Something Afoot With The Soles of Your Feet? It Could Be Plantar Faciitis!

Typically, we take our feet forgranted when everything is running smoothly. Unlike our hands which are much more on show, our feet are usually bundled up in shoes and pretty much forgotten about; but neglect to take care of your tootsies, and there are all kinds of issues you can end up dealing with. From athletes foot to warts and veruccas, corns, bunions and more; the weight of your body combined with a moist, dark environment in your socks and shoes mean feet are actually a part of the body that are most prone to going wrong. One issue we're going to delve into today is a condition called plantar faciitis, if you're unlucky enough to end up with this you will certainly know about it. Read on to find out more.

What is plantar faciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of a ligament in the foot called the plantar fascia, which connects your heel bone to your toes. You know when you have plantar faciitis as you feel pain around the heel and lower arch of your foot, which is typically worse after periods of rest. With plantar faciitis you'll find that the first few steps when you get up in the morning or after sitting down for a long time are especially painful, although it tends to cause an ongoing dull ache whenever you're walking or running. If you find that you're hobbling to the toilet in the middle of the night or limping to your door after a long car ride home with stabbing, burning and aching pains in the heel of the foot then you can probably assume that it's plantar faciitis.

What causes it?

Plantar faciitis is usually caused by an injury or general wear and tear of the feet. People that are very active such as runners and gym goers are prone to the condition because they're really putting their feet to work. On the flip side, being overweight, obese or pregnant can also cause plantar faciitis due to the excess pressure on the ligament. Sometimes it's just one of those things, while these groups are higher risk, as with any kind of strain injury it can happen to anyone. 

What can you do to help?

One of the best things you can do for your feet is to wear sensible, supportive shoes. This is true if you already have plantar faciitis, or are looking to avoid it- along with any other foot issue really. If you walk or stand for long periods or are prone to plantar faciitis (because you're in a higher risk group or have a foot condition such as high arches) then consider investing in some good insoles too. Orthotic insoles like these from OR8 Wellness will not only make standing, walking and running more comfortable if you have plantar faciitis, but they can also prevent it too. This is because they provide cushioning to the arches of the feet which prevent that ligament from being overstretched and damaged. If you have the condition and are finding that the first morning steps are especially painful then there are splints you can wear in bed which keep the ligament stretched overnight. Foot massages can also help, they improve circulation and can help your body to repair the damage, plus they can definitely improve the pain too. If your pain is really bad then definitely go and see a foot specialist for advice. 

How long does it take to heal?

Unfortunately, plantar faciitis can take a long time to heal. I've had the condition myself and struggled with pain for the best part of a year. It does eventually go but you have to be patient, the best thing you can do is try the above methods to treat it at home and then prevent it from happening in future. In my case, I caused it by wearing very unsupportive shoes on long mountain hikes all through the summer. I don't buy cheap shoes any more, I pretty much only buy Skechers and it's never come back! If you wear boots for work or ever wear heels and things on nights out then good insoles are really important.

Have you ever had plantar faciitis? How long did you have it and do you have any tips for treatment or prevention?

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