Plantar fasciitis develops at the bottom of your feet when the strong band of tissue that supports the arch of your foot becomes inflamed or irritated. About two million people in the U.S. may be living with heel pain and plantar fasciitis, and it can affect both athletes and non-athletes.
Treatments for plantar fasciitis range from over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid drugs, and physical therapy to night splints and custom shoe inserts. Surgery may be recommended in rare cases when all conservative treatments have failed to work.
Here are ten things that increase your risk of developing – or may worsen – plantar fasciitis:
- Gaining or failing to lose extra weight Carrying around excess weight or experiencing a sudden gain in weight (such as becoming pregnant) can result in painful feet, with plantar fasciitis being the number one cause of the pain. The same is true if your work involves load-bearing activities, such as wearing heavy equipment or doing construction work. Losing the weight or reducing your work load may decrease the amount of stress on your feet and lessen symptoms associated with plantar fasciitis.
- Avoiding treatment or ignoring symptoms Ignoring plantar fasciitis doesn’t make it go away. As soon as you notice a sharp pain in your feet, especially after sitting for a long time or after waking up in the morning, contact your doctor immediately to assess the problem.
- Standing all day at work Jobs that require you to stand for long periods of time can worsen your symptoms. Sit down for a few minutes several times a day. Put your feet up if possible, and massage or stretch your feet. Ask your employer or purchase a padded mat to stand on if need be. You can also wear compression or support socks.
- Sitting (or sleeping) for periods of time Unlike other injuries, plantar fasciitis usually comes on strong when you take that first step after waking up or sitting for a long period of time. Before you take that first step out of bed, point and flex your feet for a few minutes. You may also consider wearing splints to keep your feet stretched while you sleep.
- “Pushing through” the pain and discomfort Pain is your body’s way of saying – stop it! Listen to your body, and seek treatment as soon as symptoms develop.
- Wearing shoes that may worsen the condition Wearing flip-flops or trendy ballet flats may be convenient or fashionable, but they can wreak havoc on your feet. With little arch support and no padding, these shoes only exacerbate the condition. If you feel pain in flip-flops, imagine what going barefoot can do. Unless you are in the shower or bed, always wear supportive shoes until your symptoms completely go away.
- Consuming too much sugar High blood sugar levels cause your body to produce molecules called advanced glycation end products, which trigger inflammation. Cut back on refined sugars and modify your diet to be healthier and more natural.
- Ignoring your feet as part of your warm up You stretch your quads and you work your core. What about your feet? Stretching your feet as part of your warm-up and cool down can help minimize the risk of getting plantar fasciitis. Pointing and flexing, even while sitting for a long time, can help strengthen your feet.
- Having high-arched, flat, or pronating feet Without proper care, high arches, flat feet, bunions, or feet that pronate in or out when you walk can often be enough to damage your feet. Your doctor can evaluate your gait and prescribe the right footwear, measure your feet for orthotics, or recommend a surgical procedure.
- Ignoring pain in other parts of the body Not addressing pain in other parts of the body may be making your plantar fasciitis worse. Remember – everything is connected and if you are trying to compensate for pain in other parts of your body, you may be throwing off your natural gait. This can impact your feet. As soon as you notice something wrong, see your doctor before the problem becomes worse.
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment in Maryland
Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland offers state-of-the-art, full-service orthopedic care for plantar fasciitis and other orthopedic conditions and injuries. Call us today at (410) 644-1880 to schedule an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.