Heel pain is never fun. One condition that can cause excruciating and often debilitating heel pain is called plantar fasciitis.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition caused by inflammation of the tissue along the bottom of the foot. Patients generally feel pain when they take their first steps after waking up in the morning or sitting for an extended period of time.

What can you do to keep your heels healthy so they don’t develop plantar fasciitis? We’re sharing some easy, common-sense ways to prevent or reduce this painful condition so heel pain doesn’t stop you.

Top 5 ways to avoid plantar fasciitis

1. Stay at a healthy weight

Carrying excess weight can add a weight burden to the heel tissue (called the plantar fascia), which increases stress to this area. Plantar fasciitis occurs more commonly in people who are overweight. By losing excess weight, you remove the added stress on your heel tissue.

2. Wear supportive shoes

Wearing unsupportive shoes can cause the heel tissue to experience more stress. Choose a pair of shoes that offers adequate support and a low heel (avoid wearing high heels, flip flops, or going barefoot). Replace your worn-out running shoes to help decrease the stress on your feet.

3. Try low-impact activities

Running and walking for exercise involves the heel coming down onto hard surfaces, which can over time cause inflammation in the heel tissue. Sports such as swimming, aerobics or cycling can provide exercise without adding stress to the plantar fascia.

4. Apply ice regularly

Does your profession or daily schedule involve extensive walking or impact on your feet? If you’re unable to reduce your high-impact activities, try regular ice treatments during the day to help reduce inflammation. Applying ice packs for about 15 minutes a few times each day can help diminish the effects of heel stress.

5. Practice heel stretches

Spending a few minutes each day to stretch your feet and calves through simple exercises can ease heel pain. One such exercise involves placing a towel on the floor, setting your foot on the towel, and grasping the towel with your toes. Practicing this and other stretches for 30 seconds a couple times each day can help prevent the development of plantar fasciitis.

By practicing these simple management techniques, you can lessen the likelihood of experiencing plantar fasciitis. If you do experience heel pain, our doctors can provide you with the care you need to get back in the game.

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