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What's Plantar Fasciitis, and How Can You Recognize the Tell-Tale Warning Signs?

What's Plantar Fasciitis, and How Can You Recognize the Tell-Tale Warning Signs?

What's Plantar Fasciitis, and How Can You Recognize the Tell-Tale Warning Signs?

Foot pain is a common complaint — according to research carried out by the American Podiatric Medical Association, the vast majority of American adults have dealt with it at some point or another. It won’t surprise runners and other athletes that, fit and healthy though they may be, they are particularly vulnerable to foot pain. If your foot pain strikes your heel or even the underside of your midfoot, plantar fasciitis is high on the shortlist of suspects. What causes plantar fasciitis, how do you recognize it, and what’s next if you think you have this unpleasant medical condition?


What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is quite literally a huge "pain in the foot" — people who live with this condition may experience anything from a dull to a stabbing pain at the bottom of their heel or even their midfoot. Peaking usually in the morning and right after you're done with your exercise routine.

The culprit lies in excess pressure on the plantar fascia, which is the ligament supporting the numerous bones in each of your feet. Because of this, runners, obese people, and pregnant women are all in high-risk categories for plantar fasciitis. People with high-arched or flat feet who do not wear the correct, supportive running shoes are much more likely to end up with this painful and debilitating condition.


Plantar Fasciitis: An Easy Symptom Checklist

You’ll want to head to the doctor and ask about plantar fasciitis if:

  • You've been suffering from heel pain or pain in the surrounding area of your foot with pain that's has been getting worse over time. Plantar fasciitis usually limits itself to one foot, but it can also affect both feet.

  • The pain is at its worst in the mornings or after other extended periods of rest, and right after you finish a brisk walk, run, or other strenuous physical activity — while, during those activities, you'll be (almost) pain-free.

  • As plantar fasciitis gets worse, your heel may be visibly swollen. Most folks with plantar fasciitis also report a highly tightened Achilles tendon.


How Is Plantar Fasciitis Treated?

Although people who suffer from extreme cases of plantar fasciitis may even need surgery, the good news is that most can allow their feet to heal with the help of a combination of home remedies and lifestyle changes.

Sorry, athletes — that includes allowing your feet to rest for a time. You can take painkillers like ibuprofen to manage your discomfort, but cold packs will help a great deal, too. In addition, it dramatically helps to perform stretching exercises that target the connective tissue within your feet and your calves.

However one of the best ways to prevent and treat plantar fasciitis lies in choosing the right set of running shoes to support your feet. Shoes with proper arch support or insoles designed for people with plantar fasciitis will help you prevent plantar fasciitis or a recurrence of this painful condition. At even the slightest hint of heel pain, it's always good to ask yourself — are your feet, and thereby the rest of your body, too, benefiting from the best shoes you can offer them?

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