Almost everyone has dealt with some type of foot pain in their life. When our feet hurt, nearly every activity becomes a difficult challenge. Problems with the feet can even cause further issues with the knees, hips, and back.
Regular, Safe Exercise Can Treat Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis is the most common reason people visit a podiatrist. A thick band of connective tissue called the plantar fascia runs along the sole from the bottom of the heel bone to the toes. When this tissue becomes inflamed, it feels as if the arch of the foot is tearing. Excessively high arches, flat feet, and unsupportive, hard-soled shoes can lead to plantar fasciitis.
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Anyone with inflammatory forms of arthritis are prone to develop plantar fasciitis, as is anyone who is overweight or who stands for excessive lengths of time. Because everyday walking is typically painful, people tend to believe they need to give up on exercise. However, regular physical activity is an important factor in a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.
The good news is that there are ways to heal plantar fasciitis, and walking for exercise is actually a beneficial therapy. Here are a few more tips to alleviate symptoms of plantar fasciitis:
- Start out treating symptoms with ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to reduce inflammation.
- Be mindful of minimizing excessive stress on your feet.
- Introduce targeted stretches. These stretches are quick and simple. Before getting out of bed in the morning, slowly flex the foot and toes and hold for ten counts. Relax and repeat.
- Try gentle ankle rolls to maintain flexibility of the tissue around the ankle and on the back of the heel. These exercises can be performed periodically throughout the day, and should include sitting up and rolling the foot back and forth over a tennis ball.
After a week or two of this regiment, you should be able to walk more comfortably. Make sure to wear a heel cushion in supportive, soft-soled shoes. Slowly increase pace and distance, and always stretch your feet following walking. For 90% of people, home treatment proves effective. If pain persists, it’s always advisable to speak with a doctor.