Every year, more than 2 million people are affected by and treated for plantar fasciitis, making it the most common cause of heel-related pain. It can affect anyone that is on their feet for significant periods of time, such as athletes, but it largely affects runners, due to the fact that it is an overuse injury caused by repetitively pushing off with your feet. Although we often take the use of our feet for granted, anyone who is dealing with or has dealt with plantar fasciitis understands how great a toll this condition can take. Keep reading to learn more about how to prevent plantar fasciitis, how our practice treats it, and to get answers to any other questions you may have about this condition.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
This condition is an overuse injury that’s very common, particularly among runners. Plantar fasciitis develops when the plantar fascia becomes irritated, inflamed, or torn by repetitive stress. The plantar fascia is a ligament running from your heel to your toes that supports the arch of your foot. It also absorbs pressure during movement and bears your weight. Inflammation or irritation of this ligament can cause severe pain that may make it difficult to do something as simple as walking.
Causes & Symptoms
Before we discuss how to prevent plantar fasciitis, we need to discuss what causes it to develop. Significant pressure and stretching of the plantar fascia can lead to damage or inflammation over time. Although not all cases of plantar fasciitis have a specific cause that can be pinpointed, the most common factors that lead to this condition include:
- Flat feet or high arches.
- Wearing shoes that aren’t supportive when you’re on your feet for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
- Being overweight.
- Being an athlete.
- Being a running or jumping athlete, or someone who regularly participates in these activities recreationally.
- Working or exercising on hard surfaces.
- Standing for long periods of time.
- Failing to stretch your calves before exercise.
Although you may be familiar with the most common symptom of this condition – a dull or stabbing pain felt in the affected foot – there are other symptoms that you may experience as well.
- Feeling pain at or near the bottom of the heel.
- Pain that increases after exercise, rather than during.
- Pain felt in the arch of the foot.
- Pain that is at its worst in the morning or when standing after sitting for long periods.
- Swelling in your heel.
- Pain in these areas may be felt for months at a time.
- A feeling of tightness in the Achilles tendon.
Every patient is different, and the best treatment for your condition can only be determined between you and your physician. Here at the Center for Sports Medicine and Wellness, we focus on non-operative and regenerative treatment options for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. These treatments have been shown to be successful in providing our patients with relief of their tendon and ligament issues with minimal recovery time and few, if any, limits on mobility.
Alpha 2 Macroglobulin Injection Therapy is a treatment made up of concentrated platelets derived from a patient’s own blood. In this treatment, a small sample of the patient’s blood is drawn from the forearm and spun at high speed in a centrifuge to separate out and concentrate the platelets. The desired end result is the functional repair of an injured tendon, muscle, or joint cartilage, allowing it to bear more significant mechanical stress during activity without pain.
Tenex Tenotomy uses minimally invasive technology to eliminate your chronic tendon pain by specifically targeting and removing damaged tissue without conventional surgery. Studies have shown that when Tenex is used to treat tendonitis, patients exhibit an increase in overall functionality and a significant decrease in pain. Tenex’s patented technology removes the patient’s source of pain and helps stimulate a renewed healing response.
Autologous Stem Cell Injection Therapy utilizes a patient’s own bone marrow or fat, both of which are rich sources of stem cells. The bone marrow or fat is collected, filtered, centrifuged, and injected into injured areas. This treatment has shown excellent clinical outcomes and objective healing of multiple musculoskeletal tissues.
How You Can Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
Although plantar fasciitis can have serious consequences for anyone, whether they’re an athlete or not, there are steps you can take to prevent plantar fasciitis. You can also use these tips to continue to safely stay active while in recovery during treatment of this condition as well.
- Lose or maintain your weight. Being overweight places increased pressure on the bottom of your feet, which is what can lead to the development of plantar fasciitis. If you’re currently not overweight, do what you can to avoid gaining weight.
- Wear the right shoes. When choosing your athletic or exercise footwear, look for shoes that provide your feet with proper support. In addition to this, replace these shoes often so they’ll always be in good condition and be supportive. You should also avoid wearing high heels.
- Avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces. Even when you first get up in the morning, it’s important to avoid walking barefoot on any hard surfaces, so you should keep some comfortable and supportive shoes near your bed.
- Switch to low-impact exercise. If your normal routine includes high-impact exercise, you should consider switching things up to avoid worsening or developing plantar fasciitis. Consider swimming or cycling, which can keep you active without impacting your feet.
- Avoid high-impact activities like running and jumping. These are the types of activities that place significant stress on your feet and often cause plantar fasciitis, so if you’re trying to avoid or recover from it, it’s best to stay away from these activities.
- Stretch your calves and feet. Failing to stretch these areas properly before exercise or any activity is known to be a reason for the development of plantar fasciitis. It’s important to take some time to stretch to loosen up these muscles and ensure that they won’t place extra strain on your feet.
- To stretch your feet, try this: grab your toes, flex them back, and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three sets three times a day.
- Sleep with untucked bedsheets. When your sheets are tucked in, especially when they’re tucked in very tightly, your feet are forced into a pointed position that can be detrimental to your plantar fascia.
- Be mindful when running. Stick to soft surfaces and increase your mileage slowly. It’s recommended that you don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% each week.
- Strengthen your muscles. Along with stretching before exercise to warm up your muscles, strengthening the muscles in your feet with barefoot exercises and running with a shorter stride or faster cadence can help protect your feet as well.
Keep in mind that this condition usually results from overuse, so the most important things to avoid are overtraining and pushing yourself too hard. We know you want to stay active, but remain mindful of your body and if it begins to tell you that you’re pushing it too hard, listen and give yourself a break.
Treat and Prevent Plantar Fasciitis in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
At the Center for Sports Medicine and Wellness, treat plantar fasciitis with a focus on cell-based and non-operative treatment options. These options have been shown to provide successful treatment for a variety of conditions, and they can help you find relief from plantar fasciitis as well. We pride ourselves on being authorities in the non-operative treatment of orthopedic conditions, sports medicine, and minimally invasive treatments.
We understand how important it is for our patients to get back into the game of life, whether they’re professional athletes who want to get back to their sport, someone who wants to get back to their active lifestyle, or someone who just wants to restore their mobility to get back to daily activities. Whatever your reason for seeking treatment, we understand that minimal downtime and maximum mobility is the goal. That’s why we provide the most efficient and least invasive treatment options.
If you’d like to learn more about our services or how we can help you get relief from plantar fasciitis pain, you can call our office in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, at (610) 459-4200 or fill out our form. We welcome your inquiry and look forward to helping you find relief from your pain!