleep
  • Use heel lifts or shoe inserts to reduce pain

Plantar Fasciitis Prevention

Plantar Fasciitis Pain Prevention Tips

To prevent plantar fasciitis from developing and getting worse, try to take preventive measures to put your best foot forward. If you change the way you walk to minimize the pain associated with plantar fasciitis, you may not have foot, knee, hip, or back problems in the future. Choosing shoes that support your feet properly can make a huge difference in reducing the risk of plantar fasciitis and the way your foot feels all day long when standing, walking and running.

Orthotics can be a good alternative to wearing footwear that may be keeping your foot in a bent position and reduce morning pain, but you also want to be sure that your shoes provide sufficient support for your feet and ankles. You can think of the arch of the foot as a bow (as in bow and arrow) and the plantar fascia as the bowstring.  Pressure on the top of the arch or “bow” will cause the plantar fascia to stretch.  Support for the ‘bow” or arch is key to preventing a recurrence of plantar fasciitis, especially in the first few months of recovery. Research has shown that orthotics can relieve pain and help to resolve the cause of plantar fasciitis, not just the plantar fasciitis itself. Taping can be cheaper - more effective than using - the - counter bow support or orthotics, but over-the-counter bows, supports and orthotics are more cost-effective in the long run. 

If plantar fasciitis is associated with exercise or work, you can stop or reduce the activity to allow the foot to heal. If you have pain in your foot, such as a dull pain in your heel, tingling, or stabbing pain, it is best to stop exercising or running until the pain has subsided. Stretching can be an effective way to treat plantar fasciitis or, if at all, protect it from development. This can be done before exercise or in the evening with a pair of foot alignment socks while you relax or even sleep. Our team covered a variety of exercises and tips for plantar fasciitis pain in this recent blog. Free your feet from morning pains and give yourself the best possible chance of happy, healthy feet.

    Now you know what might be causing your plantar fasciitis pain, the foot care solutions and exercises you can do to reduce or even eliminate your foot pain. Snuggle up by the fire with your My-Happy Feet socks for a great evening of relaxation and foot care that provides relief for those aching feet or give yourself 10-15 minutes to perform some of the foot care exercises we mentioned. Shop our full line of socks today or contact your doctor for help finding the right orthotics for you.

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