Plantar fasciitis: Risk factors and predispositions
Overuse of the plantar fascia is the main cause of plantar fasciitis. Many of us are therefore likely to develop plantar fasciitis at some point: people who enjoy walking, running or any other physical activity that involves a series of repeated movements (e.g., lunges, jumping jacks, etc.), as well as people who work standing for long periods of time.
Plantar fasciitis can also occur from wearing the wrong footwear such as sandals, shoes with excessively worn soles or shoes that are too soft. Walking on a hard or unstable surface can also cause inflammation that leads to the injury.
Some people have physical characteristics that predispose them to plantar fasciitis, including:
- Rigid plantar arch (cavoid foot)
- Overpronation (axis of the foot in relation to the leg)
- Unstable ankles
- Decreased muscle flexibility
- Plantar cushion thinning (with age)
- Flat foot or cavoid foot
- Muscle and tendon stiffness in the ankle
How can you avoid plantar fasciitis?
Choosing the right footwear for your physical activity is a great way to prevent plantar fasciitis. You can also add insoles or heel pads to protect your feet and better absorb shock. The key is always to have good arch support.
Opt for smooth transitions in your workouts. Be aware that changes in your routine—taking on a new sport, upping the intensity or distance—could trigger symptoms. Be sure to take it easy and listen to your body.
Consider stretching to prevent plantar fasciitis or slow its progression. Stretching decreases muscle tension and strengthens the muscles of the foot. It’s a great part of a daily routine. If you don’t know where to start, check out this one-pager prepared by our orthotists on plantar fasciitis prevention and treatment exercises.
Who can help?
Orthotists are trained to determine whether plantar fasciitis is the source of your pain. They will conduct a biomechanical evaluation of the foot to identify the causes of inflammation and provide you with an individualized treatment plan tailored to your situation.
Seeing a specialist near you, like one of the orthotists at Médicus, is an excellent first step towards healing.
Fortunately, a variety of options are available to you if you believe you are suffering from plantar fasciitis.
From orthopedic shoes to foot orthotics, preventive tips, exercise and complementary care, it’s usually easy to find treatment that will help.
A heel-cushioned foot orthotic fits inside the shoe. It acts as a support and helps relieve symptoms by distributing pressure under the foot, supporting the arch and taking pressure off the heel. It helps control the foot in the three phases of the gait cycle: weight acceptance, support and swing.
Foot orthotics are custom made, meaning they are moulded to your foot, using the best methods in the industry. They play an undeniable role in the treatment of plantar fasciitis. Learn more about foot orthotics.
The orthopedic shoe market has come a long way. There’s something for all tastes and styles.
Adapted footwear that is tailored to the anatomy of the foot and provides proper support is recommended. Things to look for are a thick outsole, an approximately one-inch (2.5 cm) heel and a heel cushion. More details on the benefits of orthopedic footwear
Prevention, exercise and complementary care
You will avoid a lot of trouble by following the tips outlined above (adapted footwear, smooth transitions and stretching). To learn more about preventing plantar fasciitis and other foot pain, see Preventing foot pain.
Foot baths and ice application are complementary treatments that can also reduce the pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
At Médicus, an orthotist will guide you to the best options for effective recovery. Request a consultation to have your condition assessed or see our orthopedic shoes.