The following post comes to us thanks to Sally Keys.
Sally developed plantar fasciitis and was told to avoid walking and hiking.
But that meant missing out on her most cherished hobby – and quality time with her dog. Desperately wanting to stay active, she found an alternative to simply laying around with her feet up. As a former injury-plagued athlete myself, her story aligned with my own struggles to stay fit with a body that wasn’t exactly built to the highest quality specifications (as I write about in Deep Nutrition.)
Sally did not wake up one day with plantar fasciitis. She writes, “It happened so slowly that I was struggling with the problem before I realized it was a problem. Each morning I would get up out of bed and the sole of my right foot would ache.”
Sally had never heard of plantar fasciitis, so her initial thought was she was just getting old or paying for doing too much cross country running as a girl. Not until she visited her doctor did she learn that her pain, located in the tendon and muscle between her heel and toes across the bottom of her foot within the arch, was called plantar fasciitis.
“Initially, doctors suggested I just relax and rest will take care of it,” Sally explained. As a freelance writer working from home, resting and keeping her feet elevated was not difficult–at least not at first. But as an active person, she soon got restless and, she continues, “I’d already noticed that while it hurt initially to walk, if I did a little stretches and tai chi, then went for a walk, the pain disappeared and would only return again after a long rest or if I walked too far.” This led her to explore whether, in fact, it might actually be better for people with plantar fasciitis to learn to walk off the problem.
Below is the rest of Sally’s article describing plantar fasciitis in more detail:
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. The condition will result in stabbing pain with your first steps in the morning. The pain will decrease with movement, however can return after standing for a long time or when getting up after being seated. While those with arthritis are prone to plantar fasciitis, it is not a prerequisite to the condition.
Trying to ignore the pain can lead to changes in how you walk, which may cause knee and heel pain, along with foot, knee, hip and back problems.
Should I Walk With Plantar Fasciitis?
Walking is good; however, you want to do it properly. Make sure to reduce your mileage and speed once you begin feeling pain. After walking, place a cold pack on your foot for 15 minutes, which will reduce inflammation. You can also roll a frozen water bottle under your foot for 10-15 minutes.
While it is recommended that you avoid hard surfaces when you walk, some have found success walking on gravel without shoes. Other ways to help with plantar fasciitis include stretching and wrapping your foot.
How to Wrap Your Foot for Plantar Fasciitis
Wrapping your foot is simple and will add support and minimize stress on the plantar fascia ligament, helping to relieve both inflammation and pain. You will need athletic tape or an ace bandage; prior to wrapping your foot, make sure that it is clean and dry. Here are a few methods to try:
Wrapping your Foot with an Ace Bandage
When wrapping your foot with an ace bandage, start by laying the wrap easily across the top of your foot. You will then wrap the bandage around, pulling it firmly up on the arch of your foot. Then, lay the wrap easily on the top of your foot and firmly on the arch again.
This should be done three times, ending at the top of your foot. This wrap should be worn during the day only.
The video below will demonstrate this technique:
Wrapping your Foot with Tape – Technique 1
Place your first strip of tape in the shape of a “U”. You will start at your big toe and tape the outline of your foot, around the heal and stopping at your little toe.
Next you will make an “X” shape of tape on the bottom of your foot. Start with a strip of tape at your big toe and place the other end of the tape at the opposite corner of your heel. Next place another strip overlapping that one (from the small toe to the opposite corner of your heel). The tape will now make an “X” on your foot.
You will then wrap the tape two times right below the ball of your foot. Placing tape there will help to reinforce the top portion of the crossed tape.
Next, fill in the open parts on the bottom of your foot with short pieces of the tape. It is important to make sure that the pieces of tape are smooth or you may develop blisters.
- Related: How to Prevent Blisters on Your Feet When Hiking
- Related: How to Fix a Bunion Without Surgery (4 Easy Tips)
Finally, line the bottom of your foot by applying strips of tape from side to side. This will secure the wrap and minimize the problems that result from plantar fasciitis. Once done, you should only see the top part of your foot and your toes.
Wrapping your Foot with Tape: Technique 2
Start at the outside of your foot, right below the smallest toe. Apply a strip of non-stretch tape down the outer part of your foot, underneath the heel and then back across the sole. The tape should then be in the same place where you began.
Next, you will do the same thing, only starting on the inside of your foot under your big toe; again, you will finish right where you started. At this point you will have an “X” pattern.
Once you have your “X” pattern, repeat the first two steps; you will now have two pieces of tape on each side. Cover the tape you have applied with short strips of tape that will go across the bottom of your foot.
Last, place a small piece of tape across the top of your foot that connects each side to help secure it. Do not make the tape too tight.
Plantar fasciitis does not have to keep you down.
Some walking is good, though it is important that you use the information in this article to alleviate inflammation, so that you can minimize your pain and avoid complications.