Fitness for Life

Defending against Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis typically causes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain is usually the worst with the first few steps after awakening, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or when you get up after sitting. The pain is usually worse after exercise, not during it. — Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic has comprehensive information about plantar fasciitis online. With that information and mine, I believe it is possible to defend against this condition without even visiting a doctor. Factors that can contribute to plantar fasciitis include:

The primary defenses against plantar fasciitis involve exercises and footwear.

Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

The Mayo Clinic provides three exercises online. The standing stretch is part of exercises that I often do in conjunction with my cardio exercise; it definitely helps when having symptoms. I don't do the manual foot stretch, but I would try it if I were having severe symptoms.

The towel grab is a great exercise if I am having symptoms; I sit on the edge of the bed and do it before getting up. An actual towel is not required; just reach out with the feet and pretend to grab a towel with the toes and drag it across the floor. Do this three to five times.

However, I seldom get symptoms because of proper footwear.

Proper Footwear

[(IMAGE) New Balance Motion Control Shoe Inserts]

Wear supportive shoes that are in good condition! Don't walk around barefoot or in socks at home. If your home has been declared a shoe-free zone, get home-only shoes. Don't wear flip-flops; sandals with arch support are OK for me occasionally. However, if you are reading this, you probably need more than good shoes.

Orthotics. A doctor can prescribe custom orthotics for your shoes, but they can be costly, and you will want more than one pair. An over-the-counter product is the place to start, for example:

Most such products are sold with wide-ranging sizes. The customer is supposed to buy a large orthotic and cut it down to size — thereby eliminating any chance of trying it in the store or returning the product if it does not fit properly. I don't know about you, but this sort of thing drives me nuts.

New Balance has had four or five models of inserts for years, all sold in whole-number sizes. I have very wide feet (or short big toes), so I buy 9.5 4E shoes at the New Balance factory store. I get the size 9 insoles, remove the original insoles, and slide in the new ones. They work great. I assume this would also fit 9 D or equivalent women's sizes as well. No cutting. I sure hope I can get them again; the pair in the photo are my last new ones.

The illustrated inserts have very good arch support, plus a bump under the plantar fascia.

Slippers. Slippers with good support are essential. When you get up in the morning, or in the middle of the night, put them on before you take a step. I get Spenco, with their orthotic grade arch support, often a color that is on sale. These slippers are not as good as real shoes, and they can get warm wearing them around the house, but they do the job.


Fitness for Life © 2020 Pete Matthews Jr.