Your feet bear the weight of your entire body with every step, and even more so if you run or jump, so it’s a good thing they’re equipped with built-in shock absorbers.
Called plantar fascia, these long, thick bands of tissue run the length of the bottom of your feet, connecting your heels to your toes. The tendons look and act something like a bowstring as they flex and spring when you walk.
You probably never give your plantar fascia a thought, until they become inflamed from plantar fasciitis — and then they become the center of your attention. All you can think about is why did it happen and what can you do to stop the pain?
At Utah Musculoskeletal Specialists, our podiatrists, Dr. Daniel Preece and Dr. Darren Groberg, get to the bottom of your heel pain and let you know how you got it and how to resolve it.
Meanwhile, here are a few activities, habits, and lifestyle factors that may be exacerbating your plantar fasciitis.
You choose the wrong shoes
Whatever type of shoe you wear becomes an extension of your feet and a functional part of your anatomy. And since your feet are the foundation for the rest of your body, it’s important to provide a solid platform that not only upholds your frame, but also protects your feet and ankles.
So, if you’re a flip-flop fanatic or you favor high-heeled stilettos, you’re putting your feet, and your whole musculoskeletal structure, in jeopardy. Without proper arch support (we’re looking at you, flip flops), your plantar fascia takes on too much stress and begins to tear.
Likewise, if you jam your feet into too-tall shoes, something’s got to give, and it’s usually your plantar fascia.
You weight too much
We apologize for the bluntness, but if you’re overweight, you’re loading more stress onto your plantar fascia than they can handle. They buckle under the weight and sustain micro tears that lead to inflammation and pain.
You run and/or dance a lot
If you’re an athlete or a dancer, particularly if you’re a runner or a ballet dancer, you have your plantar fascia to thank for your ability to make those moves. But those activities also call upon your plantar fascia to work overtime, which can take its toll and lead to plantar fasciitis.
You stand around all day
Certain occupations put people at risk for plantar fasciitis more than others. If your job has you on your feet all day — think teachers, factory workers, cashiers — your feet are under a lot of pressure. Those tendons are strong and durable, but they can only sustain so much stress before they begin to break and cause pain.
You don’t know your own body
Plantar fasciitis occurs most frequently in people born with flat feet or extra high arches, because both of these conditions add stress to the tendon. If you don’t know this about yourself, then you’re likely not taking steps to correct it, such as buying the right kind of shoes.
You walk funny
Your gait, which is the way you walk, says a lot about your feet, and it also has the power to impact your knees and back. Our team can perform a gait analysis to find out if the way you put one foot in front of the other all day is contributing to your plantar fasciitis and possibly other aches and pains as well.
Relief from plantar fasciitis
If you ignore your plantar fasciitis, it will likely get worse, especially if you do nothing to correct the activities that may be causing it, so the right treatment is key.
In mild cases, simply applying ice can reduce the inflammation, and gently stretching your feet can release the tightness and restore function.
However, if your symptoms persist or get worse, we may prescribe custom orthotics to fit inside your shoes or nighttime splints that elongate your plantar fascia.
Next-level pain relief may take the form of regenerative medicine that taps into your body’s own resources to reduce pain and inflammation and dramatically speed healing. Dr. Preece and Dr. Groberg are both skilled at treating plantar fasciitis and other soft tissue injuries with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell injections that deliver growth factors directly to the site and prompt cell renewal within. We may also suggest MLS® Laser Therapy to trigger your body’s ability to heal itself.
From conservative at-home remedies to advanced technologies and modalities, you have a wide spectrum of options to relieve your plantar fasciitis pain for good. To find our which is right for you, contact us by phone or online to schedule a consultation with either Dr. Groberg or Dr. Preece, and put your feet in good hands.