What Not To Do With Plantar Fasciitis

by Will Bozeman

Are you currently experiencing plantar fasciitis? This frustrating condition generates stabbing or aching pains along the bottom of your foot, particularly in your heel. It is a common condition that causes inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes. 

While the treatment for plantar fasciitis is quite simple, consisting of rest and recovery measures, it is also difficult in that it can take several weeks to heal completely. If you do not take precautions, your plantar fasciitis will not go away on its own. Throughout your recovery, it’s important to avoid habits that may exacerbate symptoms and make the condition worse. 

This comprehensive guide will explore what not to do with plantar fasciitis and highlight the common mistakes people make that can aggravate this painful condition. 

Importantly, we will share some of the best exercises for managing the painful symptoms of plantar fasciitis and discover the steps you can take, including innovative therapies that can enhance the healing process.

Before we get into the beneficial pain management strategies, let’s first explore some of the worst things to do with plantar fasciitis.

Going Barefoot And Not Wearing Proper Shoes

Taking good care of your feet is arguably the most critical aspect of managing plantar fasciitis. Some people think that going barefoot or wearing flat shoes might help stretch out the plantar fascia, but the truth is that going barefoot can reduce stability and increase impactful shocks along the bottom of your foot, eventually exacerbating symptoms.

This is why it’s important to wear shoes if you are currently dealing with plantar fasciitis, and when choosing which shoes to wear, look for the following features:

Best Shoes To Wear For Support

  • Arch support: Shoes with good arch support help to distribute pressures evenly across your foot, reducing stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Cushioning: Choose shoes with lots of cushioning in the heel and forefoot areas. Adequately cushioned shoes absorb shock and reduce the impact on your feet.
  • Proper fit: Ensure your shoes fit well with at least half an inch in the toe box and secure heel and ankle support.
  • Stability: Shoes with a sturdy sole and heel counter provide stability and help prevent overpronation. This is when your foot rolls inward too much while walking or running and is a common issue in plantar fasciitis.

Alongside adequate footwear, stretching is an important part of managing plantar fasciitis. Let’s have a look at why some people may take stretching exercises a bit further than required. 

Stretching The Calf Muscles Too Aggressively

It’s true that stretching can be beneficial for plantar fasciitis. But this doesn’t mean aggressively stretching your feet at every chance you can get. In fact, over-stretching the plantar fascia when it is already inflamed and painful can actually cause more harm than good. 

To avoid further damage to the plantar fascia, consider these tips for safer plantar fascia stretching:

  • Gentle stretches: Perform gentle foot and calf stretches, concentrating on the supporting muscles such as the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles.
  • Frequency: Stretch regularly but without overexertion, aiming for mild tension rather than intense discomfort.
  • Duration: Hold each stretch for no more than 20-30 seconds and repeat many times a day, but not to the point of fatigue.

By stretching appropriately, you are protecting your feet from excess strain. 

High-Impact Activities To Avoid

High-impact activities can also put undue strain on your feet and exacerbate plantar fasciitis. To minimize discomfort, consider avoiding or modifying the following activities:

  • Running: High-impact running is likely to aggravate your symptoms. Consider low-impact alternatives like swimming or cycling.
  • Jumping: Activities that involve repeated jumping movements should be avoided to reduce foot stress and tension.
  • Prolonged standing: If your job requires long periods of standing, consider using more supportive footwear and taking regular seated breaks to stretch.
  • Prolonged sitting: Alternatively, prolonged sitting can also worsen symptoms as it reduces blood flow. Remember to take short walks to prevent stiffness.

We are not suggesting that those struggling with plantar fasciitis avoid all physical activity. We’ll discuss why completely limiting all exercise might do more harm than good in the next section. 

Living A Sedentary Lifestyle

While high-impact activities can aggravate plantar fasciitis, living a completely sedentary lifestyle can also be detrimental. If all movement is completely limited, stiffness and muscle weakening can occur, causing the foot and ankle to lose strength and stability. 

When moderate amounts of low-impact exercises are incorporated into your daily routine, it can help maintain good foot health and reduce the risk of further damage to the plantar fascia. Consider exercises like swimming, cycling, gentle yoga, and aquatic aerobics, which are gentle on the feet while promoting overall health.

Let’s take a deeper look into two alternative lifestyle factors that can boost your body’s healing, decrease inflammation, and play a crucial role in effectively managing plantar fasciitis.

Foods To Avoid

Your diet plays a crucial role in your body’s overall health, impacting overall levels of inflammation and important healing processes. Certain foods can exacerbate inflammatory processes, which may worsen plantar fasciitis symptoms. To optimize your recovery, consider reducing or avoiding:

  • Highly processed foods: These often contain high levels of hidden sugar and unhealthy fats, as well as food additives and preservatives that lead to increased levels of inflammation throughout the body.
  • Excessive sugars: Consuming lots of high-sugar foods can also contribute to excess inflammation in the body and reduce efficient healing processes. Try limiting your consumption of sugary snacks and beverages while managing plantar fasciitis symptoms.

Maintaining A Healthy Weight 

Carrying extra weight places added stress on your feet, potentially flattening your arches and causing foot problems, particularly for the plantar fascia. Excess weight also increases the pressure and strain on this vital ligament, impacting your overall foot health.

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for managing and preventing plantar fasciitis. Adopting a balanced diet and engaging in regular, low-impact exercise can help you control your weight for both plantar fasciitis management and general health and well-being.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll begin sharing some helpful exercises and alternative treatment therapies that can reduce the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis, helping you on your road to recovery. 

Exercises You Can Do

If you’re currently managing plantar fasciitis, completing a range of targeted stretches and exercises can help reduce discomfort and promote healing. Stretches aim to loosen the tight plantar fascia and calf muscles and reduce strain throughout inflamed areas. 

Movement and exercises stimulate important blood flow to affected areas of the foot, which increases the availability of essential nutrients, oxygen, and healing properties that promote the repair and recovery of damaged tissues.

Furthermore, when the underlying causes of plantar fasciitis aren’t adequately addressed, this condition has a tendency to re-occur. Implementing a regular stretching and exercise routine enhances the strength and flexibility of the foot’s supporting structures. 

Conditioning also serves as a valuable preventive measure, reducing the likelihood of future flare-ups and offering lasting relief.

We have carefully selected the exercises listed below, as we believe they are particularly effective at addressing the underlying muscle issues associated with plantar fasciitis.

Toe Curls 

Sitting either on the floor or in a chair, cross one ankle over the opposite leg and rest it just above the knee.

Wrap one hand over your toes while supporting your ankle with the other.

Slowly pull your toes back towards your torso. You should feel the bottom of your foot and calf gently stretching. It’s important not to pull too hard. A gentle stretch is the goal. 

Hold this stretch for approximately 20 seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise two to three times for each foot, whichever feels best for you. 

Wall-Facing Calf Stretch

Stand up facing a wall and place your hands against the wall at around eye level.

Step one foot back, keeping it straight, with the heel flat on the floor. 

Then slowly begin bending the front knee while maintaining the straight back leg. You can try leaning forward to feel a deeper stretch in the calf of the back leg. 

Hold this stretch for around 20 seconds and repeat two or three times for each leg.

Heel Raise

Begin with your feet hip-width apart, standing near a wall or table for support. 

Moving both feet at the same time, slowly shift your body weight onto the balls of your feet and toes, raising your heels off the ground.

Hold this raised position for a maximum of four to five seconds, then slowly lower your heels back to the ground. 

Start by performing eight to 10 repetitions of this exercise, and as you become more comfortable, you may progressively increase the number of repetitions.

Rolling Stretch

As you settle into a chair, place a rolling object – a tennis ball, drink bottle, or rolling pin – on the ground in front of you. 

Next, position the object so it is neatly held by the arch of your foot. Then, begin gently rolling the object back and forth using your foot, applying light pressure. 

Continue this movement for one to two minutes, then complete the exercise using the opposite foot. Try to manipulate the object to focus on the areas that feel particularly tight or tender.

Being consistent with these exercises and performing them daily for plantar fasciitis pain will help you get the best results. 

While conditioning exercises can often help manage the pain of plantar fasciitis, they may not always be sufficient, particularly for those who experience re-occurring episodes of plantar fasciitis. 

Over-the-counter medications can offer temporary relief, but prolonged use is generally not recommended. So, what are some other ways to relieve the pain and discomfort of plantar fasciitis? To wrap up, we’ll end this article by exploring an alternative option that doesn’t involve pharmaceuticals.

There Are Effective Treatment Options For Plantar Fasciitis

Managing plantar fasciitis pain and preventing its occurrence is about making informed choices and avoiding the movements and habits that can worsen the condition. 

Choosing proper footwear and engaging in gentle stretches and low-impact exercises can help ease discomfort, improve healing, and build vital strength and flexibility. Remember that your lifestyle and dietary choices will play a significant role in your recovery and overall foot health.

For individuals who are experiencing stubborn plantar fasciitis foot pain and are seeking advanced pain relief options, Neuragenex specializes in Neurofunctional Pain Management. Our approach provides non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical, and non-invasive solutions for managing the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

The Neuragenex protocol involves a powerful combination of electroanalgesia and IV hydration therapy. Both are specifically designed to reduce pain and inflammation caused by plantar fasciitis and promote healing.

Most importantly, we understand that treating plantar fasciitis involves more than just addressing physical pain. This is why we also provide lifestyle counseling, where we help guide and support you through all aspects of your physical and psychological health, striving to magnify your overall quality of life.

The team at Neuragenex is here to help you take proactive steps toward easing your plantar fasciitis pain. Our goal is to see you enjoy the activities you love again, free from limitations and discomfort.

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