The human body is an amazingly complex collection of systems and parts. Each component plays a unique role and performs remarkable mechanical feats (no pun intended) every day. The human foot, for example, contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles.
According to a 2017 study, the average person in the United States walks about 4,800 steps a day. The American Podiatric Medical Association puts it a little higher at 5,000-7,000 steps daily.
Perhaps that doesn’t seem like much since 15,000 steps is often touted as the gold standard for healthy living. Oh, but it is. When you go about your daily life, each step puts an incredible amount of pressure on your feet -- 1.5 times your body weight, to be exact.
With that much wear and tear, it should come as no surprise that about eight out of 10 Americans suffer from foot pain. Heel pain is one of the most common sources with a condition called plantar fasciitis being a popular culprit.
The mechanics of the plantar fascia
The plantar fascia is the thick band of tissue that stretches across the entire length of your foot, which connects your heel bone to your toes. When you stand, walk or run, the plantar fascia supports your foot’s arch and bears the pressure of your weight.
Plantar fasciitis develops when stress, overuse, or tension cause small tears, which result in inflammation, swelling, and stabbing pain that often starts as you take your first steps of the day.
Factors that worsen plantar fasciitis
Dr. Jarna Rathod -Bhatt and Dr. Rahul Bhatt, our highly skilled podiatrists at Apple Podiatry Group, share some common things that can make your plantar fasciitis worse.
The good news is that knowing what aggravates plantar fasciitis also provides clues on ways to ward off the condition in the first place. Keeping your plantar fascia in tip-top shape is all about reducing pressure.
One important way you can do that is to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, speak to your doctor about a diet and fitness plan that’s right for you. Losing weight may not be easy, but shedding those extra pounds not only impacts your foot health, but also lowers your risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Wearing shoes that don’t fit and lack support
Why is it that trendy, fun footwear usually has nothing to do with being the right size or providing support? Temper your footwear shopping decisions by purchasing the right-sized footwear for your feet, even if those perfect pumps are just a half size too small.
Pay attention to styles that provide proper support and are designed for a particular activity. Hiking shoes are not designed for running and vice versa. When it comes to heels, think moderate. Heeled shoes create increased pressure on your plantar fascia.
Standing for long periods
Predictably, being on your feet all day can exacerbate your plantar fasciitis. If your job or daily activities require you to stand for long stretches of time, make it a point to take breaks for a few minutes throughout the day. During these brief breaks, stretch or massage your feet -- or better yet, elevate them.
Wearing support or compression socks may also help. Cashiers or other workers whose jobs keep them fixed to a location may also find relief by standing on padded mats.
If your plantar fasciitis is keeping you from getting the most out of life, make an appointment for an evaluation with one of our podiatrists. Book a consultation right now by clicking the ”request appointment” button. Or you can call one of our Apple Podiatry Group offices in Arlington or Irving, Texas, to schedule your visit.