Is Walking Good For Plantar Fasciitis?
Walking is a fantastic way to keep fit and healthy. But when you have pain, inflammation, and stiffness in your feet, walking can be the last thing you want to do.
When we have an injury or a condition that causes pain, rest is often the advised action to take. However, there are many instances when movement can indeed help the situation. Is that the case when it comes to issues with our feet?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of soft tissue that runs underneath your foot from your heel to your toes, called the plantar fascia, becomes irritated and inflamed. This can happen due to a variety of causes and risk factors. The condition can be significantly impactful on everyday activities, but there are ways to improve and prevent plantar fasciitis, including undertaking and avoiding certain activities.
It can be confusing when it comes to healing an issue with your feet. Do you rest or do you move? Read on to find out if walking is good for plantar fasciitis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis can cause pain that ranges from mild to severe. It is often described as sharp and burning pain that comes and goes. The discomfort is typically experienced after walking or standing for a long time, and after long periods of inactivity, such as first thing in the morning. The pain often subsides after moving around, and then can return after another period of rest.
The plantar fascia plays an important role in our movement. It assists in stabilising the foot by supporting the bones, muscles, and arch, and helps to absorb the shock that is created as you take a step. Subsequently, if it is irritated and inflamed, it makes it difficult to mobilise. This can have a knock-on effect because you may place your feet differently to compensate for the discomfort, instability, and weakness, which can then cause symptoms in other areas of your body, such as your back and hips.
What Can Cause Plantar Fasciitis?
The discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis is often connected to tiny tears in the plantar fascia that result when tension or stress on the soft tissue is too great. Reasons why this may occur include:
- Repeating the same actions with your feet, such as dancing and running.
- Increasing the intensity and regularity of your exercise routine.
- Standing for a long period of time on a regular basis.
- Rolling your foot inwards as you walk or run.
- High arches or flat feet.
- Tight calves or Achilles’ tendons.
- Wearing unsupportive footwear.
- Changes to your body as you age.
- Being overweight.
Can Walking Cause Plantar Fasciitis?
Walking can increase the pain that is linked to plantar fasciitis, so it stands to reason that you might think that walking can cause and worsen the condition. In some ways this is correct, in others it is not.
Most people find that the pain that comes with movement after a long period of rest improves once they have walked around for a short time. However, once they have walked for an extended amount of time, the pain returns.
The act of walking is not the main culprit as such. If you walk with unsupportive shoes, walk too much or too fast, and/or deal with one or more of the problematic mechanical factors, that is when issues are most likely to occur. The plantar fascia may become more inflamed, and the microscopic tears may even increase if caution is not taken.
So, yes, walking can trigger the pain associated with plantar fasciitis, but it is the underlying factors of walking that are usually to blame.
What Activities Can I Do With Plantar Fasciitis?
When you are suffering from plantar fasciitis and are working towards recovery, there are several points to keep in mind when moving about. Although resting your foot can alleviate the pain in the short run, staying still will compound the problem in the long run because of issues such as increasingly tight calves and weakness in the feet.
Some tips when dealing with plantar fasciitis while remaining mobile include the following:
- Choose low-impact exercise. This may include activities such as yoga, swimming, or bike riding. These do not involve repeated pressure on the heel, so are not likely to cause or worsen the issue. Gentle walking is good if you are mindful of the risk factors.
- Avoid high-impact exercise. This may include activities such as jumping and running, which can stress your feet and tighten your calves.
- Stretch. Making sure your feet, Achilles’ tendon, and calves are strong and flexible are important in healing and preventing the condition.
- Avoid walking on hard surfaces and wear supportive shoes.
Midland Podiatry Can Help Your Plantar Fasciitis
We regularly help patients with plantar fasciitis and are experienced in assessing, diagnosing, and developing a personalised treatment plan for the condition. This can include options such as manual therapy, shockwave therapy, and strapping. We can also provide advice and education regarding footwear and activity.
If you are experiencing foot pain and swelling, please contact us so that we can help you find relief.