Written by Ed Griffin
It starts with a weird feeling in your heel, almost like there is a pebble in your shoe. As it progresses, the feeling is more like a pin or nail has been driven into your heel. The final act is when you get up in the morning and have a hard time putting weight on your foot.
Anyone who has experienced this knows the name of which I speak...the dreaded Plantar Fasciitis. Let’s just call it “PF” for short because I will have to use spell check every time I write “fasciitis.”
What the heck causes PF?
In most injuries the causes are: A: old or ill-fitting shoes, B: overuse or C: a combination of A and B. PF can range in severity from mildly irritating to downright debilitating. It can also strike anyone. Runners, walkers, factory workers, hospital employees, and those who go once a year to the fair and walk a lot more than they are accustomed to, can get PF based on the causes mentioned above. To avoid getting PF, make sure you have the proper shoes and that they are not worn out. The staff at Fleet Feet Sports can assess your needs to help you choose the proper shoe. Also, don’t increase downforce activity (running and walking) by more than 10% per week in time or distance. So, for example, if you walk or run 3 times per week for 30 minutes and you increase it to 5 times a week for 30 minutes, your chances of an injury substantially increase. PF is, by far, the number one complaint of customers we see at Fleet Feet.
If you have PF, what next?
PF is an inflammation, so to calm it down, you need to eliminate the causes of the inflammation. It only makes sense to have your shoes checked out...all of them. Heels, Chucks, sandals or your running and walking shoes can all be contributing to the problem. There are inserts that we can fit you for at Fleet Feet Sports which can be part of the solution. Sometimes a custom orthotic from one of our area’s medical professionals is required.
In no particular order here are some tips that can help with the symptoms of PF:
- Don’t walk around barefoot - not in your house or on the beach.
- Wear an insert to help support your foot inside the shoe and remove stress on the fascia
- Yoga is a great way to help. Downward dog is a great way to keep the plantar fascia from tightening
- Use ice, frozen veggies or a frozen water bottle on the heel/arch area of your foot.
- There are aids such as the Strassburg sock and PF compression sleeves that keep your foot stretched that work wonders in stock here at Fleet Feet Sports.
If you suffer from PF, there is hope. I had it so bad one time that I could not put weight on my foot. Utilizing the above techniques, I have been lucky enough to avoid it for the past 15 years.