Although it is located in the foot, plantar fasciitis can be a real pain in the neck!

Dave’s is dedicated to helping you be pain free. Stop in any Dave’s Performance Footgear for common sense advice and to start feeling better fast.

Plantar fasciitis. It’s one of the most common injuries among athletes and non-athletes alike. Characterized by a sharp pain in the heel plantar fasciitis is the irritation of the band of connective tissue where it attaches to the heel bone and runs along the bottom of the foot.

The tell-tale sign. The key indicator that you have plantar fasciitis is pain on the bottom inside of the heel that often comes with extreme tenderness and pain during your first few steps after getting out of bed in the morning or sitting for prolonged periods. While at rest the fascia has begun to recover, stiffened and shortened. As your foot flattens under load the fascia is stretched re-injuring the tissue that just began to heal overnight. The pain you feel in those first few steps is the plantar fascia being re-injured. While plantar fasciitis is a very simple pathology the constant re-injury cycle makes it challenging to beat.

Support the foot. Job number one is to stabilize the foot. This means wearing properly fitting stable footwear all of the time. Your goal is to never have your bare foot touch a flat surface until this goes away. Running, working, or relaxing around the house your foot needs the stability and support that only comes with proper footwear. Dave’s Performance Footgear offers running, casual and dress shoes as well as sandals specifically designed to stabilize your foot.

Add a little extra stability. You may need more stability than a shoe alone can offer. That’s why Dave’s stocks the widest range of medical grade, over-the-counter orthotics to insert in your shoes. These are particularly effective in work shoes and boots.

Show your feet some love. Massage is a very effective way to stimulate circulation and promote healing. Gentle massage by hand is very helpful. Rolling your foot across a frozen water bottle or golf ball frequently offers relief as well. Compression socks can also be very effective at stimulating circulation and promoting recovery. Active release massage from an ART massage therapist can be quite effective and don’t overlook foam rolling the calf muscles.

Gentle, gentle, gentle. Once the condition is no longer acute it’s time to begin gentle stretching of the foot and leg. This includes the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, calf muscles, and hamstrings. Be gentle. For many a Strassburg sock worn overnight will help to prevent the plantar fascia from shortening during the night. Never stretch to the point of discomfort or shaking. Just light consistent stretching two or three times each day is best. Did we mention be gentle?

Pump some iron. Strengthening is just as important as stretching. Like stretching, it is important to be gentle as you gradually strengthen the foot. Toe curls, toe extensions and calf raises will help to add strength and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. Visit any Dave’s location for a demonstration of these and other exercises designed to strengthen the foot.

No when to say when. Caught early, the majority of cases of plantar fasciitis can be successfully fought off with a good pair of shoes, massage, stretching and strengthening. Our experience has been that the earlier you catch it the better your chances. If after several weeks the pain doesn’t get better or if it gets any worse it’s time to seek the advice of a podiatrist or sports physician.

We’ve learned a thing or two about injuries in the last forty years but that doesn’t make us doctors. This material is offered for informational use only and should not be taken as medical advice. Only you can decide when it’s time to talk to a doctor. Generally speaking any time an injury persists or worsens it’s time to seek help from a medical professional. Until then we’re happy to share our experience with you to use as you see fit.