3 Easy Tips for Reducing Your Risk of Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a very common condition that can affect
people of all different activity levels, but it's more frequently experienced
by those who are physically active.
A lot of running, dancing or other high-impact activities
can initiate the condition, says Christina S. Long, DPM, instructor in podiatry
and orthopaedics at Wake Forest Baptist Health. "Repetitive pulling of the
plantar fascia, the three bands of tissue that run from the bottom of the heel
to the ball of the foot, can cause inflammation and micro tears, which most
commonly lead to pain at the bottom of the heel and sometimes through the
bottom arch of the foot," she explains.
Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to reduce overuse of
the plantar fascia.
Plantar Fasciitis Tips and Exercises
stretching throughout the week. Athletes who work out every day tend to develop
tighter muscles and tendons. Tightness in the Achilles tendon, in particular,
can cause stress along the bottom of the foot. Combat this problem by
stretching those areas frequently. You might also consider getting a night
splint, which will stretch out your calf at night.
Dr. Long also recommends the following exercises for
stretching out your feet:
- Rolling a tennis ball with the arch of your foot
- Standing on a step and letting your heels drop
- Picking up marbles off of the floor with your
- Gently stretching toes backward
- Massage frozen water bottle along arch and heel
of the foot
Wear shoes that stabilize
and support the feet. Choose shoes that have good arch support, shock
absorption and are designed for high-impact activities. It's also important to
change out your shoes frequently. "I commonly advise runners to get two
pairs of shoes every six months and switch out the shoes every other day,"
says Dr. Long. "This will help reduce the progression of wear in the
In addition, make sure your other shoes, such as your everyday
walking shoes, are also supportive.
Take a rest from
high-impact activity at least one day a week. Recovery time is an essential
part of exercise, and it will help you avoid the overuse and repetition that
can lead to plantar fasciitis. However, if you're already experiencing pain in
your foot, you may need a longer recovery period. "If the pain is mild,
you can still participate in your regular activities, but break them up with
low-impact activities such as cycling and swimming," says Dr. Long.
"If your feet are in a lot of pain, stop your regular high-impact activity
and focus solely on low-impact activities until the pain subsides."
If you’re still experiencing pain after four to six weeks of stretching, wearing supportive foot wear and getting appropriate rest, it may be time to see a podiatrist or foot and ankle orthopaedist.
Request a Sports Medicine appointment online now.