The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Can You Prevent Plantar Fasciitis? 5 Simple Ways To Reduce Heel Pain

Posted by on Monday, February 24th, 2014

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Richmond Register columnist Terri Johnson confessed that it was more difficult than she imagined to give up her high heels. “They lifted me up for jobs and romances as well as good times with friends and family,” she explained. However, her love affair was cut short when the podiatrist told her that she not only had the dreaded plantar fasciitis (heel pain), but also a hammer toe and arthritis.

avoid heel pain
You may not need a shoe closet of this magnitude, but it’s wise to own and wear multiple pairs of different shoes to avoid fatigue and heel pain.
Image Source: A-Lister.ro

 

In our New York podiatrist office, we see many women like Terri. Heels are sexy, powerful, and downright fashionable! Yet, many patients find themselves faced with having to give up the footwear they love when plantar fasciitis rears its ugly head. To avoid this fate, follow these five tips to prevent heel pain.

1. Give Your Feet a Break.

Wearing heels too many days in a row can really do a number on your feet. Ladies Home Journal recommends alternating your skirt-and-heel days with trousers-and-flats days. Flats can also hurt your feet. We recommend wearing a little bit of a heel or looking for flats that have a lot of padding and a stable arch. Far too many people walk into the office in shoes they should have thrown out months ago. Investing in multiple pairs of shoes you can alternate is essential to preventing fatigue and heel pain. You may also want to consider wearing cushioned runners while commuting to and from work, and switching into heels once you’re at work.

2. Stretch & Massage Your Tootsies.

You may be surprised at how good it feels to roll your arches across a tennis ball. Who says you have to pay big bucks for a foot massage anyway? Of course, you can splurge on a trip to the spa if it’s in your budget. We wouldn’t fault you for that! Pedicures are sublime! Fit Sugar list some good stretches to prevent plantar fasciitis. Keep in mind that stretching the plantar fascia ligament and Achilles tendon will be helpful to your cause, but you should also strengthen your calf muscles to take some of the burden off your feet.

3. Add Padding.

The LA Times reports, “Orthotic insoles that support the arch can definitely help ease the pain” of plantar fasciitis. We also find that it nips the condition in the bud and can, in some cases, actually prevent the development of chronic heel pain. You can buy a packet of Dr. Scholl’s insoles over the counter at any pharmacy, but we can also outfit you with a special sole that is molded to fit your unique feet. Often, people suffer from plantar fasciitis eventually when biomechanical issues are not addressed. You may walk with your feet turned inward or outward, for example, which will take its gradual toll on your arches. You may also have naturally high or low arches, which increase heel strain. Check your soles for uneven wear patterns to get an idea if your gait pattern is slightly off.

custom insoles
No pair of feet are exactly alike, so why not get a custom cast made of your feet to create custom insoles that will make all your shoes much more comfortable?
Image Source: OttawaFootOrthotics.com

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight.

The Jade Institute reports that “Being overweight is seen in as many as 40 percent of male and 90 percent of female patients with plantar fasciitis.” Similarly, a 2004 study found that obesity was the only factor that predicted whether heel pain sufferers would become disabled or not. Researchers also looked at factors like age, gender, time spent bearing weight, flexibility and pain intensity. The Centers for Disease Control recommends using the Body Mass Index to determine whether you are a healthy weight or not. While it may take you a while to reach your goal, keep in mind that every little bit of weight loss helps when it comes to heel pain!

5. See a Foot Doctor at the First Sign of Pain.

Yeah, yeah, we know it… no one likes to visit the doctor. Yet, catching heel pain early is vital in preventing it from developing into an excruciating sensation. First we’ll make sure there is nothing structurally wrong with your foot that could be causing pain. We’ll look at your gait and make customized recommendations to keep you as comfortable as possible while on your feet. We also offer a number of specialized tools that can alleviate pain. We have an extracorporeal shock wave therapy machine, a TENS unit and cortisone shots, to name a few alternative therapies. If you’re in the New York City region, book an appointment today.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.