by Dr. Emily Splichal, DPM MS
After weeks of experiencing pain with every step, you are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Your plantar fasciitis symptoms are finally getting under control, and you are ready to resume your regular activities.
Not so fast!
Before you hit the gym and start to pound the pavement, you want to ensure that you are returning to your normal level of foot stress in a safe and progressive manner.
Yes, too much too soon can cause a flare up of those painful plantar heel symptoms.
Below are 5 tips to integrate into your daily routine to ensure that once your plantar fasciitis is gone – it stays gone!
As important as the foot release was to get rid of plantar fasciitis it also helps to prevent any further flare ups. Integrating at least 5 minutes of a foot massage every day can reduce inflammation, relax tight foot muscles, and improve foot circulation. Products such as the Naboso Neuro Ball are designed to easily release the feet while brushing your teeth, standing at a standing desk or doing the dishes.
Many people experience plantar fascia stress because their feet are weak and unable to withstand the impact forces from walking and running. Exercises such as short foot are designed to strengthen the small muscles of the feet and enhance the way they connect to the core. It is recommended to perform at least 30 minutes of foot exercises at least 2x a week. This can include Pilates, yoga or any barefoot balance exercises.
The shoes we wear greatly influences how much stress our feet can handle. Too much or too little structure in a shoe can increase our injury risk, especially if we have an overly flexible or rigid foot type. The most functional shoe for a majority of foot types is one that is transitional. Not too stiff, but also not too minimal. Altra and On Running are two great examples of more transitional footwear.
Not sure what foot type you have? Click to learn how to do a quick foot self-assessment.
Fascia Protective Supplements
The foods we eat and the supplements we take can have a beneficial effect on the health of our connective tissue or fascia. Supplements such as systemic enzymes have been shown to support the body’s natural response to inflammation and collagen disorganization. StepStrong includes some of the most effective systemic enzymes which not only address active plantar fascial symptoms but also can help prevent a flare up.
The final, and quite possibly most important tip is to ensure that your return to activity is not too quick. Depending on how long you were experiencing plantar fascial stress it can take anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks to ramp up the load or stress to the feet.
As you do start to return to your pre-plantar fasciitis level of activity it is important to listen to your body. If at any point you feel your fascia fatiguing or the start of pain in the heel, back off and take a few days off.
Our final tip - stay consistent with all of the above tips!