Ask any runner about their injuries sustained while running, and you will be met with a common answer: plantar fasciitis is undoubtedly one of the worst they have experienced. This common injury, which affects the sole to the heel and up the back, can sideline runners for months and even years in some cases. Below, we cover the causes of plantar fasciitis and the dos and don’ts to follow when you have it.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia absorbs impacts on the foot when doing activities like standing, walking, and running. This fibrous and tough band of tissue runs along the sole and attaches to the base of the toes to the heel bone. Since the foot is one part of the body used all the time, too much pressure or impact on the plantar fascia may result in its inflammation.
There is no single cause for plantar fasciitis; several risk factors increase the odds of anyone developing the condition, not just runners. These factors include:
- Exercises that repeatedly impact the plantar fascia, such as running
- Certain medical conditions such as arthritis
- Constant usage of high-heeled footwear or worn-out footwear
- Flat feet, tight calf muscles, or high arches
- Being overweight or pregnant, putting more pressure on the feet
- Regularly standing for long periods
- Age, as the condition is typically more common in people 40 to 60 years old
When you are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, you want to avoid aggravating factors. Thus, to manage this condition, here are some key tips on what not to do:
1. Minimise any activity that heavily impacts your feet, such as running or jumping. As much as possible, reduce or avoid these strenuous activities altogether until your symptoms have decreased.
2. If you are in pain, do not tough it out and push through it. Doing so may cause more harm, leading to increased fraying and inflammation of the plantar fascia, which may require surgery.
3. Walking barefoot or using flat hard soled shoes is discouraged. To avoid aggravating your symptoms, wear prescribed footwear with specific arch support for your needs. Moreover, the goal is to walk comfortably, so wear shoes with cushioned soles.
4. Do not stand for long periods. If your job calls for you to regularly stand for extended periods, talk to your superiors about changing your work responsibilities for the time being. Asking for a doctor or physiotherapist’s note may help in convincing them.
Now that you know what you should not be doing, here are the dos to relieve the pain and quicken the recovery process:
1. Get plenty of rest. For athletes or runners, this is especially important as your body will need time to recover. If you still wish to be active, now is the perfect time to try other exercises and sports that keep you in shape without aggravating your symptoms.
2. Try the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method. This helps reduce swelling, especially if you cannot be exempt from walking or standing all day at work. When icing, stick to 20 minutes at a time.
3. Stretch regularly. Once your feet feel less irritated due to the pain and most of the symptoms have subsided, gentle stretching can help in prevention and recovery. When stretching, remember not to force it, as doing so will irritate the plantar fascia. After the symptoms have gone down and with your doctor’s approval, you can try wearing a night splint to keep your foot stretched while sleeping.
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes intense pain and difficulty weight bearing on the foot. Thankfully, making a complete recovery is attainable with the proper treatment complemented by simple lifestyle changes and home remedies. A person can also reduce the risk factors by maintaining healthy body weight, wearing appropriate footwear, and engaging in low-impact exercises and strengthening the foot muscles.
If you need help managing plantar fasciitis or are seeking other pain relief solutions in Singapore, look no further than Pain SG. Our multidisciplinary team of pain treatment specialists in Singapore can help you effectively manage and eliminate your body aches like back pain sciatica, IT Band syndrome, knee pain, frozen shoulder, and other ailments.
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