POV: You’re doing research for this post and realize you might have plantar fasciitis, too.
Yep, that’s me.
You’re probably wondering how I got here.
Well, after several mornings waking up with a right foot that felt like someone had hammered a wooden dowel into my heel overnight, I decided to do a little investigating: I texted my bestie’s husband who happens to be a podiatrist.
Plantar fasciitis sounds like a contender, he wrote. But get a proper diagnosis.
Plantar fasciitis (PF) was a term I’d definitely heard before, but I didn’t really know what it was, practically speaking. I just thought it was a foot thing other people get.
It’s me. I’m other people.
And you may be, too.
About 1 in 10 people will experience plantar fasciitis at some point in their life. *source
In fact, if you have high arches or flat feet, lead a relatively sedate life or are a marathon runner, wear high heels or prefer to pad around barefoot, you may be at risk. Basically, anyone can develop PF.
In my case, I have high arches, an aversion to shoes inside, and hardwood throughout.
Meet your plantar fascia:
healthy versus inflamed
PF is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, the smooth, white connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from heel to toes. The pain tends to radiate at the point where the fascia connects to your heel bone. It can be excruciatingly painful, especially first thing in the morning, or after you’ve been in one position for a long while, either standing or sitting.
Suspect you may have PF? Definitely get it confirmed by your doctor. PF can be mistaken for a heel spur, nerve damage, or even a stress fracture. A physical exam along with imaging tests can provide a better look at the bones and tissues, ruling out these and other conditions.
So you think you have PF. What now?
First things first, you’re going to want to pamper your pups with lots of support, some light calisthenics, and TLC.
That starts with supportive footwear. For me, that means no more free-feeting about. I’m sporting cushioned chanclas, or house sandals, everytime I make a move, even if it’s just for a quick snack. Ditch the high heels for the foreseeable future and don’t get caught without shoes or slippers that provide good arch support.
Get into a daily yoga-for-your-feet routine. By stretching and strengthening your feet and calves, your balance and agility will improve, reducing the strain on the arches of your feet. Start with a little under the desk action with a wooden foot massage roller and alternate with some toe and calf stretches.
Insoles provide arch support, cushioning, and odor control for all-day comfort
Stock up on super supportive insoles for your Converse, Vans, espadrilles, Tom’s or any other shoe with little to zero arch support. Not only will they help alleviate the pain of PF, they help absorb shock, reducing back aches, too.
Avoid high impact exercise like trailing or street running on uneven surfaces. Basically anything that’s going to irritate your fascia should be back burnered for the meanwhile. Try walking, swimming, or lower intensity runs on a treadmill.
If you do experience inflammation and pain after exercise, icing and ibuprofen work great. Keep a frozen bottle of water to use as a foot massager or the classic bag of peas is perfect.