Board Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists and Surgeons (2024)

Chicagoland Foot and Ankle Blog Signs Your Shoes Are to Blame for Plantar Fasciitis

Board Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists and Surgeons (1)

Plantar fasciitis is a relatively common podiatric problem, causing heel pain in some 10% of the population, but many cases are preventable.

AtChicagoland Foot and Ankle, our board-certifiedpodiatristsdiagnose and treatplantar fasciitisfor our patients in and around Chicago, Illinois. While the condition can stem from a number of different causes, today we’re going to address how your shoes may be to blame.

Your plantar fascia and why it hurts

The plantar fascia is a thick ligament that runs along the sole of your foot, connecting the calcaneus bone at the rear of your heel to your toes. Along that path, it stretches like a bowstring to help maintain a stable foot arch, and it acts as a shock absorber when you move.

If you subject the fascia to severe shocks over time (such as pounding the pavement running long distances) or too much pressure, it becomes inflamed and/or develops small tears. The result is plantar fasciitis, which you can recognize by pain in your heel.

It’s normal for the tissue to tighten while you sleep, so your pain usually is worse in the morning, and you have to stretch the foot when you get up. If you have a severe case, though, the ligament may resist stretching, and you feel the pain all day.

While repetitive strain is a major cause of plantar fasciitis, there are other contributing factors, such as trauma, poor foot alignment, and/or shoes that don’t fit well.

Certain people also have anincreased riskof developing the condition. You could be at risk if you:

  • Are a woman
  • Are overweight, obese, or pregnant
  • Are 40-70 years old
  • Have flat feet
  • Have very high arches
  • Have tight Achilles tendons
  • Inwardly pronate your foot (ankle turns inward as you walk)
  • Often wear high heels
  • Spend a lot of time on your feet

If you fail to treat the problem, it can lead to issues with your knees, feet, hips, and/or back.

Signs your shoes are to blame for plantar fasciitis

You can tell if your shoes are contributing to your plantar fasciitis with a visual inspection. Proper shoes should have:

  • A wide toe box to avoid squeezing the toes together
  • Firm arch support that aligns with your natural arch
  • A cushioned heel to absorb the shock when you walk, run, or jump
  • A sturdy sole

If your shoes don’t tick all the boxes on the list, they’re not only not doing you any favors, they’re actively contributing to your pain.

These criteria are important if you’re buying a new pair of shoes, but they’re also important for the shoes you exercise in every day. After a few months or so, the arch and heel supports wear down, and the sole may become worn or split. That’s when you know it’s time to get new shoes.

Treatments for plantar fasciitis

At Chicagoland Foot and Ankle, we always start with conservative treatments, including lifestyle changes and targeted pain relief options.

The first line of treatment is ice packs to reduce pain and swelling, over-the-counter oral or topical anti-inflammatories, and/or physical therapy.

If the pain is severe and you can’t engage in physical therapy, a steroid injection delivered into the fascia may relieve enough of the pain to let you engage in the stretches and strengthening exercises.

We might also recommend custom orthotics to help with arch and heel cushioning and support.

If you’re experiencing pain at the back of the heel, especially if you’re active, you may have plantar fasciitis. Chicagoland Foot and Ankle can help.

To get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment,callany of our locations (Mount Greenwood and Portage Park areas of Chicago, as well as Orland Park and New Lenox, Illinois), orbook your appointment onlinetoday.

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Board Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists and Surgeons (2024)


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