If you’ve ever felt a stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot when you stepped out of bed in the morning, you may have plantar fasciitis. It can happen to runners and people who are on their feet all day, but it can also happen to more sedentary folks. It happened to me after my pregnancy, most likely due to changes in my feet when my weight changed.
I can attest that this condition is very painful, but I didn’t want to stay off my feet while waiting for it to heal. If you’re suffering from this ailment and looking for a way to stay comfortable while remaining active, can your choice of athletic shoes really make a difference?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation on the bottom of your foot that causes pain in your heel and/or your arch. The band of connective tissue – called plantar fascia – that runs from your toes, across the arch of your foot, and attaches to your heel bone becomes inflamed and painful.
With plantar fasciitis, the pain usually occurs first thing in the morning when you get out of bed. Once you get up and walk around a bit, the pain will decrease. But it may come back again if you stand for a long time or sit for awhile and then get up to walk around again.
Some causes of plantar fasciitis include injuries to your foot, wearing shoes without enough support, or using improper foot mechanics while running or walking. If you overpronate, your foot turns in excessively when walking or running. This action causes your foot to flatten, which lengthens your arch, resulting in added tension in the plantar fascia tissue. Repeating this action over time may lead to small tears and inflammation, and eventually to the pain of plantar fasciitis.
The cause of individual cases of plantar fasciitis is not always clear, but there are certain risk factors and circumstances (outlined by the Mayo Clinic) that can increase the likelihood of getting it. These include…
The pain of plantar fasciitis tends to be worse after exercising, not during it. But if you’re an active person who is suffering from this pain, you’re probably looking for a way to continue your regular activities without making the problem worse. Your choice of athletic shoes is important for your comfort and to prevent any further injuries.
There are many athletic shoes out there that claim to help with plantar fasciitis, and some that even say they are designed specifically to deal with it. But the only way to be sure if the shoe is right or helpful to you is to try it yourself.
That being said, here are some important things you should look for in athletic shoes if you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis or trying to avoid it…
Wearing the proper athletic shoes to support your feet can help keep your feet in their natural position. This will help you maintain a normal gait, preventing not only plantar fasciitis, but also potential wear to your knees, hips, and lower back.
Leaving plantar fasciitis untreated obviously means you will continue to be in pain. The pain may cause you to change your daily activities or even change the way you walk, which could lead to further complications in your feet, knees, hips, or back.
You may decide to consult your family doctor or a podiatrist, and they will most likely suggest conservative treatment measures. These include applying ice to your feet, doing specific foot exercises, stretching your foot muscles, and taking anti-inflammatory medication.
If these measures don’t alleviate your pain, your doctor may suggest physical therapy or custom orthotic devices that will correct the position of your feet to eliminate the cause of your pain.
In addition to wearing proper athletic shoes, here are some other specific measures you can try to help overcome or eliminate plantar fasciitis:
If you have plantar fasciitis, I hope this page is helpful to you. For more tips and information, you may want to visit my pages about what physical therapists and podiatrists have to say about athletic shoes.
If you have any advice about athletic shoes for plantar fasciitis, please share it by sending me a message through the form at the bottom of this page, or by sharing your shoe story on my Shoe Reviews page.