Plantar Fasciitis is a degenerative condition of the feet caused due to repetitive stress of the heels of the feet.
It leads to the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs from the toes of the feet to the heels, causing micro-tears.
Plantar Fasciitis causes aggravated heel or arch pain in the soles of the foot.
How is Plantar Fasciitis Caused
Plantar Fasciitis is caused and aggravated due to excessive strain and stress on the arches and heels of the feet.
It is also common amongst people who have flat feet, an upward flexion on the ankle, high arches, or an abnormal pattern of walking.
The tight Achilles tendon may also lead to plantar fascia pain. These conditions put added stress on the fascia.
Prolonged standing or walking on concrete
Prolonged standing or walking on concrete has emerged as a major reason behind Plantar Fasciitis.
Contact with concrete puts immense pressure in the plantar fascia often leading to heel spurs.
As such it is common among people whose occupation requires them to spend a lot of time on their foot or walking.
Weight & Running
Bearing too much weight and over-running is often a cause of Plantar Fasciitis among runners and athletes.
Repetitive and strained stretching can also cause tear or inflammation of the fascia .
Obesity, being overweight, or even pregnancy are common risk factors for Plantar Fasciitis.
These conditions lead to increased pressure on the plantar fascia ligaments, specifically when the weight gain is sudden. Women in their late pregnancy often experience bouts of Plantar Fasciitis.
Training error, lack of activity, different leg lengths, and weak plantar flexor muscles are other risk factors.
Inadequate footwear is also a significant cause behind Plantar Fasciitis.
Shoes with slim soles, no arch support, and no cushioning, may damage the plantar fascia over a sustained period of time.
The presence of these features ensures support and protection for your feet. They include flats, heels, dress shoes, among others.
Plantar Fasciitis can also be caused due to certain diseases like reactive arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis symptoms may develop gradually over time or maybe suddenly.
The most common symptom is severe pain at the bottom of the heel, which can get aggravated after prolonged activity due to increased inflammation.
The pain is felt post-activity rather than during it.
This pain is usually worse in the morning when you take the first step out of bed.
It can also be extreme when you put your feet down after long periods of resting or sitting.
This occurs because while resting the foot, the plantar fascia gets shortened and stretches painfully when movement is initiated. Thus causing pain in the heels.
Walking, standing, or stretching helps in elongating the Plantar Fascia and thereby alleviating the pain.
While walking for short distances can help with the condition, waking for long distances may make it worse.
Pain at the bottom of the mid-foot area has also been experienced by some people. This pain usually develops gradually but has a dull but sharp effect.
Burning sensation or ache towards the bottom of the foot extending outwards is also a common symptom.
Heel and arch tenderness is another common symptom of Plantar Fasciitis. Pressing, some times even touching, the bottom of the heel can be extremely painful.
Pain while flexing the toes and foot upwards towards the shin, dorsiflexion, is a symptom of Plantar Fasciitis.
Pain due to sudden stretching of the sole of the foot is also common. This pain can extend up to the toes or shin.
Plantar Fasciitis alongside tight Achilles tendon can make this symptom worse.
An occasional symptom for Plantar Fasciitis may include the tingling or burning sensation in the affected foot. This may indicate irritation or squeeze in the nerve.
Precautions to take when you have plantar fasciitis
In order to prevent any further complications and resist the aggravation of Plantar Fasciitis, it is important to take certain precautions.
Wear Right Type of Footwear
Wearing shoes that provide protection and support is the first major precaution you need to maintain to prevent further aggravation.
Shoes with a shank, solid heel counters, cushioned soles, and high arch support are a good option for people with Plantar Fasciitis.
Additionally, replacing your shoes frequently in the case of worn soles is also important. Worn soles tend to make your walk uneven and reduces support.
Avoid Barefoot Walking
People with Plantar Fasciitis should always be careful not to walk barefoot.
It may damage the ligament that naturally supports your arches, thereby making the condition worse.
They should also avoid taking long walks or even standing on concrete grounds. Walking on concrete is a common cause behind Plantar Fasciitis.
Control your Weight
Another precautionary step is to lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Being overweight puts a lot of pressure on your foot and the arches.
It is one of the risk factors for Plantar Fasciitis.
People with Plantar Fasciitis should also try to prevent any further injury in their foot. Injuries can make the pain worse and may aggravate the symptoms.
If you are an athlete and can’t stay away from plating, go for a low impact game like swimming or bicycling.
If you are headed for an exercise and workout, be sure to warm up before that. Resting your feet and limiting activity is important.
Being aware of the landing of your foot will help in preventing any misstep and subsequent injury.
Avoiding hills, trails, and any kind of uneven surface will help protect your feet from possible injury.
How Right Shoes help With Plantar Fasciitis
Going for poorly constructed shoes with no arch support or ankle protection can aggravate the condition and the pain levels in Plantar Fasciitis.
Wearing the right shoes is one of the first professional medical recommendations in response to Plantar Fasciitis.
Wearing the right shoe can help alleviate the symptoms gradually and provide relief to your foot.
The right shoes stop plantar fasciitis from interfering with your daily activity and provide the support to your feet to go on with life.
Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis usually need the following features- good arch support, deep heel cup, stiff midsole, cushioned outsoles, supportive arches, lacing system, and a flexible toe box.
All these features in a Plantar Fasciitis shoes help in providing support and protection to the feet.
Walking barefoot and in unsupporting shoes can delay your recovery. According to a study, wearing shoes with cushioned insoles reduced Plantar Fasciitis stress in people by 35-40 percent.
Plantar fasciitis is often caused due to poor arch support. By wearing shoes with proper arch support you will not only relieve the pain and stress but also gradually strengthen your arch of the foot.
Shoes with proper arch support also help in providing proper alignment to your feet reducing the subsequent stress on your knees, ankles, and back.
Wearing the right shoe is highly recommended, and the most convenient way of treating plantar fasciitis.
Good arch support also prevents overpronation. Wearing the right Plantar Fasciitis shoes also help in realigning the foot and facilitating proper movement.
Shoes with deep heel and a proper cushioning absorb the impact of your heels hitting the ground and helps in mitigating this impact.
This prevents the heel and arch of your foot from experiencing excessive stress which might otherwise lead to micro-tears in the fascia tissue.
Additionally, the stiff midsole prevents any movement of the foot inside of the shoe thereby warding off any possible injuries that might take place due to a slip or fall.
It also helps in ensuring the proper positioning of your foot inside the shoes so that pressure is exerted at the right points in your feet while walking, standing, running, or any other activity.
Therefore wearing the right Plantar Fasciitis shoes not only protect your feet and relieve the pain level but also helps in recovery and prevents the condition from getting worse.
How to Select the Right Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
The right shoes for Plantar Fasciitis should be able to provide support to the heel and arch of your foot and protect it from possible injuries.
Additionally, it should also be able to absorb and mitigate the impact of movement evenly in order to prevent any unnecessary strain on the facia.
In order to select the right shoes, look for the following features-
Supportive Arch –
The first feature to look for in the right shoes is a supportive arch.
Arch support in shoes helps in preventing overpronation and supports the foot thereby reducing the stress on the facia.
It also helps in providing a proper alignment to the foot.
A deep heel cup with sufficient cushioning is an important feature for the right shoes for Plantar Fasciitis.
A deep heel cups protect the heel bone and control pronation or supination. It also helps in providing firm and stable footing.
Cushioning additionally assists in absorbing and mitigating the impact of movement evenly throughout the feet.
Rigid Midsole –
Thirdly, the shoes must have a rigid midsole. They help in keeping your foot positioned properly and prevent any unnecessary movement of the foot inside of the shoe.
Cushioned outsoles are also criteria that provide support to the feet, and protect it against debris and uneven terrains.
Closure System –
The right shoes for Plant fasciitis should have a closure system in place.
It can be lace or a velcro strap. This ensures that your foot is held in the right position and is perfectly fitted inside the shoe.
You should additionally look for shoes that have a supportive sole. Not only do soles provide support and protection they also help in controlling the motion of your feet for each step.
In addition to all these features, the factor of utmost importance is the fitting of the shoes.
Right Fitting –
The right shoes for Plantar Fasciitis should be perfectly suited to the size of your foot. Often one foot is larger than the other foot.
It is usually recommended that you buy the size that fits the larger foot.
Moreover, you should go shoe shopping in the afternoon rather than early in the morning. This is because the feet tend to swell a bit during the course of the afternoon and become larger.
Plantar Fasciitis is a chronic, degenerative condition of the feet that only tends to get worse if proper care is not taken.
One of the primary medical recommendations for people with Plantar Fasciitis is to invest in supportive shoes that are right for the condition and will help in alleviating the symptoms and assisting recovery.
These shoes must have a supportive arch and heel counters. It will help in relieving the pressure off your heels and preventing any micro-tears in the fascia.
Wearing the right shoes can gradually decrease the level of pain felt due to Plantar Fasciitis and is the first step towards recovery.