So, what is Plantar Fasciitis?

Whilst we are keen to ensure that everyone wears healthy footwear, we appreciate that sometimes you just want that pair of shoes that just look “oh so good”! Whilst we would not want to dissuade you from making this style statement perhaps you should consider the health of your feet before you make that final purchase decision...

Did you know that the single most common cause of foot pain is Plantar Fasciitis? A staggering 10% of people in the UK are suffering from it right now, that’s 6m people in pain.

So, what is Plantar Fasciitis? The Fascia is a ligament stretching from the heel to the toes. Plantar just referred to its position in the foot (the Plantar surface). During everyday activity this ligament continually stretches and contracts, however where the ligament inserts into the heel it can become inflamed and because when walking or running our heel strikes the ground first this pain is exacerbated. Over time the body can try to compensate for this pain by forming a bony “protective” growth over this insertion point, causing a” heel spur”, which in itself causes further pain on walking.

“So, what has this to do with footwear?” I hear you ask. Simply put, poor quality shoes may not give your feet the support they need to prevent this painful condition; footwear that cannot accommodate a simple supportive insole (or medical grade orthotic) will prevent you inserting a device that can help to realign your feet (stopping excess pronation – inward rolling of the feet), thereby allowing the pressure you feel as you stand to be directed towards the outside of your feet where it should be felt; similarly, you may not be able to use cushioned heel supports or padding to offload some of the discomfort. So the shoes you select and ultimately wear can have a significant impact on your future comfort.

Your doctor may be able to give some advice but remember that a podiatrist is a specialist trained entirely in treating medical conditions affecting the foot (whether skin, bone or soft tissue related). So, if you have heel pain consider seeing a podiatrist to get a formal diagnosis.

If you are diagnosed with this painful condition, then all is not lost: Purchase good quality footwear which conforms to the standards as laid out by the Healthy Footwear Guide. Use orthotics or supportive insoles as recommended by your podiatrist to compensate for any poor foot alignment. Follow a regime of compression and stretching exercises provided by your podiatrist to help manage any painful symptoms. Consider ice therapy to reduce the swelling and bring welcome relief from the pain.

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