Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner and time to enjoy the great outdoors. So don’t let foot pain prevent you from taking a walk in the park or a long-distance run.
For those suffering with common heel pain, the issue may be plantar fasciitis, a foot condition many athletes such as Clippers’ Guard Milos Teodosic experience. According to Dr. Meredith Warner, an orthopedic surgeon and founder of Warner Orthopedics & Wellness in Baton Rouge, La., the ailment may be easier to address than you think.
Plantar fasciitis can make tasks as simple as getting out of bed arduous. The plantar fascia is a thin band of tissue that connects your toes to the heel of the foot. The windlass mechanism, a structure of the foot, comes into play when running or walking during push-off and provides strength and support to the arch. When this structure is ruptured, there is nothing connecting the heel to the forefoot, and the foot essentially collapses, dramatically reducing support to the extremity.
According to Warner, the condition can affect just about anyone at any age but is most common among those 45 to 60. And it’s often easy to self diagnose, she said. “Do you experience severe heel pain in the early morning, or after periods of rest or driving for a long time, or even sitting at your desk?” she asks. “Is the pain is located on the inside bottom of the heel?”
There are some easy at-home techniques to implement to alleviate the pain, said Warner. Try rolling your foot on a tennis ball for a self-massage. Or try stretching the Achilles cord, then ice it. “Simple things like this won’t hurt,” she said. However, if pain persists for more than a month, she suggests a visit to the doctor. Pain, Warner said, could be caused by other issues such as a stress fracture or compressed nerve.
She also recommends physical therapy as an alternative treatment, often yielding positive results.
Warner has also developed a line of therapeutic flip-flops, the Healing Sole, designed to address this common ailment. Sold at thehealingsole.com for $99, the sandals incorporate six key features that include a raised arch support to help reduce stress placed on the knees, ankle and lower back. They are also designed with a thick, durable heel to support weight while remaining flexible, and incorporate a heel structure that allows for a controlled give to reduce pressure on the painful part of the heel.