The number one reason medical professionals refer patients to Dave’s is Plantar Fasciitis.

The Plantar Fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs from the metatarsal heads to the heel (calcaneus). The Plantar Fascia acts like a bowstring to prevent the arch from collapsing and providing stability to the foot. Symptoms include pain in the arch and/or heel. Generally the pain is most severe first thing in the morning or when standing up after prolonged periods of sitting.

While there are a number of different factors that contribute to Plantar Fasciitis, the most common is excessive pronation. Pronation is a normal movement of the foot that allows the arch to flatten to a degree. If the foot is weak or tired and/or the footwear is not adequately supportive, the arch can flatten more than normal, resulting in excessive pronation. Excessive flattening of the foot stretches the plantar fascia with every step contributing to inflammation near the attachment to the heel. You can easily determine the degree to which your foot pronates by visiting any Dave’s location for a free gait analysis from one of our experienced team members.

The leading contributor to excessive pronation is inappropriate footwear. The majority of dress shoes, fashion shoes and athletic shoes (even from recognized brands) from big box retailers do not have the stability and arch support necessary to treat or prevent Plantar Fasciitis. We recommend visiting your local Dave’s for a professional shoe fitting and orthotic consultation today. Other common contributing factors include tight Achilles tendon and calf muscles, extended time on your feet (particularly on hard surfaces), added physical load (pregnancy, weight gain, etc.) or dramatic increases in training/activity levels.

Repetitive, excessive pronation is a common or leading contributor to many lower extremity, overuse injuries.

So what to do about it?

Supporting the foot with proper shoes and/or insoles at all times is critical for treating Plantar Fasciitis. Never go without shoes. The pain felt from plantar fasciitis is typically most intense in the morning or after sitting for an extended period of time. During periods of rest, the body begins to heal the injury. The pain you feel in those first steps is you re-injuring the Plantar Fascia. Without proper support and/or preparation, those first few steps reverse any healing that has occurred while at rest. Invest in a pair of Spenco, OluKai or other broad-based sandals with contoured foot beds and appropriate arch support for wearing around the house. We recommend visiting one of our convenient locations for a professional shoe fitting and free gait analysis.

Other suggestions include pointing and flexing the foot before getting out of bed in the morning, gently stretch the Achilles tendon and calf muscles before getting out of bed as well. Lose extra weight to reduce the load on the arch of the foot and massage the foot and calf several times each day. Ice by resting the bottom of your foot on a bag of frozen pea for fifteen minutes a minimum of four times per day. In addition to conventional icing keep a water bottle in the freezer and role your foot over it several times each day. Physical Therapy including ultrasound, iontophoresis, and exercise play a very important role in recovery.

For additional information about Plantar Fasciitis, stop by any one of our four convenient locations. Our experienced team of fit specialists is always on hand with stretches and exercise solutions and common sense advice.

As with any injury see your doctor if your symptoms worsen or do not improve. This material is presented for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice or treatment from a medical professional. When in doubt seek medical attention immediately.

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.