Recognizing and Treating Plantar Fasciitis

Whether it’s done outside on a trail or track or inside on a treadmill, running is one of the most effective ways to improve physical and mental health. However, running too much or without properly fitting shoes can also lead to a number of different foot ailments, including plantar fasciitis. A common injury for avid runners, plantar fasciitis can cause sharp heel pain and limit the ability to exercise or engage in other physical activities. CHI St. Vincent podiatrist Dr. Naval Patel answers some common questions about recognizing and treating plantar fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis? 

Your foot has a band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes, which is called the fascia. When you’re at rest, the plantar fascia is at rest but it stretches out every time you take a step. With the foot taking all of that weight from your body, it becomes tight and starts to pull. Over time, that inflammation builds up, which leads to plantar fasciitis and pain near the heel.” 

What are the most common causes of plantar fasciitis? 

There’s no one real cause of plantar fasciitis. Sometimes it comes from trauma, but it can come from overuse or picking up new exercises that your body isn’t used to doing.” 

When does exercise put too much strain on your feet? 

When it comes to running or other exercise, it’s important to listen to what our bodies tell us. Some people will push themselves more than others, but if you’re doing something that’s going to cause you aches and pains the next day and you’re having difficulty walking, then you may need to step back a little bit.

How does having the right pair of shoes impact foot health? 

You want to make sure that the shoes you get are not too flexible. It’s important to have shoes that give good support from the hindfoot to at least the midfoot. Those that are too soft can cause more issues like plantar fasciitis or other injuries.

What steps can people take to prioritize foot health and limit the risk of plantar fasciitis and other common ailments?

Wearing good shoes and insoles that provide support is something we can all do to protect our feet. For runners and others who are active, stretching before and after activities is also important to make sure they don’t end up with any stress injuries. If you start feeling pain, catch it early and get treatment if necessary before it gets a lot worse.” 

As founder of the Podiatry specialty at the CHI St. Vincent Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic, Dr. Patel is innovating podiatry care in Central Arkansas. He treats all aspects of podiatric medicine, including diabetic foot care, fungal nails, plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes and other foot and ankle deformities. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel, call: 501.552.0500