By Dr. Roman Burk
Healing plantar fasciitis takes time, so it can be frustrating when it flares up over and over again. On their road to recovery, my patients often ask, “How can I avoid these painful flare-ups?”
Preventative measures, such as orthotics and a daily regimen of foot stretches, can go a long way. I also encourage my patients to take precautions against these common plantar fasciitis triggers:
Starting a new workout regimen
When you grow tired of one workout routine, you may want to mix up your daily form of exercise with something new. However, new workouts can trigger plantar fasciitis. Your feet may need time to adjust to the new movements. When embarking on a new exercise regimen, take care to warm up, learn the right form from an expert, and wear shoes suited to your movements. When selecting your new outlet for fitness, stay away from barefoot activities, like dance and martial arts, and any exercise that puts undue stress on the bottom of your feet.
Your calf muscles are connected to your feet and thus, when experiencing problems with one, you’re likely to feel it in the other. You may experience tight calf muscles if you run or jog a lot without enough stretching or if you work a desk job that causes you to sit in a chair for most of the day.
If your new pair of shoes doesn’t offer adequate support, they can trigger plantar fasciitis. Shoes with a flexible sole can add tightness to your plantar fascia, while a new distribution of padding will change the way your foot strikes the ground as you walk or run. To minimize the potential for a flare-up, always buy shoes that are comfortable, instead of settling for a pair that you’ll need to break in. And remember, arch supports and inserts should be replaced when you replace your shoes.
Injuries to your foot can also trigger plantar fasciitis pain, especially when the plantar fascia ligament is affected. If you sustain a blow to the foot, trip, or even step on an uneven surface, treat your foot immediately with ice and elevation. If you have additional concerns, consider visiting a foot and ankle specialist.
Whenever my patients ask about avoiding painful plantar fasciitis flare-ups, I try to remind them that prevention is key to steering clear of recurrences – and that includes doing their best to avoid these common triggers.