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Who's at Risk for Plantar Fasciitis?

Who's at Risk for Plantar Fasciitis?

There’s a thick, tough band of connective tissue that extends from your heel to your toes. It’s called the plantar fascia, and it forms the natural arch in your foot that absorbs shock as you walk, run, and jump. 

Unfortunately, you may never notice it until plantar fasciitis sets in and microtears form. But if you recognize the risk factors of this painful condition, you may be able to take steps toward avoiding it altogether. 

Here, our podiatry expert, Dr. Kelly Geoghan, explores some of the common lifestyle factors that contribute to an increased risk of plantar fasciitis so you can take the best care of your feet.

Occupation

If you’re a factory worker, a teacher, nurse, or have a job that requires you to be on your feet for extended periods, you have a great risk of tearing your plantar fascia. This is especially true if you have to stand on hard surfaces all day.

You can mitigate your risk by working in regular breaks and wearing comfortable, supportive footwear.

Type (and intensity) of activity

Runners and gymnasts are among the athletes who put an inordinate amount of stress on their feet. The constant force and pounding create microtears that lead to painful plantar fasciitis. 

Furthermore, if you’re not an athlete and you suddenly increase the intensity and duration of your activity levels, you may damage your plantar fascia.

It’s important to warm up properly before you engage in any type of activity and gently stretch your feet. Also, listen to your body as you exercise. If your feet start to hurt, stop your activity and allow them to heal. 

Obesity

Your feet bear much of your body weight as you stand and move. Adding extra weight to their load can lead to painful damage to your feet. We can help you get started on a diet and exercise program that helps you lose weight and takes some pressure off your feet.

Old age

Sometimes, plantar fasciitis happens simply because you're getting older and the plantar fascia is weaker and more susceptible to tearing. Most plantar fasciitis cases occur between the ages of 40-60.

Improper footwear

Because your feet handle the brunt of your body weight and movement, you must support them with comfortable shoes that fit you well, especially if you’re an athlete. If you force your feet to operate in flimsy and unstable shoes, you leave them vulnerable to damage.

Look for shoes that have adequate arch support and room in the toe box. We can help you find a pair of shoes that fit your budget and your style and help you avoid painful conditions like plantar fasciitis. 

Foot mechanics

If you have certain issues with foot mechanics, including flat feet, high arches, or an abnormal pattern of walking, it can alter the way your feet distribute your body weight as you move and increase the stress on your plantar fascia. 

How we can help

Even if you do everything you can to mitigate your risk, sometimes it’s not enough to prevent plantar fasciitis. When the worst happens and your plantar fascia tears, we offer comprehensive treatments that help it heal quickly and completely. 

Plantar fasciitis typically resolves with conservative therapies when you seek early treatment. Leave it untreated, and you run the risk of disabling pain and other conditions in your legs, hips, and back. 

Depending on your needs, we may recommend the following treatments:

If your plantar fascia is more severe, we may recommend more advanced treatments using the following therapies:

Only in the worst cases does plantar fasciitis require fasciotomy — a surgery to release part of the tight plantar fascia. 

If you’d like more information about the pain in your foot and want to know what your treatment options are, request an appointment online or over the phone at our Lutherville, Maryland, office today. 

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