If you have ever suffered from plantar fasciitis, you probably already know that there are very few things that can be as painful and annoying as this awful condition.
This persistent injury can occur in both runners and walkers.
And, once it develops it can be harder to get rid of than a 3-bedroom home in this economy.
Your best bet is to try to avoid the condition altogether if at all possible, but that is much easier said than done.
With that being said, it is imperative to know everything you possibly can about the condition, and what you can do to prevent and treat it.
Plantar Fasciitis Statistics
Many Americans are not completely aware of the condition known as plantar fasciitis.
According to Medscape, an estimated ten percent of Americans will experience heel pain (1).
Around one million doctor visits can be directly linked to plantar fasciitis.
While the condition isn’t the most common, it can be very impactful.
Simultaneously, it can also be very expensive.
Conventional plantar fasciitis treatments rake in at least two-hundred-million dollars in revenue each and every year.
So, what exactly is plantar fasciitis?
It is obviously linked to pain originating at the heel, but you may not fully understand the condition.
Don’t worry, your questions will be answered below.
Understanding the Plantar Tendon
The first thing you need to know is that the plantar tendon runs the entire length of the bottom of your foot.
In fact, it spans from the base of your toes to the front of your heel.
The main job of the plantar tendon is to provide cushion and shock absorption to the arch of the foot when you are running or walking.
Also, when the foot is bearing weight, the tendon keeps the arch from completely flattening out.
Along with this, this tendon is what gives you the ability to point your toes.
So, as you can see the plantar tendon plays a major role in the functionality of the foot and the way your walk or run.
Exploring Plantar Fasciitis and How It Develops
You would truly be surprised at the wide variety of conditions that can cause plantar fasciitis to occur in any individual.
To start off, plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar tendon and it can occur at either the base of the toes of the start of the heel.
When your legs create a certain motion that pulls on the plantar tendon, it can strain or injure this tendon and this is when plantar fasciitis develops.
It can be caused by simply walking or running uphill or downhill, wearing high heels, pointing your toes up while making strides with each foot, or over-striding.
In addition to this, there is a wide variety of other variables that can cause this condition to arise.
This includes thing like worn out shoes, inflexible shoes, shoes that are bending in the middle, low or high arches, being overweight, long hours on the feet, stiff ankle muscles, tight calf muscles, and even walking barefoot in the sand.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common risk factors include age, obesity, and occupation (2).
What to Expect with Plantar Fasciitis
While you might not know it initially, it will not take you long to connect the symptoms to the disorder.
This statement rings true for plantar fasciitis.
This unique condition can lead to an abundance of symptoms, with the most notable being intense pain in the heel.
The pain will resemble a stabbing and it will usually impact the bottom portion of the foot.
In general, the pain will be the most intense first thing in the morning.
However, it can also flare up after you’ve sat around for a long period of time.
Simultaneously, there is a good chance that the pain will increase in intensity after strenuous exercise.
When suffering from plantar fasciitis, you should expect intense pain, decreased mobility in the foot, and difficulty walking in the morning.
Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis
As soon as the patient has confirmed that they’re indeed suffering from plantar fasciitis, they’ll want to take action right away.
The good news is that there is an abundance of potential natural remedies that can help to alleviate the symptoms linked to this disorder.
Some of the best plantar fasciitis exercises for alleviating pain and stiffness will be explored in greater depth below.
Plantar fasciitis often makes it difficult to bend and stretch the foot.
This can lead to decreased mobility and pain.
To combat the problem and alleviate the pain, it is a good idea to stretch the fascia frequently.
Stretching this portion of the foot isn’t too difficult, but it can be painful in the beginning.
Stand next to a wall and place your toes against it. Make sure the rest of your foot remains as flat as possible.
Hold the stretch for a good ten seconds before repeating the exercise.
A 2006 study, focusing on plantar fascia-stretching exercise and the benefits it provides.(3)
A total of 82 patients participated in the program, but only 62 ended up seeing it out to the end.
During the study, the patients underwent plantar fascia target stretching exercises for over an 8-week period.
Throughout the study, the research team assessed the effects of the exercise regimen periodically.
The patients were divided into two groups, one being treated with Achilles tendon stretching exercises and the other plantar target stretching exercises.
At the end of the study, 66 of the participants responded to a questionnaire that addressed function, satisfaction, and pain.
The findings revealed that 92 percent of the patients being treated with plantar fascia target stretching exercises were satisfied with the results.
Some of those patients had some minor reservations regarding the treatment but still reported satisfaction.
Sixteen participants reported seeking treatment from a primary care physician during the study.
Using a Frozen Water Bottle
There are plenty of good ways to stretch the fascia and utilizing a frozen water bottle is definitely one of the most effective options.
First, make sure that your foot has been limbered and warmed up.
Then, you should place the water bottle under the arch of the foot and roll it forward and backward for at least ten minutes.
The ice can help to alleviate the inflammation, while the stretching will calm the pain and improve the flexibility in the foot.
You can perform a similar exercise using a frozen golf ball.
Thanks to the size of the ball, you’ll have an easier time targeting the most problematic areas.
Rolling the Muscles
Believe it or not, plantar fasciitis can be caused by all muscles above the planter.
This includes the back, legs, and shoulders.
Walking with the incorrect posture can lead to a wealth of problems, with plantar fasciitis being one of the most common.
To loosen up the body and alleviate that intense pain, it is a good idea to limber up the muscles above the foot.
Stretch more frequently and use a foam roller to loosen up those muscles.
This exercise will ensure that your body is ready for the day, while also decreasing the likelihood that you take a wrong step and inflame the heel.
Before Rolling Out of Bed
Again, plantar fasciitis tends to be much more intense and painful first thing in the morning.
Your foot will be stiff as well.
Therefore, it is essential to perform the appropriate exercises before rolling out of bed.
Before moving, it is a good idea to stretch the foot by flexing upward and downward.
This should be done at least ten times. Subsequently, it is a good idea to perform the toe stretches.
Finally, WebMD recommendation is using a towel to stretch the bottom portion of the foot.(4)
These activities will help reduce the pain, while also limbering the foot.
In return, this will make it far easier to climb out of bed and begin walking almost immediately.
If the pain is extra intense, it may be wise to ice the heel as well.
This can help diminish the pain, while also reducing the inflammation.
Choosing the Appropriate Footwear
There is a good chance that you’re going to walk over a great distance each and every day.
If this is the case, you have to keep in mind that it’s necessary for you to get the best shoes for plantar fasciitis at all costs.
Wearing inappropriate footwear will greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll suffer from plantar fasciitis.
Simultaneously, this can increase the intensity of the symptoms, while making it incredibly difficult to walk first thing in the morning.
Below, you will discover tips for choosing the appropriate footwear for this unique condition.
Choosing Running Shoes
In general, running shoes will prove to be a good investment for sufferers of plantar fasciitis.
This is not a coincidence.
Running shoes are specifically designed to deliver immense cushioning, while also supporting natural foot movements.
These shoes will usually deliver a substantial amount of support and this can make them perfect for people suffering from this terrible disorder.
Just remember that not all running shoes are equal.
Make sure the other factors below are also taken into consideration when attempting to buy the right shoes.
Sufficient Arch Support
Flat shoes are not going to help in the least.
On the contrary, they’ll probably make the condition much worse.
With this in mind, it is best to make the transition to a pair of shoes with plenty of arch support.
The shoe should be elevated slightly in the back.
This will deliver more support to the arch and help to offset that terrible pain.
Plenty of Heel Cushioning
Plantar fasciitis primarily impacts the patient’s heel.
Obviously, wearing a pair of shoes that offers very little heel cushioning isn’t going to cut it.
In fact, this will likely lead to more pain and more stiffness.
As mentioned time and again, flip-flops are not a good option (7).
Instead, you need a good pair of shoes with plenty of cushioning.
More padding is always better!
Always Avoid Used and Worn Out Shoes
As a runner or walker, you have probably already realized that the proper walking and running shoes can be rather expensive.
Due to this fact, most people look to shop for used running shoes or wear their shoes way passed their expiration date.
Both of these situations can be extremely bad for your feet and only cause plantar fasciitis to develop or worsen.
When a pair of shoes become old and worn out, they tend to flatten.
This means that they are going to provide much less support in the arch area where the most support is needed.
Not only can this lead to plantar fasciitis, but also it can lead to Achilles tendon injuries and other heel problems.(8)
Whether you are a long-distance walker, runner, or spend all day on your feet, it is imperative that you replace your shoes before they become too worn out.
While shopping for used shoes might be a cheaper alternative, this is a major mistake that you want to avoid at all costs.
The reason for this is because shoes form to individual’s feet over time.
It is possible that the person that owned the shoes before you had a different stride or motion or walking, which could entirely affect the way you walk or run.
This could lead to bone and heel spurs, or rubbing of the foot.
Nutrition for Plantar Fasciitis
Nutrition can play a major role in treating your plantar fasciitis.
Below, you will learn about some of the best foods that are available on the market for treating plantar fasciitis symptoms.
- Vegetables and Fruits
It is no big secret that vegetables and fruits have always been an excellent food for the human body, but most individuals weren’t aware of just how much of a role they can play on the feet.
Vegetables and berries contain tons of minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
Protein has been well known for a long time for reducing inflammation and swelling throughout the body.
Some of the best protein sources available for plantar fasciitis are fish, lean poultry, legumes, pecans, walnuts, and Brazil nuts.
- Oils and Fats Can Help
Oils and fat are also excellent when it comes to reducing inflammation in the feet and legs.
Flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, oily fish, and canola oil not only reduce inflammation, but they also contain chemicals that have the abilities to reduce cardiovascular diseases.
- Foods that Should be Avoided
While there are tons of foods that can assist in dealing with plantar fasciitis, there are also a wide variety of foods that can cause inflammation throughout the body.
These foods could potentially result in plantar fasciitis.
For instance, junk food, sugar, meats, and other foods that contain substantial amounts of fat are a great way to build inflammation.
Consuming less processed foods can go a long way when it comes to doing away with inflammation throughout the body.
Vitamins for Plantar Fasciitis
As you may know by now, Plantar fasciitis is not typically considered a debilitating disease, if it is treated properly.
However, some people who have been diagnosed with PF, do not have health care insurance, so they are forced to turn to a cheaper alternative.
These alternatives do not necessarily mean that you are going to have to suffer from the condition the rest of your life.
Because some of these alternatives have proven to be very effective in easing pain like vitamins.
Below, you will discover several vitamins and minerals that can help to improve your condition.
Calcium is a very important mineral that is proven to be effective in preventing heel spurs, linked to plantar fasciitis.
Calcium dietary sources include cheese, soybeans, sardines, almonds, tofu, milk, oranges and collard greens.
Physicians recommend adults to take 1,000 milligrams daily to combat heel spurs.
Calcium plays a huge role in healthy teeth and bones, as well as healthy cells, nerves, and muscles.
Magnesium is another very important nutrient that is effective in managing foot health and plantar fasciitis.
Your calcium intake should be combined with the recommended daily allowance of magnesium (9).
If you fail to combine these two nutrients in your daily regimen, you may end up developing the calcium deficiency.
Medical professional and pharmacists recommend taking 400 milligrams of magnesium daily.
If you take a higher dose, you may experience diarrhea, since magnesium in high doses causes a laxative effect.
Magnesium is available in a supplement or foods.
However, most people prefer magnesium rich foods, because they do not want to add another pill to their daily regimen or they have difficulty swallowing pills.
Magnesium can be found in lentils, white beans, pumpkin seeds, spinach, bananas, dried figs, avocados, brown rice, pinto beans and millet.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is utilized to combat the common cold and improve overall health.
It has also been proven that vitamin C is very effective in easing pain linked to the plantar fascia.
Since the body does not produce vitamin C, you have to consume it in your diet.
The very important vitamin is a key structural component of ligaments, blood vessels, and tendons.
Vitamin C should be combined with proper footwear, orthotics, and stretching exercises.
Medical professionals and pharmacists recommend taking up to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C each day.
There are no scientific facts to prove the effectiveness of bromelain, but some medical experts believe that it can ease pain associated to the plantar fascia.
Bromelain consists of enzymes that are found in pineapples.
Remember that plantar fasciitis is a major problem, but it is not an unwinnable battle.
By taking the right actions, you will be able to alleviate the symptoms and begin living a good life once again.
Be sure to utilize the tips provided above, so you conquer this battle once and for all.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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