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Understanding Plantar Fasciitis and Finding Remedies for the Pain

Woman-RunningIf you’re a runner, you might already be familiar with plantar fasciitis, either from the pain of experiencing the medical condition or from simple awareness of the pain risks associated with running.

First things first, the plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes. This connective tissue also supports the arch of the foot. Stress on the plantar fascia from repeated activity, such as running, can strain the ligament, even causing tiny tears. The ligament takes a pounding during a run so it’s no surprise that plantar fasciitis is a common runner’s injury. It’s sometimes called “runner’s heel” but it doesn’t just affect runners.

Broadly speaking, people who are on their feet a lot can put themselves at risk of developing plantar fasciitis. While this includes athletes, people whose jobs involve extended periods of walking and being on their feet could develop plantar fasciitis. People who are overweight can develop the condition, as the weight puts additional strain on the feet. Older people also face greater risk of developing the condition, the result of a loss of elasticity in the connective tissue.

The Mayo Clinic offers some tips for people to do themselves if they suffer pain from plantar fasciitis:
Weight — A healthy weight reduces the stress on your plantar fascia.

Shoes — High heels are a no-no. Shoes that support the arch and provide some shock absorption are preferred. And don’t walk or run barefoot, particularly on hard surfaces.

Shoes, part 2 — Worn out running shoes the cushioning and support that protect your plantar fascia from the pounding of running. Replace those shoes after about 500 miles of running.

Mix Sports — Mixing up your athletic activity can keep you active while sparing your feet from repeated pounding.
Ice — An ice pack applied for 15-20 minutes three or four times a day, or after athletic activity, can offer some pain relief and reduce inflammation.

Stretch — Exercises can stretch your muscles and tendons, providing relief.

If pain persists or worsens, it’s time to seek professional medical help. To learn more, please contact us.