The #1 most common foot pain complaint is plantar fasciitis. Each year it affects millions of Americans. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament, a band of tissue that runs from your heel bone across the bottom of your foot to your toes, connecting to the metatarsal joints. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen and irritated. You’ll feel pain in your heel or the bottom of your foot when you stand or walk. This pain can be mild or so severe that you don’t even want to get up and walk. The pain is typically worse in the morning when you take your first steps after getting out of bed.
Why is plantar fasciitis so common? Our bodies are like a complicated piece of machinery. Each part is designed to do a specific job. Your ears hear. Your eyes see. Your nose smells. And, your feet walk and run. Generally, we use all of our parts in the way they were intended to be used – except for our feet. Your feet were designed to walk on the earth, which is a lumpy, bumpy, uneven terrain, made up of lots of different types of surfaces from soft sand to grass to rock. The surfaces we walk on 90% of the time are flat, hard and very dense, such as hardwood, concrete or asphalt. Carpeting can be more forgiving, but it still has a hard flat surface underneath. So, if we’re not using our feet in the way they were intended to be used, it’s no wonder that we have problems.
Who’s at Risk?
The following factors increase your chances of developing plantar fasciitis:
Age – Plantar fasciitis more commonly affects people between the ages of 40 and 60. As you age, your feet become wider and flatten out. The fat padding on the sole of the foot wears down. The skin on your feet also becomes dryer. Other conditions, like arthritis, diabetes and circulatory disease, can additionally cause foot pain.
Gender – Women are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis than men. High-heeled shoes are likely the culprit, especially in women who wear them all day and then change into flat shoes. High heels cause the plantar fascia to shorten and become tight. Then when the woman changes into flat shoes, this puts stress on the short, tight plantar fascia. Also, high heels can cause the Achilles tendon to contract and shorten, causing strain on the tissue around your heel.
Certain types of exercise – Several activities, like running, ballet, dance aerobics, or sports that involve a repetitive motion, can put a lot of stress on your heels which can cause you to develop plantar fasciitis. Also, if you increase the time or distance of the activity, or if you’re regularly exercising on a hard surface; you have an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
Overuse of the plantar fascia – Most cases of plantar fasciitis are due to overuse, such as excessive walking or running, playing sports without the use of proper foot support, or having a job that requires standing or walking a lot on hard surfaces. Many people complain of plantar fasciitis after a trip to Disney World or Las Vegas, where they’ve done an excessive amount of walking in a relatively short period of time.
Extra weight – If you’ve recently gained weight, or are overweight or obese, excess weight can put added pressure on your plantar fascia.
Pregnancy – Again, weight gain can stress the ligaments in your feet. Additionally, certain hormones can cause the ligaments in your feet to relax and weaken.
Incorrect foot mechanics – If you have flat feet, a high arch, or overpronate (roll your feet inward too much) when you walk, your weight may not be evenly distributed on your feet, causing extra stress on the plantar fascia.
Improper shoes – Shoes that have poor arch support, thin soles, or not enough padding to absorb shock can cause strain on the plantar fascia. Shoes are designed as mirror-matched images of each other. Your feet are not. So, your shoes aren’t made to the exact specifications of either one of your feet. Plus, most people these days self-fit their shoes and have never been taught how to do it properly. So how can you expect the shoes you buy to be the exact right fit for your feet? You should visit a certified shoe fitter or a certified pedorthist, who are actually trained to properly fit your shoes to your unique needs. Having properly fitting footwear is just as important as getting the right-sized tires for your car. So, don’t trust your feet to just any shoe salesperson.
I’m a certified pedorthist. I’ve been trained to size, fit, and alter your shoes, so you have the best fit possible. I’ve also created the ezWalker® Performance Insole, a customized orthotic that controls pronation and guides your feet to a better biomechanical gait with every step you take. Proactive use of the ezWalker® Performance Insole can help to reduce your risk of developing plantar fasciitis and/or relieve your pain if you already suffer from it.
The ezWalker® works in ALL types of shoes, even fashionable high heels and dance shoes. Since it’s ultra thin and only ¾ in length, it is extremely versatile. Plus, it comes with a 90-day, money-back guarantee. You’ve got nothing to loose but your pain. So, don’t put yourself in danger of getting plantar fasciitis, order your ezWalker® Performance Insoles today.
Remember … when your feet feel good, you feel good.