When you have plantar fasciitis, it doesn't take long for you to get tired of the pain. You start to become wary of getting up and walking after you've been seated for a long time, and the idea of standing on your feet for hours, whether for work or for your regular workout, wears you out before you even get started. Living with plantar fasciitis until it heals is a challenge--but it's not one that has to come between you and your exercise routine. In fact, you can keep meeting your exercise goals, from committing to the game you love to find a way to keep up with your run, all without aggravating the problem further and ending up in more pain than before.
GET THE RIGHT GEAR
With plantar fasciitis, just walking through the grocery store can be painful--especially since, at such a slow pace, you don't have the endorphin rush from a great workout helping you get through it. The right gear, however, can keep you comfortable everywhere from the basketball court or your favorite trail to the comfort of your own home.
• Get a great pair of shoes to run in. If you're a runner, you already know that ill-fitting shoes can exacerbate symptoms of plantar fasciitis and a variety of other common foot and leg injuries. While you're healing, you need to be even more careful about the shoes you're wearing while you exercise. Head to a running store and get fitted for a great pair of shoes. Make sure that they have plenty of padding to reduce impact. Walk around in those shoes in the store for a few minutes: if they start to get uncomfortable fast, they're going to be even more uncomfortable when you hit the trails!
• Check the shoes that you're wearing every day. Many people find that they don't want to wear tennis shoes for everyday activity. From going to the mall in your favorite pair of boots to hitting the park in your favorite pair of sandals, you have plenty of shoe options in your closet to choose from--and those tennis shoes just don't go with your outfit! While you're recovering from plantar fasciitis, however, it's important that you choose shoes that are comfortable, fit well, and have plenty of padding. If standing in the shoes you've chosen causes increased foot pain, you should wear a different pair in the future. Check your everyday tennis shoes and make sure they have enough support before you opt for them, though!
• Shoe inserts are a great benefit. Shoe inserts can provide extra padding, cushion your foot, and make you more comfortable. They can help make up for a shoe that's nearing the end of its usable lifespan or a shoe that doesn't fit as well as it should--but keep in mind that shoe inserts can't completely correct for a poor choice of shoe.
• Use foot support, especially when you're exercising. PFTape for plantar fasciitis can immediately reduce and even eliminate heel pain throughout your workout. It's the perfect solution for heading out for the big game, letting you get your run in each day, or simply making it easier to hit the gym.
MODIFY TO HEAL
You already know that when you're dealing with an injury, modifying your workouts and your lifestyle is one of the best ways to ensure that you heal quickly. With the proper care, 95% of plantar fasciitis cases resolve nonsurgically within a year. In order to heal as soon as possible, especially if you're experiencing sharp pain that is starting to seriously interfere with your regular workouts, a few basic modifications to your everyday schedule are advisable.
• Bring in the ice. Applying cold to the affected foot can help reduce inflammation, making it easier for you to get on with your day. Make a habit of applying a cold pack in the evening when you're settled and not likely to get up for a while or for 10-15 minutes after your workout. This simple self-care tactic can make a big difference in your recovery!
• Shift your focus for a while. Do you have the luxury of shifting the focus of your training--going for sprints instead of distance runs, for example, or laying off the runs to focus on your upper body? If so, your recovery period is a great time to do it! If you can rest and keep off of your foot more often, you'll quickly discover that it reduces the pain you're experiencing and helps you heal faster. Need to push forward anyway due to schedule constraints or a coming race or other events? Take it easy when you do have the opportunity.
• Don't skip the wraps. If you're using PFTape to help treat your plantar fasciitis pain, don't decide to skip it and head out for a workout without it! Sure, it's tempting to just ignore the injury and do what you want to anyway, but it can also cause more pain over the course of the day.
• Stretch. Are you in the habit of diving straight into your run without taking the time to warm up? If so, you could be unintentionally placing more strain on your plantar fascia. One of the most important treatments for plantar fasciitis is properly stretching the ligament that runs between your toes and your heel. Make sure that you're stretching before your workouts and first thing in the morning to help reduce your pain. Several stretches include:
- Sitting on the floor with your leg extended, then gently pulling your toes back toward you with your hand (or with a towel or band, if you can't reach)
- Rolling your foot using a foam roller, can, or water bottle
- Stretching your calves to make sure that you aren't applying additional stress to your foot
>>Note that if stretching doesn't seem to be working or causes additional pain or doesn't seem to be working, it could be that you don't have plantar fasciitis after all. Consult your doctor of pain doesn't start to resolve within 3-6 weeks of treatment.
• Take more time to warm up. Plantar fasciitis is commonly caused by strain and overuse. By taking the right amount of time to warm up before each workout--especially if you're going to be running, bouncing, or otherwise putting stress on your feet--you'll discover that you experience less pain and are better prepared for a great workout.
• Take anti-inflammatories if needed. These common medications can help significantly reduce your pain and make it easier to face your day. Make sure, however, that you aren't treating your symptoms and ignoring the underlying cause! Ignoring plantar fasciitis for too long can cause symptoms to worsen, which means that it will take longer for them to resolve.
There's nothing worse than an injury when you're in the middle of training hard. You've put in the time and effort — your body should be getting stronger, not betraying you. Unfortunately, harder work isn't the remedy for plantar fasciitis. But you can continue working hard in spite of the injury.