Have you ever experienced deep pain in your heel or the arch of your foot first thing in the morning? If so, you may have plantar fasciitis. Here, we will share with you ways on how to prevent plantar fasciitis.
The human feet are two of the hardest working parts of the human body – and it’s not like they’re tough hooves or paws. The human foot is a delicate little thing with 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and tendons.
There’s plenty to go wrong.
On average, you’ll take anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, putting stress on each foot that equals around 1,000 tons of force.
Every day. Each and every day.
That’s a lot of punishment. And how about nurses? They can spend up to 14 hours a shift on their feet, rarely, if ever, getting a sit-down break to let them cool off.
A 2018 study of foot and ankle pain in nurses found that between 23% to 51% reported pain. As many as 4% to 17% reported that the pain was so severe it prevented them from performing regular daily activities and work duties.
Plantar fasciitis is always in the top 5 foot problems that most people face. We’re going to take a look at this persistent plague on our feet, talk about what it is and what you can do to prevent it.
And if plantar fasciitis does pop up with that stabbing or dull ache in your heel or arch, we’re going to show you a couple of easy ways you can treat it at home without a doctor. Another way is to make sure you have the proper foot companion during your daily hustle at work we have listed the best shoes for nurses with plantar fasciitis to aid you.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Let’s review our Human Physiology & Anatomy: The human body has around 900 ligaments and your foot has the highest concentration of ligaments, coming in at between 106 to 112.
That’s a lot of connective tissue between all those little bones. The plantar fascia is a band of thick connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, supporting your arch and connecting to your heel.
The plantar fascia acts as a stabilizing tie-rod and behaves like a spring to conserve energy as you walk. It’s continually stretching and expanding, taking as much as 14% of the total load you put on your foot as you walk.
So it’s no surprise that this connective tissue can often become inflamed, irritated, or even develop microtears among people who do a lot of athletic exercises or spend extended amounts of time on their feet (like nurses).
That strain and inflammation are known as plantar fasciitis. It can cause intense pain in your heel or foot arch, often flaring up first thing in the morning (“first step” pain) or after you’ve been sitting awhile.
Sometimes it can become chronic and may require regular icing, wearing orthopedic shoe inserts, or even physical therapy to treat.
What Are The Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis?
The easiest symptom of plantar fasciitis to identify is the pain that it causes. This pain can be anywhere from the arch of your foot to the heel.
The pain is often described as feeling like a deep bruise or dull ache. Here are some other warning signs your foot pain may be caused by plantar fasciitis:
- Pain on the first step of the day, when you wake up
- A dull ache in your arch or heel that feels like a deep bruise
- The pain goes away after you walk for a while
- Pain returns after you’ve been on your feet for an extended period
- Pain at the end of the day
NOTE: Plantar fasciitis usually goes away on its own without treatment in about 6 – 10 months. Most will recover without any kind of major treatment or operation simply by resting their feet and using preventative measures like the ones below.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
We know that plantar fasciitis is caused by inflammation and micro-tears in your plantar fascia, but what is causing it? Mostly it’s caused by overuse – just getting too much use and before everything gets too late you might want to consider starting a regimen on how to take care of your feet.
Here are the most common causes of plantar fasciitis:
- Standing on your feet for long stretches
- Wearing the wrong shoes (bad fit, not right for working/standing long periods)
- Working on your feet
- Overexertion from running, walking or exercise
- Repetitive stress injuries
- A foot injury (jumping, a fall or hard landing on your foot)
Plantar fasciitis is most often a result of the above causes, but sometimes it can be caused by diseases like ankylosing spondylitis or reactive arthritis. That’s why if it becomes chronic or debilitation, you may need to see a doctor.
Often the doctor won’t need to do any tests for plantar fasciitis, however, they may suggest an X-ray or MRI to make sure you don’t have any other issues going on like bone spurs.
How To Prevent Plantar Fasciitis
Sure, we’re going to talk about how you can treat that painful plantar fasciitis – but how about we stop it before it starts?
Here are 5 simple things you can do to keep your plantar fascia healthier and happier so you won’t get that dull, frustrating pain.
1. Wear The Right Shoes
Wearing shoes that fit well, have good arch and heel support, and are well cushioned are one of the biggest ways to prevent not only plantar fasciitis but other foot problems as well. High-heeled shoes are a no-go for plantar fasciitis. Light bulb moment, this could be the main reason why do nurses wear clogs.
2. Stay In Shape
Those extra pounds are just making it more difficult to fit into your favorite jeans; they’re also putting more strain on your feet. Keep you weight down by proper diet and exercise.
3. Choose Low-impact Exercise
Lower impact exercise like cycling or swimming put less strain on your feet than running or cross-training.
4. Stretch Often
Just like the rest of your body needs a good stretch, stretching your feet will help keep them in good condition. Stretch your foot forward and backward, then side to side. Also, give your calves a good stretch.
5. Don’t Go Barefoot
You may love strolling around barefoot on fresh grass – which is OK, but you’ll want to avoid walking barefoot on hard surfaces like pavement or wood floors if you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis.
How To Treat Plantar Fasciitis
Ok, so you did all the things. Aaaaaand, you still ended up with plantar fasciitis. Look, lots of people have to spend their entire workday (or longer) on their feet – shout out to the nurses!!
Sometimes it can’t be helped. Your feet get overworked and if you’ve got that aching pain in the arch of your foot or heel, you’ve got to do something about it because you can’t take a day off because your feet hurt.
Luckily, we’ve got a list of things you can do that will dramatically reduce pain from plantar fasciitis and help speed up the recovery process.
Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation is probably the best remedy. Since plantar fasciitis is often caused by overexertion, just giving your feet a break can be the best remedy.
Prop your feet up on a pillow and ice the area for 20 minutes at a time. You can also include a compression wrap to help with swelling.
Those stretches mentioned above? Do them regularly. Try rolling a towel, holding it in both hands and putting your foot through it, pressing with the ball of your foot. Press outward, then pull inward slowly giving resistance.
A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) will help reduce the pain and inflammation. Just make sure to follow the recommended dosages and not to overdo it.
Try Hot & Cold Baths
Using two tubs, one filled with hot (not scalding) water and the other with cold, dip your feet in one for 10 minutes and then the other. Repeat 3 times, rest then go again. The hot and cold will help reduce pain and swelling and promote circulation and healing.
Get Shoe Inserts
A good pair of orthotic inserts for your shoes will go along way to helping take the pressure off your plantar fascia and supporting your foot and ankle.
Wear Night Splints
Night splints will stretch your calves and foot arches while you snooze. The splints keep your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon extended during the night to promote stretching.
Try Physical Therapy
If nothing else is working, you may want to try physical therapy. Your therapist will give you a series of exercises and stretches that’ll help promote healing and strengthen your feet.
Your feet work as hard as (or harder than) you do. And if your job has you on your feet all day every day, chances are you’re going to be dealing with foot pain and maybe plantar fasciitis.
But don’t worry. You don’t have to tough it out in constant pain. Just get yourself the right shoes and some orthotic inserts. Stretch your feet. Pamper them with a hot and cold soak.
And probably the best prescription: give your tired doggies a good and much-deserved break.
They’ll thank you.
How do you treat plantar fasciitis and foot pain? We’d love to hear from you.